The Twelfth Quadrennial International Comparative Literature Conference
Literature, Life, and the Biological
Time: December 15-16
Venue: 10F, Chueh-seng Building, Tamkang University
New Taipei City, Taiwan
Life in its biological sense never ceases to be the object of literary, political, medical, scientific, and philosophical speculation and engagement, and literature often serves as the testing ground for thought experiments about the nature of life. This preoccupation has crossed epistemological, disciplinary, and generic boundaries, encompassing transdisciplinary perspectives and cross-cultural dialogues through and beyond the biological-material principle.
Late in their careers Foucault and Deleuze both explored an intriguing question: what makes life, or the state of being, desirable? Agamben has noted how this question reveals the importance of life in relation to truth discourses. For these philosophers, literature is an invitation to a voyage, a passage, and an adventure into a new dimension of life, indicating that forms of life are always yet “in the making,” denoting a creative genesis, transformation, and the creation of a new image of thought.
Literature, like biology, is itself “a passage of Life that traverses both the livable and the lived”; hence, the space of literature is a space to live and to change. Instead of seeing life as “one biological principle,” modern biology emphasizes the manifold tendencies of life in its encounter with different sorts of matter and other environments. Thus, it is imperative for scholars in literary and cultural studies to think through “encounter” in relation to the singularities of existence in a wide array of fields. In philosophy, art, and literature—in genres such as (post)modern fiction, science fiction, cyberpunk, queer fiction, world literature, and ecoliterature—along with fields such as new materialism, posthumanism, and various others, the “biological” is seen working as relations, opening up new areas of study. We welcome papers or panel proposals that engage with any aspect of the general theme of “Literature, Life, and the Biological.” Possible topics include (but are not limited to) the following:
1. Comparative literature in the age of the Anthropocene
2. The unwanted or improper life
3. Power over life
4. Life and the virtual
5. The livable and the lived
6. Biopolitics/beyond biopolitics
7. Forms of life
9. Information and cybernetics
11. The posthuman, transhuman and nonhuman
12. New materialism
13. Animal studies
The official language for the conference is English. All participants will procure membership status in the Association. Free lodging for paper presenters traveling from abroad is available for two nights during the conference. Those wishing to participate are invited to submit a 300-word abstract to Secretary General Dr. Joseph Yu (firstname.lastname@example.org) by March 17, 2017. Submissions must be accompanied by the presenter’s name, e-mail address, tentative title, a short bio, as well as an indication of whether any computing or electronic equipment (e.g., laptop, projector) is needed.