Dirty Talk: The Forms and Language of Pleasure (MadLit) - Abstracts Due 1/3/2015

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Dirty Talk:The Forms and Language of Pleasure
The 11th Annual Graduate Conference on Language and Literature (MadLit)
at the University of Wisconsin-Madison // February 26-28, 2015w

Dirty talk. Guilty pleasure. Darkest desire. Our everyday discourse is littered with phrases that shun or shame the pleasurable. Yet seeking pleasure, as fig- ures from Chaucer to Freud have argued, is a basic human instinct. Scholarship across a variety of fields has gravitated toward humanity's complex relationship with pleasure.

Important works like Laura Mulvey's essay "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema" and Carole Vance's anthology Pleasure and Danger: Exploring Female Sexuality, for example, have established pleasure as a central concept across disciplines such as gender studies, feminist theory, and film studies. Prompted by Lauren Berlant's Desire/Love, which suggests that the seemingly personal or private pleasures in life are culturally shaped, theorists also examine the way pleasure straddles both public and private spheres. Queer rhetorical scholars, such as Jonathan Alexander and Jacqueline Rhodes, have called for increased attunement towards pleasure, emotion, and desire. Pleasure is also a prime element of art-history scholarship, where recent works on the topic range from the sexual imagery in sixteenth-century witch iconography to nineteenth-cen- tury Mexican crafting traditions. Literary criticism, meanwhile, possesses a rich genealogy of the so-called dangerous book – the burlesque, the gothic novel, science fiction, erotica, the comic book – such 'low brow' works across centu- ries that have lured their readers with the promise of pleasure. Recently, critics have grappled with how to understand passionate 'fandoms', from Jane Austen's Janeites to J.K. Rowling's Potterphiles and Stephanie Meyer's Twihards.

Scholars have also traced the unexpected places in which we find pleasure. Felicity Nussbaum's new work, for instance, studies the seemingly paradoxical pleasure of eighteenth-century tragedy, while William Logan's recent book, Guilty Knowledge, Guilty Pleasure: The Dirty Art of Poetry investigates both the joy of writing American poetry and the even greater joy of reviewing it. Recent composition and rhetorical scholarship has invited us to consider the function of pleasure in writing pedagogy, and the process of meaning making and con- sumption. T.R. Johnson's A Rhetoric of Pleasure: Prose Style and Today's Compo- sition Classroom argues that pleasure plays a key role in the classroom for both instructors and students as they come to see the composing process as lively and fulfilling. Finally, scholars from library sciences, education, and literary studies have recently turned to a renewed interest in the pleasures of reading. Surface reading, uncritical reading, symptomatic reading – these new theories and ap- proaches prompt a reconsideration of pleasure's place in academia.

We seek proposals for 15–20-minute papers, three-person panels, and non-tra- ditional presentations that explore these or any other meanings and functions of pleasure. We invite papers about any time period and any genre; we also invite papers from across disciplines and fields. Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words to uwmadlit@gmail.com by January 3, 2015.

Possible topics might include:
· Theoretical notions of pleasure (historical or contemporary) · Pleasure in literature
· Reading for pleasure
· Value of pleasure in scholarship
· Pleasure and new media (gaming, binge-watching, etc.)
· Sensuality, eroticism, pornography
· Sexual economies
· Embodied pleasure
· Genre or popular fiction
· Fandoms, fan fiction, adaptation
· Sensation and the sensational
· Dark pleasures (voyeurism, morbidity, perversion, BDSM)
· Hoaxes, humor, parody

This year's MadLit conference, "Dirty Talk: The Forms and Language of Plea- sure," will be held from Thursday, February 26 to Saturday, February 28, 2015. The English Department Graduate Student Association (GSA) is pleased to an- nounce that this year's keynote address will be delivered by Dr. Kathleen Lubey, Associate Professor of English at St. John's University. Professor Lubey's research moves across literature, philosophy, sexuality and gender studies, feminist the- ory, the history of pornography, and theories of the novel and literary form. She is the author of Excitable Imaginations: Eroticism and Reading in Britain, 1660- 1760, and her current book project studies manuscript records of early English feminism and the overlap between the histories of feminism and pornography. Her talk will take place at 7pm on Thursday, February 26.


To apply to one of these panels, please submit abstracts to the contacts listed below by Jan. 3, 2015.

This year, in addition to our general call for papers, MadLit has invited colloquia from across the UW-Madison campus to sponsor panels. Participating colloquia have designed panels that adapt our theme, "Dirty Talk: The Forms and Language of Pleasure," to particular fields of research. To apply to one of these panels, please contact the panel organizers directly. Panel organizers and contact information are listed in each panel description.

