Desire and the Erotics of Introspection

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
NeMLA 2022
contact email: 

Desire and the Erotics of Introspection

 

From the ancient Greek concept of eros to Freudian psychoanalysis and including aesthetic theory, desire has been central to discourse and literature for centuries. This panel investigates the motivation behind desire’s inward turn toward the self. Introspection, self-examination, and the precise analysis of one’s own motivations are frequently undertaken with a goal of self-knowledge that proves both elusive and surprising to those who seek it. On the one hand, since knowledge of the self often eludes those who search for it, the desire for introspection abides, the search within the self for an account of one’s experience becoming an exciting, nearly erotic experience. In addition, the look within that solidifies unexpectedly little self-understanding often serves as a bridge to know others beyond oneself, including others within. The erotics of introspection then not only dismantles the notion of a stable self that can be known, but also strips away the boundaries between self and other, appearance and being, reason and emotion. In the erotics of introspection the pursuit of an apparently elusive goal may in fact be a source of great satisfaction.

We invite papers from across disciplines and any time period that explore the relationship between desire and introspection in literature, philosophy, art, theory, film, television, and society. Possible questions this panel will address include, but are not limited to:

- How does an erotic or libidinal force motivate introspection?

- How do the erotics of introspection provide a means to know others or oneself?

- In what ways do the erotics of introspection play a role in composition of a literary work or work of art?

- How are the erotics of introspection an element in contemporary cultural productions in the age of serial television and the Internet?

- What are the consequences of the erotics of introspection in aesthetic, social, or ethical terms?

- How can the erotics of introspection figure into political landscapes in our current time or before? 

- In what ways can we conceive of the erotics of introspection in periods before the advent of psychoanalysis, such as in antiquity or in early modernity? Similarly, can we think of the erotics of introspection from a global perspective anchored in cities across the planet?