NeMLA 2019 Panel: The Role of Literature in Contemporary Italian Philosophy

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Language Association
contact email: 

Please consider submitting an abstract for the following session for the NeMLA 2019 Convention in Washington, DC (March 21-24):


The Role of Literature in Contemporary Italian Philosophy


In Living Thought: The Origins and Actuality of Italian Philosophy, Roberto Esposito claims that the uniqueness of Italian philosophy comes from its willingness to engage with the world beyond the narrow jargon of philosophical investigation.  He writes, “Italian thinkers employ a lexicon culled variously at different times from politics, history, and poetry, which is then reconstituted in each of these disciplines but in an inverted form.”  This panel will discuss different ways in which Italian philosophers have employed literature in their philosophical projects in order to ground their philosophies in human experience.  There are many examples from which one could draw.  Adriana Cavarero discusses Marcel Proust in her recent work Inclinations: A Critique of Rectitude.  Remo Bodei uses Cervantes and other authors in his work, Immaginare altre vite: Realtà, progetti, desideri.  Literature plays a crucial role in Giorgio Agamben’s discussion of linguistics and nihilism.  Of course, some Italian philosophers such as Umberto Eco have themselves written works of literature.  This panel invites papers to examine how any contemporary Italian philosophers try to use literature to develop a practical understanding of any dimension of the human condition or political philosophy.  The panel will be significant because it will advance a cross-disciplinary discussion of these philosophers to enrich our understanding of their ideas.


I hope that the panel will draw from perspectives in Italian literature, comparative literature, philosophy and other disciplines.


Please send abstracts to the NeMLA call for papers website, session 17377:


Thank you, Alexander Bertland