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CFP Brown French Studies Graduate Conference: Pain and Pleasure

CALL FOR PAPERS

Pleasure and Pain (Equinoxes 2015)

3-4 April 2015 | Brown University | Providence, Rhode Island

Keynote: Cary Howie

Associate Professor of Romance Studies, Cornell University

As culturally transcendent as pleasure and pain might seem, the discourse surrounding these two sensations can vary widely depending on socio-historical context. With Equinoxes 2015, we propose to investigate the heterogeneity of these prima facie universal experiences as they appear throughout the various periods and mediums of cultural production within the French-speaking world.

From the Classicist emphasis on “plaire et instruire” to the sensualist thought of Condillac, according to whom all knowledge originates with the avoidance of pain and the pursuit of pleasure, the production of meaning in French and Francophone culture has, from its earliest stages, been bound to a pleasure/pain dichotomy. Our exploration of these concepts will touch upon concerns that are 1) ontological, 2) ethical, and 3) aesthetic in nature. In the first place, our conference hopes to analyze the diverse ways French thinkers have defined these terms, asking: what constitutes pleasure and pain, and ought we indeed view these concepts as two distinct categories, or rather as sometimes indistinguishable states along a continuous spectrum? In the second place, we shall explore the circumstances under which French thinkers have attributed ethical significance to pleasure and pain, and to whom (or what) these circumstances apply. In the third place, we ask: in what ways can language ever hope to do justice to the feelings of pain and pleasure? What techniques have French letters adopted to (re)produce these states (potentially in the face of censorship), and how do these techniques differ across more visual or aural art forms?

Equinoxes encourages proposals from a variety of disciplines (French & Francophone Studies, Comparative Literature, History, Philosophy, Postcolonial Studies, Art History, Media & Cultural Studies, etc.). Potential avenues of exploration may include, but are not limited to:

-Depictions of pain and pleasure in various artistic media

-Aesthetic theories on the portrayal of pleasure and pain

-The pleasure in artistic consumption/production

– Love, desire, and sexuality

-Empathy, sympathy, pity

-Legitimations/utilizations of suffering (i.e. questions regarding capital punishment, torture, war, etc.)

-Questions regarding the body

-Human and animal rights

-Religious suffering (expiation, martyrdom, asceticism, etc.)

-Materialism

-Definitions of happiness

-Libertinism

-Questions of censorship

-Catharsis

-Pedagogical dimension of pleasure and/or pain (“plaire et instruire”)

-Theories regarding the senses

Graduate students who wish to participate in the conference should submit an abstract of no more than 250 words. Abstracts must be sent, as attachments, to brown.equinoxes@gmail.com before January 15, 2015. Emails should include the author’s name, institutional affiliation, and contact information. Presentations, whether in English or in French, should not exceed 20 minutes.

For more information, please visit our website: http://www.brown.edu/conference/equinoxes/

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Plaisir et Souffrance (Equinoxes 2015)

3-4 avril 2015 | Brown University | Providence, Rhode Island

Conférencier d’honneur : Cary Howie

Professeur associé au département d’Études Romanes à Cornell University

Bien que le plaisir et la souffrance puissent apparaître comme dépourvus de toute dimension culturelle, le discours tenu autour de ces deux sensations varie considérablement en fonction du contexte socio-historique. Equinoxes 2015 vous propose d’examiner ces deux expériences, de prime abord universelles, telles qu’elles se présentent à travers différentes époques et médias de production culturels dans le monde francophone.

De l’importance que le Classicisme a donnée à l’injonction à « plaire et instruire », à la pensée sensualiste d’un Condillac dans laquelle toute connaissance tire son origine de l’évitement de la souffrance et de la poursuite du plaisir, la production de sens dans les cultures françaises et francophones a été régulièrement liée à une dichotomie plaisir/souffrance. L’étude de ces concepts touchera aux domaines ontologiques, éthiques et esthétiques. Dansun premier temps, notre conférence espère se pencher sur la façon dont les penseurs français ont défini ces termes — de quoi le plaisir et la souffrance sont- ils faits et doit-on vraiment les considérer comme deux catégories distinctes, ou plutôt comme des états vagues, parfois impossibles à discerner sur un spectre continu ? Dans un deuxième temps, nous analyserons les circonstances dans lesquelles les penseurs français ont attribué une valeur éthique au plaisir et à la souffrance, et à qui (ou à quoi) ces circonstances s’appliquent. Dans un troisième temps, enfin, nous nous demanderons dans quelle mesure le langage peut espérer rendre justice à des sensations comme le plaisir et la souffrance. Quelles sont les techniques que les lettres françaises ont adoptées pour (re)produire ces états (parfois face à la censure), et comment ces techniques diffèrent-elles dans le contexte de formes d’art plus visuelles et sonores ?

