[Deadline Extended!] ACLA 2022 Make it Big: Mapping Out Perspectives on Collectivity

deadline for submissions: 
January 15, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
ACLA 2022
contact email: 

Organizer: Mi Jeong Lee

Co-Organizer: Seohyon Jung


We live in an era demanding collectives, whether it be on the level of the local, in communities, neighborhoods, or gatherings, or on the level of the global, in trans- or supra-national organizations and alliances, humankind, or the planetary biosphere. Recent theoretical turns away from or beyond the individual, the human, or the discretely bounded, such as that of Jane Bennett, Bruno Latour, Donna Haraway, and Dipesh Chakrabarty, reflect a contemporary discontent in restrictive orientations including but not limited to anthropocentrism. To think, feel, experience, and act as a collective, however, must always be in scalar tension with that collective’s constituent individual parts. To make something big we must start out from the small, and in getting bigger we risk losing sight of the particular and settling for an easy abstraction or universalism.

This seminar aims to explore questions of collectivity from a variety of angles, ranging from historical approaches and theoretical approaches such as new materialism, ecocriticism, and posthumanism, to narrative approaches paying attention to issues such as perspective, character, and spatiotemporality. For example, how does literature, as a forum for forging the biopolitical imagination, represent the political as well as economic stakes of excess? How do we negotiate the feelings of alienation in the face of a human mass or make sense of violence in the name of collective governance? Or, in a different vein, how must individual agency and forms of storytelling based on it be rethought in the face of planetary catastrophe that demands large-scale action?

Ultimately, we are interested in generating a network of ideas around the representation and application of the concept of collectivity across historical and geographical boundaries. We welcome explorations from a variety of disciplines and intersections. Topics may include, among others:

Collectivity / Human as a species / Distributed agency / Race / Population theory / The global and the planetary / Affective experience of collectivity / National or other forms of governance / Forms of communities / Collective memory  / Assemblage / Environment and ecology / Fear of the crowd / Rhetoric of the mob / Infrastructure / Scale

Please submit a 250-300 word abstract by November 30, 2021 directly to the ACLA website (https://www.acla.org/node/add/paper). You should be able to select the panel "Make it Big" on the dropdown menu. And contact the organizers at mjlee0810@gmail.com or seohyon.jung@snu.ac.kr if you have any questions. Proposals should include the title of the paper, the presenter's name, institutional affiliation (if applicable), and any technology requests.