Comparative Literature Graduate Student Conference at New York University
March 5-6, 2010
Can we disagree? The question forces you to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ to commit to one path or the other. Perhaps it even forces you to choose your allies, to prepare for combat.
If we can disagree, how do we do this? Why the desire to disagree in the first place? This questioning asks us to examine the epistemological and material conditions of disagreement; the possibility of dialogue and understanding; the relationship between eristic and dialectic; the role and function of polemos; and the relation between negation, negativity, difference and disagreement.
What forms, moreover, does disagreement take within literary texts? How might literature subvert, use, or propagate ideology? In view of deconstructionist readings that present a text in disagreement with itself, what is the connection between the rhetorics and the materiality of disagreement? As for translation, does it assume an incompatibility between texts that can be termed disagreement?
In the context of academic practices, the issue of disagreement concerns the ethos and the methodology of a community of researchers whose discussions operate according to different models of argumentation. This questioning opens up the possibility of a debate between different disciplines and approaches: for example, how does the model of scientific falsification relate to more interpretive paradigms? How do the forms of disagreement in literary texts compare to the forms it takes in art, philosophy, and the social and natural sciences?
This discussion may also lead us into the political dimensions of disagreement: violence as a form of disagreement; the contradictions inherent in theories of social contract; the figure of authority and tradition; and the moral demand to disagree in the public sphere. Does disagreement, an allegedly belligerent, disruptive force, play a role in the formation of communities? How does this role agree with the community-building functions of consensus?
Finally, does the very possibility of disagreement lead us to an unspoken universality that transcends (or destroys) language games, the linguistic community, and even language itself?
Being together and being against each other–if these are the two modes of disagreement–we invite you to come and disagree with us. Submissions from any discipline on all possible permutations of disagreement are welcome.
300 word abstracts due 01/15/2010 to disagreement.NYU@gmail.com. Please visit our website, http://disagreement.wordpress.com, for more information.