[UPDATE] "Excess": UCLA Comparative Literature Graduate Conference, February 19-20, 2015

full name / name of organization: 
UCLA Department of Comparative Literature



February 19-20, 2015
UCLA, Royce Hall, Room 306

We are excited to announce the speakers for the upcoming UCLA Comparative Literature Graduate Conference! Cultural critic Steven Shaviro, from Wayne St. University, will make the keynote address. We will also have plenary addresses from leading experimental poet and critic Juliana Spahr (Mills College) and postcolonial critic and theoretician Toral Gajarawala (NYU). For more information about our speakers, as well as links to their works, see our website.

Also, please note the fast-approaching deadline for submissions: Monday, December 1, 2014. Here is the original CFP:

How much is too much? This is a fundamental question of our lives. When excess is posed as a site of inquiry, it becomes a perspective on the normative. Literature, as a place where all sorts of limits are exposed, allows us the space to think about aesthetic, ethical, and social norms. At a time when our lives seem supersaturated with information, products, and art, and when time itself seems increasingly scarce, the presence of excess of every sort challenges us to name for ourselves the practical and theoretical uses and abuses of that which goes beyond known limits. Seeing the centrality of excess in our lives, how can we employ it as a critical concept to reform our thinking to match contemporary cultural, political, and artistic conditions?

Particularly interesting to this discussion of excess are four general questions and the fields of inquiry they generate: (1) How does excess as a critical term help define the literary itself as form and imaginary, and thus help reinvigorate conversations that seek to elucidate the value of the literary? (2) Is there an ethics of excess? (3) How does excess as a theoretical perspective unsettle the binary tautologies of mind and body, logic and emotion, and original and reproduction, that have dominated post-Enlightenment Western metaphysical thinking? (4) How can we rewrite notions of culture when the excess inherent in diasporic communities is a norm that disturbs nation/people paradigms?

Aside from these four broad areas, other topics we are interested in include the following:

  • Utopias in excess of the possible
  • Excess of English and the shrinkage of world languages
  • Excess of the visible and the return to psychic spaces
  • The "humanimal" — exceeding the human/animal binary
  • Overdetermined description — where realism exceeds realism
  • The eccentric: beyond the norm, beyond the experimental norm
  • The supersaturation of cultural products in contemporary society & the transformation of access and the archive
  • Increased militarization and surveillance in society
  • Anomalous legal zones (oceans and detention camps)
  • Freedom/regulation (of speech and otherwise)

We invite graduate students to submit abstracts between 250 and 350 words that bear upon excess. While literature is our focus, graduate students from all departments are welcome to submit an abstract. Our goal will be to comprise coherent panels that test our understanding of the basic themes under discussion both through the rigor of individual papers and the comparative stretching made possible through the composition of the group.

Please send all submissions to ucla.complit.conf@gmail.com by December 1, 2014. And please feel free to exceed our categories. If you have any questions, contact us at the above email address or see our website: http://excess2015.wordpress.com


We look forward to hearing from you,

Excess 2015 Conference Organizers