UC Berkeley 5th Annual Comparative Literature Undergraduate Research Symposium

full name / name of organization: 
UC Berkeley Department of Comparative Literature
contact email: 

The UC Berkeley Comparative Literature Undergraduate Research Symposium 2016 planning committee is currently accepting proposals for its 5th annual conference. Deadline to submit: March 4.

The conference will take place on April 2nd, 2016 on the UC Berkeley campus and will serve as a forum for undergraduate students of comparative literature and related fields to present and discuss their own research among peers, graduate students, professors, and the Berkeley community. Attending and presenting at the conference is an excellent way to learn about current trends in literary research and to meet current undergraduates, graduate students, and professors in Comparative Literature, especially if you are considering pursuing further research and study in Comparative Literature at Berkeley.

In order to be considered, applicants must submit an abstract (200-400 words) detailing their research by March 4, 2016 at midnight Pacific Time. Follow the link to submit your abstract: http://bit.ly/1QoVNkO

Please find information regarding this year's theme and guidelines for presentations below.

While we accept abstracts of all subjects that fall into the category of "comparative literature," we especially encourage students to think and present in terms of this year's theme:

Theme: (em)body

Theorizations of the body have appeared in discourses across the humanities and social sciences, with theorists like Freud, Lacan, Butler, Derrida, Nietzsche, Merleau-Ponty, Bakhtin, and Descartes having made significant contributions to the definition of the body within their respective disciplines. Whether it is The Bible, Francois Rabelais, John Milton, or Hannah Arendt, the metaphor of the body has transcended any historical or genre constraints to become intrinsically tied not only to literature, but also to the creation of literature. The multi-valence of the word "body" makes it unique in its numerous possibilities of usage. "Body" can refer to both an individual or a collective, a concrete form or an abstraction, an action or a subject.

What is a body, or what constitutes a "body"? What does the term 'body' signify? Does the word "body" emphasize the individual over the collective, or vice versa? How does the transition from disparate, individual bodies to a unified, collective social or political body occur? Considering the notion of "embodiment," we may also ask what it means to embody something.

The conference encourages consideration of historical, cultural, and theoretical perspectives of the body across comparative literatures and media. Think of bodies in contact with one another, bodies in flux, and forms of non-human or posthuman bodies, or the legitimacy of books/works of art as "bodies" as well. If we are to understand the body as an aesthetic product, how do bodies proliferate? How are bodies represented in literary texts, and what is the relation between body and language? What is the role of the body within the construction of the self and the Other? How are bodies shaped by ideological or historical forces?

Guidelines. We invite talks to consider how a particular definition and/or aspect of the body, or the formation of bodies, plays a role in literature and literary criticism. While it is customary at conferences for presenters to read from a prepared paper, we ask that our presenters engage with their audience by delivering a talk rather than reading from a prepared paper. Talks should be 'comparative' in nature, meaning that they examine literature, philosophy, and other critical texts across linguistic, cultural, or national boundaries. Presentations are expected to:
- Run roughly 30 minutes long (20-25 minutes for presentation, 5-10 minutes for audience Q&A and panel discussion)
- Be accessible for an interdisciplinary undergraduate audience
- Be formatted appropriately (e.g. have accompanying diagrams, powerpoints, handouts, etc.). Please note that there is no need to distribute copies of your paper, though we do require that presenters email a copy of their presentation and the accompanying paper to their panel moderator no later than two weeks before the day of the conference.

Questions?
Please e-mail lead organizers Rachel Park and Lydia Tuan at calcomplit@gmail.com with any queries, concerns, or comments. Please view the conference website for further details and updates: http://calcomplitsymposium.tumblr.com/