Language Dislodged

deadline for submissions: 
September 20, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
ACLA Seminar, Georgetown University
contact email: 

Language Dislodged

ACLA Seminar, Georgetown U., March 7th-10th, 2019

Organized by Ian Thomas Fleishman (UPenn) and Dominik Zechner (NYU)

“I could conceive of another Abraham,” Kafka writes in a letter to a friend, “who was prepared to satisfy the demand for a sacrifice immediately, with the promptness of a waiter, but was unable to bring it off because he could not get away, being indispensable; the household needed him, there was perpetually something or other to put in order, the house was never ready; for without having his house ready, without having something to fall back on, he could not leave. This the Bible also realized, for it says: ‘He set his house in order.’”

Setting the house of language in order, throwing it into disarray, exposing it to literature, setting it on fire––these are some of the movements our seminar seeks to explore. We would like to raise attention to the housing problems that permeate literary and philosophical discourses: from Ulysses’ homesickness (nostalgia), recently reconsidered by Barbara Cassin, via Freud’s derivation of the uncanny or unhomely from E.T.A. Hoffmann’s romanticism, to Heidegger’s reflections on the interconnection between building, dwelling, and thinking; from Derrida’s considerations on hospitality and the monolingualism of the other to current debates on linguistic justice—our seminar takes on the οίκος of literature, the architecture of the signifier, and the drama of linguistic displacement and dislodging.

Possible concepts and topics to discuss might include:
• Hospitality and language (Levinas, Derrida, Dufourmantelle)
• Language and/as homeland/Heimat (Arendt)
• Linguistic dismantling/deconstruction/destruction/Abbau (Husserl, Heidegger, Derrida)
• Linguistic justice/Sprachgerechtigkeit (Hamacher)
• Migration, refugee languages, and modes of linguistic displacement
• Poetic dwelling (Hölderlin), language as the house of being (Heidegger)
• The prison-house of language (Nietzsche, Jameson)
• The uncanny/das Unheimliche (Freud) • Transcendental homelessness (Lukács)
• Translation and untranslatability (Cassin, Apter)
• Writing and architecture (Bernstein), anti-architecture (Bataille, Hollier)

We are interested in critical contributions, literary or philosophical, of no more than 20 minutes in length.

The submissions portal is open from Thursday, August 30th to Thursday, September 20th, at 9 a.m. EST.

Visit the ACLA website for proposals:

Please do not hesitate to contact the organizers with your questions: &