The Art of Outrage: Poetics, Politics, Polarization

full name / name of organization: 
Fordham University’s Graduate English Association
contact email: 

The Art of Outrage: Poetics, Politics, Polarization
Friday, October 14, 2011

"'They're not like us,' and for that reason deserve to be ruled."
Edward Said on the colonizing mindset, Culture and Imperialism (1994)

Might there be degrees of intensity to processes like othering, abjection, and polarization? If we posit that certain historical and cultural moments (perhaps our own) are particularly fractured by tensions between various forms of radical extremism/extreme radicalism, how are articulations of the self and the other affected in such moments?
This interdisciplinary graduate conference, hosted by Fordham University's Graduate English Association, calls for a day's worth of reasonable, temperate, diplomatic discourse on the topic of literary, historical, and political outrage. We are particularly concerned with investigating the role of outrage in the formation of radicalized selves and radicalized others. We take our inspiration from what many would describe as the current culturally and politically polarized American scene, but we encourage criticism and scholarship focused on the cultural productions of radically polarized eras past.
We welcome all relevant disciplinary and interdisciplinary papers, and creative presentations are especially welcome. We anticipate a wide range of methodologies, theoretical interests, and idiosyncratic material. These many include, but are not limited to, intersections of language, and/ or literature with the following:
• Colonial/postcolonial/world-literature studies
• Contemporary neurology
• Disability studies
• Education
• Feminism/gender studies
• History
• LGBTW/Queer Theory
• Peace/war studies
• Political science
• Race theory
• Religion
• Sociology/ anthropology/ psychology
Suggested Topics/ Provocations:
Culture Wars
Poles, spectrum, center/periphery, left/right, fringe, moderate, middle of the road, dualism, friction, antithesis: the metaphors we use to discuss and portray difference vary across historical periods. What are the historical conditions of their emergences? What has each enabled? What has each occluded?

How has radicalized discourse affected academia, recently and in the past? In what ways has pedagogy been invented, changed, and evolved to meet a radicalized discourse? Do the humanities have a radical future?

What are the connections between radical/extremist discourse and political geography?
The cultural work of comedy and comedians in relation to polarization.
The figure of the moderate: the value or lack thereof of posing/acting/possessing moderation in a historical, literary or social discourse.

What are the polarizing cultural effects of outrageous bodies/freaks?
Polarization/Radicalization in Literature
What extremist modes or conceits exist in literature? Which narratives/authors demonstrate radicalized discourse and how does this discourse manifest itself in plot, theme, and/or characterization?

• Manifestos (make your own!)
• Mass psychology/groups and groupthink.
• Performance studies--affect and outrage.
• Religion: From Stoics/Cynics to Orthodox/Reformed.
• Sexuality: Polarized Bodies/Bodily Practices.
• Speeches and speechifying; rallies and mobs.
• Terrorism and the Terrorized.

Presentations will be limited to 15 minutes. Please submit an abstract of 250 words as a MS Word attachment along with contact information, including name, institutional affiliation, degree level, email, and phone number, by June 16th, 2011 to