The Rhetoric of Intermediality: Abstracts due 15 October

full name / name of organization: 
Nandini Ramesh Sankar
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We invite paper proposals of around 200 words for the 2015 ACLA Convention seminar "The Rhetoric of Intermediality."

The historical moment within which works of art are found inscribed preserves also the interart relationships and compulsions that sponsor production within particular art forms. These conditions of production are not transhistorically given or natural, and lead to what may be described as a rhetoric of intermedial relations which aims at justifying and elaborating existent or ideal relationships between the various arts. Thus it is that the self-consciousness of art often emerges as a rhetoric of intermediality. An art is most itself remembering others. The specificity of the arts relies on the adventitious support of siblings and sinister relatives. Intermedial slogans such as "ut pictura poesis" and practices such as ekphrasis rely on the trope of charitable neighbourliness and mutually beneficial care, sponsorship, and advocacy, for their ability to persuade.

How does the rhetoric of intermediality mediate the self-presence of one art to itself and other arts? What are the ideological pressures that bear upon such an aesthetic of otherness? Of what might the rhetoric of an art's intermedial status be persuading itself and its audience? Papers topics can include, but are not limited to: inter-art genres including ekphrasis; Lessing's Laokoön and its influence on subsequent art and aesthetics; Romantic and Victorian aesthetics as negotiated by intermedial compulsions; the faltering Modernist quest for a pure art; and the mixed-art aesthetic of Postmodernism. While we welcome analyses of explicit theoretical statements about intermediality, we are particularly interested in readings of specific intermedial artifacts that might constitute rhetorical acts of medial self-regard.

The conference will be held from 26 to 29 March, 2015 in Seattle. The deadline for abstracts is 15 October 2015. Please email proposals and queries to