Equinoxes encourage les propositions de disciplines variées (Études françaises et francophones, Littérature comparée, Histoire, Philosophie, Études postcoloniales, Histoire de l’Art, Études des média & cultures, etc.). Les différentes pistes à suivre incluent, entre autres, ce qui suit :

-Description de la souffrance et du plaisir dans différentes formes artistiques

-Théories esthétiques sur la description du plaisir et de la souffrance

-Le plaisir dans la consommation et la production artistiques

-Amour, désir et sexualité

-Empathie, sympathie et pitié

-Légitimations et utilisations de la souffrance (par exemple, les questions concernant la peine capitale, la torture, la guerre, etc.)

-Le rapport au corps

-Les droits de l’humain et de l’animal

-La souffrance religieuse (expiation, martyr, ascétisme, etc.)

-Le matérialisme

-La définition du bonheur

-Le libertinage

-La censure

-La catharsis

-La dimension pédagogique du plaisir et/ou de la souffrance (« plaire et instruire »)

-Les théories des sensations / des sens

Les étudiants gradués qui souhaitent participer à la conférence doivent soumettre un résumé d’à peu près 250 mots. Les résumés doivent être envoyés en pièce jointe à brown.equinoxes@gmail.com avant le 15 janvier 2015. Incluez nom d’auteur, affiliation institutionnelle et contact dans votre email. Les exposés, qu’ils soient enanglais ou en français, ne dépasseront pas 20 minutes.

Pour plus d’information, merci de visiter notre site :http://www.brown.edu/conference/equinoxes/

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October 16 | Derrida and the Hauntology of Media | New York University

Artifactualities: Derrida and the Hauntology of Media

Thursday October 16, 2014 | 4:00-8:00 PM

239 Greene Street, NY 10003, 8th floor | New York University 

Hosted by the NYU Department of Media, Culture, and Communication; and the NYU Department of English

Program

Everything Burns (Tout Brûle)

Gil Anidjar, Professor, Department of Religion, Columbia University

What kind of an event, what kind of machine, is the Holocaust? What figure, what medium is ash or before it fire? What are these for Derrida? Among the “controversies” surrounding Derrida and deconstruction (“media”), and for overdetermined reasons, few have matched the contradictory intensity of Nazism and the Holocaust. Is deconstruction a “Jewish science” emerging out of post-Holocaust concerns (ashes), or is it a “left Heideggerianism” all too forgiving of Nazi proclivities (“Spirit in Flame”)? What kinds of questions are these? What archive burns through them? What remains? What remains of Derrida’s Holocaust?

Shibboleth:  Policing by Ear and Forensic Listening in Projects by Laurence Abu Hamdan

Emily, Apter, Professor, Professor, Department of French, Comparative Literature, NYU

The Jordanian artist Laurence Abu Hamdan engages the politics of the broken “oral contract.”  In projects that investigate the juridical uses of “forensic listening,” he activates the concept of “shibboleth” so important to Derrida in his analysis of the poetry of Paul Celan. Shibboleths are select words whose pronunciation gives away the identity of a person or group. Consisting of inflections, catchwords, expressions, or marks of dialect, they become serviceable as aural biopolitical signatures as well as examples of what the French philosopher Grégoire Chamayou refers to as predatory, “cynegetic” power. Drawing on Derrida’s writings on shibboleth and technologies of the ear, this paper will consider cases in which targeted populations – migrants, the unemployed, political suspects, the racially profiled – have their language subjected to forensic analysis to authenticate their claims to asylum or the right to safe passage across checkpoints.

 

Archivio

Geoffrey Bennington, Professor of Modern French Thought, Emory University

“Archivio” explores the relationship between what Derrida calls “archiviolence” in Of Grammatology and what he calls the “archiviolithic” in Archive Fever. With particular attention to the proper names Freud and Foucault, I suggest that Derrida’s thinking in this respect calls for a quite radical revision of dominant ways of thinking about archives, libraries, and the discipline of intellectual history.

