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CFP: Archive, Canon, Clone, Copy at University of Minnesota, Sept 26th-27th, 2014


Intellectual Properties: Archive, Canon, Copy, Clone (2014)

The 3rd Annual Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature Conference at the University of Minnesota

Dates: September 26th-27th 2014

Keynotes Speakers: Jane Gaines of Columbia University


Contemporary debates on intellectual property rights encompass aspects of materiality that far exceed the scope of what has traditionally been associated with “the intellect.” In an era that witnesses the full development of the relations and forces of social production that Marx called “the general intellect,” questions of ownership are inseparable from epistemological and existential concerns. “Intellectual Properties” seeks to problematize the term itself by asking how its juridical meaning is informed by constellations of philosophical, literary, technological, social, historical, and political discourses. Our conference understands “intellectual properties” as a critical category for thinking the intersections between diverse disciplinary conversations on the ordering of knowledge and affect. What are the social and cultural preconditions that make the category of “intellectual property” salient at this historical moment?

If we consider the potential of this question to rearrange linear historiography, we must also reevaluate the objects through which we are able to form and understand these histories. The archive, the canon, the copy, and the clone are terms that determine the consistency of the intellect and its properties; they also provide models by which the intellect can be owned as “property.” The term “intellectual property” may help us to understand and position our own work as thinkers, scholars and teachers, and to map some of the possibilities and limits of contemporary work in the humanities. To whom do archives, broadly understood to include the spectrum from books to genes, belong? How do contemporary canonical formations (e.g. “world cinema,” “literature in global English,” “world music,” “French theory”) challenge and reinstitute the relations of property and propriety that were once called “tradition”? What is the relationship between media of technical reproducibility and increasingly elaborate regimes of intellectual property rights deployed in the sciences, humanities, and the public sphere? How does technical reproducibility work as a mode of biological and social reproduction in the age of digital convergence, cloning, and the proliferation of prostheses?  

We are interested in work that addresses the above questions and related concerns.

Possible paper topics include:  

  • Theoretical and historical perspectives on property and intellectuality

  • Communicative labor and general intellect

  • Materiality and embodiment of knowledge

  • Film, literature, music, their properties and property relations

  • Intersections between “local” “national” and “global” literatures, cinemas, and music.

  • The relationship between affect and intellect

  • Artificial Intelligence, cybernetics, self-organizing knowledge systems

  • Regimes of documentary evidence and the archive

  • Archive fever/desire for archives/the archival turn in film and literary studies

  • The politics of collective memory, institutional memory, and state memory

  • Subaltern and alternative archives

  • Virtual publics and virtual privacies

  • Cognitive mining and indigenous claims to knowledge

  • Exploitation of knowledge, knowledge as exploitative

  • Digital archivization and technologies of piracy

  • Intellectual prostheses in their technological, mechanical, or pharmacological modes

  • Hacking, culture-jamming, and graffiti

  • Institutional histories of intellectual property

  • Teaching, maieutics, the university under neoliberal restructuring

  • Politics of vernacular languages

  • Rights to digital commodities and virtual territory, concepts of virtual ownership

  • Mash-ups, slashes, re-mixes, parodies and communal repurposing

  • Economies and ecologies of social and biological reproduction

  • Intellectuals as a class and the role of the intellectual

  • Disciplinary history and genealogies of knowledge


Please submit your abstract of no more than 300 words to UmnCsclConference@gmail.com by June 1st. Include your name, e-mail address, brief bio (including school affiliation, position, and research interests), and any audio-visual requirements. Papers should be in English and no more than 20 minutes in length. We are also interested in panel submissions, which should consist of at least three participants and which should include the above information about each participant and a tentative title indicating the theme.