"The Sensual Middle Ages"
(The Graduate Association for Medieval Studies)
In the Middle Ages, the senses were central to aesthetic and religious expe- rience. This panel invites abstracts for papers exploring sensuality, pleasure, vision(s)/the visionary, beauty, and tactility in medieval literature, art, and culture. How did the senses shape or enhance religious experience? How was the body viewed as both a temptation to sin and the provider of access to the divine? What kind of formal relationship between text and image might engage the senses? Please send abstracts of 250-300 words to Ashley Cook (alcook2@ wisc.edu) and Leah Pope (lepope@wisc.edu).

"Profitable Pleasure in Early Modern Print (1500-1700)"
(The Renaissance Colloquium and the Early Modern English Reading Group)
Early printed works of nearly every imaginable genre—from religious tracts and husbandry manuals to collections of poetry, plays, and masques—seem invested in their readers' experiences of "pleasure and profit." This panel will examine the intersections, intercessions, and other intimate relations between profit and pleasure, didactic and delight in early modern printed works—literary or other- wise. Applicants to this panel should submit their abstracts to azito@wisc.edu.

"Dis/Pleasurable Bodies"
(The Middle Modernity Group)
From Gulliver's defamiliarizing encounters with Brobdingnagian breasts to Edmund Burke's theorization of the beautiful by way of "the easy and insensible swell" of a woman's décolletage, the terrible chiaroscuro of Geraldine's disrobed body to Laura's corruption under the influence of goblin fruit: eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature is replete with bodies in various – and sometimes simultaneous – states of dis/pleasure. The panel organizers invite papers that examine this persistent and multifarious interest in the embodied experience
of pleasure and its discontents. Please submit proposals of no more than 300 words to Mid Mod coordinators, Devin Garofalo (dgarofalo@wisc.edu) and Katie Lanning (klanning@wisc.edu).

"Memory and Desire: Modernist Erotics"
(The Modernisms/Modernities Colloquium)
The Modernisms/Modernities Colloquium is seeking individual proposals
for two sponsored panels at the 2015 MadLit Conference. In keeping with the conference theme of "pleasure", the first panel, entitled "Memory and Desire: Modernist Erotics", seeks proposals relating to manifestations and mechanisms of pleasure in modernist literature. How does pleasure operate in modernist texts? What formal, thematic, or critical functions does pleasure perform, and what aesthetic effects does it produce? To be considered for a 20-minute pre- sentation, send submissions to mmc@english.wisc.edu by January 3. Proposals should include a title, your name and affiliation, and a 300-word abstract.

"Animal Magnetism"
(The Modernisms/Modernities Colloquium)
The second MMC panel, entitled "Animal Magnetism", seeks proposals that reexamine the intersection between pleasure and animality. At least as far back as Aristotle, the Western tradition has delineated and ranked different modes of pleasure, typically associating physical gratification with the corporeal con- dition that humans share with animals. How do modernist texts sustain, chal- lenge, or reject hierarchies of pleasure through the figure of animality? To be considered for a 20-minute presentation, send submissions to mmc@english. wisc.edu by January 3. Proposals should include a title, your name and affilia- tion, and a 300-word abstract.

"Putting the Dirt in Dirty Talk: The Pleasures of the Environment"
(D.I.R.T.: The Environmentalist Reading Group)
In this panel, we will explore increasingly fraught questions of pleasure, en- joyment, beauty, and fulfillment in the natural environment. While literary scholars rightly tend to focus on the grim realities of the contemporary envi- ronmental context, from extinction to climate change to ocean plastification, those same scholars almost invariably have strong attachments to pleasurable environmental places and experiences. Meanwhile, the environmental literature canon has expanded considerably in recent decades, so that unflinching novels about toxicity like Indra Sinha's Animal's People now sit next to poetry of praise by Mary Oliver and ecstatic essays by John Muir. How should we understand these widely varying versions of environmental consciousness? What role does or should pleasure play in an age of environmental devastation? Send submis- sions to Sarah Dimick and Nathan Jandl at njandl@wisc.edu.

"Pleasure and Its Limits in Contemporary Poetics"
(The Felix Series of New Writing)
Sponsored by The Felix Series of New Writing, this panel invites papers inves- tigating how contemporary writers working within the small and independent press economy create and promote pleasure in their writing while also implicat- ing pleasure as insufficient in and of itself as a response to contemporary social and political crises. How do poetry and its related hybrid genres, which are perhaps particularly suited to offer pleasurable experiences of rhythm, sound, polyphony, and surprise in language, complicate pleasure and our sense of what it can and cannot accomplish? Send submissions to Rebecca Couch Steffy at rsteffy@wisc.edu.