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Binghamton University (SUNY) Graduate Student Organization
Interdisciplinarity has become a buzzword across the humanities; the term usually implies that scholars make use of the tools of another discipline while remaining within the boundaries of their own. The French philosopher Jacques Rancière points to the impossibility of this project, describing his work as “a-disciplinary” or “in-disciplinary.” This conference seeks to reflect on the current state of work within the humanities by asking if the traditional ways of organizing disciplines are sufficient for the future of academia.
We invite talks/papers that deal with but are not limited to the following topics:
• Papers that set out to question and critique the limits of disciplines, thus producing new ways of reading and engaging with texts
• Talks that explore the status of one’s own interdisciplinary work within a more traditionally organized department
One theorist who has addressed these questions is Rancière. In his article, “Thinking Between Disciplines: An Aesthetics of Knowledge,” Rancière writes: “A discipline is always much more than an ensemble of procedures which permit the thought of a given territory of objects. It is first the constitution of this territory itself, and therefore the establishment of a certain distribution of the thinkable.” Rancière maintains that disciplines are structures that dictate how knowledge will appear from the beginning of the investigation. In other words, the objects of knowledge taken up by a discipline are contoured and pre-determined by the disciplines themselves. Rancière speaks of disciplines as “war machines” in the sense that they are always engaged in an antagonistic and exclusionary process that makes interdisciplinarity an a priori impossibility. His works point to the fact that these older models of disciplines are insufficient and limit possibilities for thinking by “distributing the thinkable,” “regulating dissensus,” and “distributing positions.” We also are looking for papers that outline the ways Rancière’s thought has been taken up in other disciplines as well as readings that engage specifically with Rancière’s philosophy.
Please send an abstract of at least 250 words detailing your proposal for a twenty minute presentation along with your C.V. to firstname.lastname@example.org by February 26.