Call for Papers: "Empire: A Retrospective" at Cultural Studies at Pitt

Call for Papers

"Empire: A Retrospective"

The Second Biannual Faculty and Graduate Students Colloquium

Organized by The Graduate Program for Cultural Studies at the University of
November 18-21 2010

This conference will address the 10th anniversary of the publication of
Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri's seminal book Empire, the first volume of a
trilogy that saw its completion in October 2009 with the publication of the
third volume, Commonwealth. The second volume, Multitudes, came out in

However, we are not italicizing the word "Empire" in the conference title
because we want to address the questions raised by the books much more than
glossing the texts themselves. The response in the academic world to the
trilogy has been extremely fertile, causing, among other things, a
rediscovery of Italian political thought, a questioning of historical and
cultural categories related to postmodernity, and the reframing of the
political stakes implicit in theoretical interventions. The dialogue that
other critics have opened with Negri and Hardt - sometimes sympathetic,
sometimes skeptical or outright polemical - will also be a fundamental part
of the conference. Figures such as Jameson and Zizek are only the tip of
the iceberg. Furthermore, current historical developments in the
international arena, also directly addressed in the trilogy, have pushed us
in the last decade us to reflect once more on the political and cultural
form "empire", and we feel there is no better moment for this discussion to
take place.

We are looking for graduate student papers that will address the following

How have the categories developed by Hardt and Negri inflected the critical
approach to specific fields of study, such as cultural analysis, political
theory or anthropological reflection?
What traditions of thought are mobilized anew in Hardt and Negri's
discourse? How does this new reading of past texts generate new insights in
current debates?
What are the blind spots in the trilogy, in terms both of theory and of
political commentary? How can one deconstruct Hardt and Negri's discourse,
and what is the advantage of engaging in this kind of critical dialogue with
Are the international exempla of political engagement and struggle mentioned
in Hardt and Negri's trilogy considered in a historically and theoretically
useful manner? How can specialists of each regional history benefit from
the book's intervention?

We need to receive 500- words abstracts by April 20, 2010. All submissions
should be attached via e-mail to the following address,
with names and university affiliations. The papers will be rendered
anonymous for the review process.

We will give our responses by May 10. Those graduate student participants
chosen from outside the University of Pittsburgh will receive a $300
scholarship from the Graduate Program for Cultural Studies at the University
of Pittsburgh in order to help defray traveling costs.

Both Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri have agreed to give the final keynote

The format of the conference will include 4 panels, each anchored by an
external, invited scholar able to address authoritatively the issues at
We are looking forward to receive graduate student submissions at your
earliest convenience.

The whole CFP can be found on our website here:

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