Curtains

Juliet Fleming, Associate Professor, Department of English, NYU

Late in his career Derrida began to worry an issue that does not appear as such in Grammatology, but without which there could be no complete theory of writing. The issue can be phrased as a question: when it comes to writing where is (and what is meant by) on? This talk will track Derrida’s unresolved pursuit of this question and demonstrate its consequence within a field — bibliography – that has largely forgotten that biblion originally meant not ‘book’ or ‘work’ but a support for writing.

Faces and Frames of Government: Aenigma, Imago, Lex

Peter Goodrich, Professor of Law, Director, Program in Law and Humanities, Cardozo School of Law

Returning to 1968, annus mirabilis, this divagation draws one of its scintilla from Of Grammatology and the latent theme of a generalized writing. Attaching myself to the contropiano where the letter becomes an image, the syllable a figure I will hint, by means of a history of common law effigies, at the fate of Monsieur Deconstruction in partibus infidelium, in the anglophone world.

Panel Discussion:  Derrida’s Desistance, Inherence, and Inheritance

Gil Anidjar, Emily Apter, Geoffrey Bennington, Allen Feldman, Juliet Fleming, Alex Galloway, Peter Goodrich, Ben Kafka

REGISTER

unCOMMON Salon: Kristen Highland’s “The Bookstore in 19th Century New York City” 4/2 @ 6pm, Bobst Library

 The Bookstore in Nineteenth-Century New York City 

A talk by Kristen Highland

Wednesday, April 2nd from 6:00 – 7:30pm 
Bobst Library, 5th Floor West,  Media Viewing Center          

 

The romantic image of the independent bookstore—haven of book lovers, cultural bulwark, and literary playground—obscures the historical reality of selling books—the rapid turnover, looming bottom lines, and peripatetic stores. Yet bookstores have always been more than the sales tallies or even the books lining the shelves. This talk examines the social and cultural life of bookstores in New York City from 1820 to 1860. Using GIS technology to map bookstore locations and movements, Highland traces the retail landscape of a growing bookselling center and presents select case studies to explore how the physical spaces and marketing strategies of nineteenth-century retail booksellers helped shape the definition and familiar form of today’s bookstores. An understudied component of literary history, the retail bookstore participated in the lively and varied cultural life of antebellum New York City. In the shadow of today’s escalating panic over the future of the brick-and-mortar store, it is critical to explore the past of the bookstore. 

Kristen Doyle Highland is a PhD candidate in the English Department at NYU. Her dissertation project focuses on the social and cultural life of antebellum New York City bookstores, and broader research interests include book history, spatial humanities, and early American culture. She is a graduate coordinator of NEWYORKSCAPES, a graduate-faculty research collaborative on cultural geography and humanities scholarship at the Humanities Initiative.

 Light refreshments will be served. 

CLICK to RSVP

A Talk Presented by NYU’s Romanticist Reading Group, 4/18

The NYU Department of English  
The Romanticist Reading Group of NYU 


PRESENT:


“Modern Nature; or, Imagination Revisited”

Anahid J. Nersessian (Presenter, Columbia English and Comparative Literature)

Maureen N. McLane (Respondent, NYU Department of English)



20 Cooper Square, 4th Floor Flex Space
Wednesday, April 18th
6 – 8 pm

**Snacks and wine will be served**
“This talk suggests some new possibilities for ecological critique by revisiting the familiar, gently antiquated concept of the Romantic imagination. Through readings of William Cowper, Dorothy Wordsworth, and the late-Romantic artist and filmmaker Derek Jarman, I propose a return to literary and aesthetic questions about how we imagine, represent, and make sensible phenomena which are intermittently or not at all available to the senses.” 
– Anahid J. Nersessian


"Walt Whitman’s Faces": NYU, 3/27

The New York University

Colloquium in American Literature and Culture

presents
Walt Whitman’s “Faces”:
A Typographical Reading
Tuesday, March 27, 6:30 p.m.
19 University Place, Great Room
Internationally recognized letterpress artist Barbara Henry and Whitman scholar Karen Karbiener offer a first look at their collaborative effort, a letterpress book introducing a “typographical reading” of Whitman’s poem, “Faces.” Karbiener will discuss the poet’s interests in physiology, phrenology, and the faces he encountered on the streets of New York. Henry will present Whitman’s peculiar fascination with typefaces and relate how his work as a printer inspired her innovative setting of the poem.