Literature and Transgression: 3rd International "Literature and..." Graduate Student Conference (May 2-3, 2011)

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Istanbul University, Department of American Culture and Literature
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2-3 May, 2011, Istanbul University

"Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression."
- Romans 4:15

"Are not laws dangerous which inhibit the passions? Compare the centuries of anarchy with those of the strongest legalism in any country you like and you will see that it is only when the laws are silent that the greatest actions appear."
- Marquis de Sade

"The dialectic of Law and its transgression does not reside only in the fact that Law itself solicits its own transgression, that it generates the desire for its own violation; our obedience to the Law itself is not "natural," spontaneous, but always-already mediated by the (repression of the) desire to transgress it."
- Slavoj Zizek

Transgression can be defined as an act which violates boundaries and limits imposed by the Law comprising legal, religious and moral norms, and other forms of social conventions. However, the relation of transgression to Law involves more than a unilateral act of infringement as a transgressive act dialectically operates through the subversion and reaffirmation of what it violates. While the Law primarily establishes the boundaries between what is permitted and what is prohibited – legal and illegal, sacred and profane, normal and abnormal, etc. – it inherently harbors the conditions for its own infringement as it simultaneously generates the desire for transgression. The symbiotic relation between Law and transgression manifests itself within the political, economical, social and cultural realms. Positioned at the intersection of these realms, literature is also ingrained in this rule-making and rule-breaking process; literary production both necessitates formal and thematic conventions and seeks the possibilities of their transgression.
The aim of this conference is to provide an academic platform to explore the poetics and politics of transgression in literature, and to discuss the extent to which literary works engage in subversion and containment. We invite graduate students to present 20-minute papers that address topics such as:

•transgressive fiction (works by Marquis de Sade, Colette, D.H. Lawrence, Vladimir Nabokov, Henry Miller, William S. Burroughs, J. G. Ballard, Kathy Acker, Chuck Palahniuk, etc.)
•transgression and intertextuality
•transgression and genre blurring
•border writing
•crime and violence in literature
•sexuality / sexual perversity / pornography in literature
•madness in literature
•linguistic hybridity as violence against language
•literary representations of post-human subjectivity
•images of the abject and the uncanny in literature
•literary manifestations of political resistance / accommodation
•literary representations of counterculture / subculture
•carnivalesque literature

Please send a 300-word abstract and a 50-word biography to by December 1, 2010.