Tuesday, April 04, 2006

CFP: Westminster English Colloquia Series - Unpacking the Library: Literatures and their Archives.

CFP: Westminster English Colloquia Series - Unpacking the Library: Literatures and their Archives.

Event Date: June 10, 2006
Deadline for Abstracts: April 16, 2006

The history of Western culture is punctuated by affirmations of the presence, rebirth, or return of literature. Such affirmation involves, necessarily, if implicitly or symbolically, a turn toward the archival forms of the text – that is, traditionally speaking, a turn toward the codex and the library. This recourse to textual holdings in various senses clearly involves often unacknowledged complexities of institutional, technical and cultural issues.

Indeed, the relation between literature and the library has often been problematic – appearing within or between: the maintenance of ideas and the accumulation of material; imaginative or intellectual freedom and ideological collections policies; excitement and boredom; private ownership and mass dissemination; taxonomy and miscellany, chaos and order; past and future. The library may appear not only as a place of memory, security, and knowledge, but of loss, trauma, and indeterminacy. This complexity appears to be particularly apt for these times, when, in the context of digitisation, the traditional forms of textual accumulation seem to be in the process of their displacement and even their obsolescence.

However, literary studies have been historically characterised by the absence of any consistent attempt to encounter the relation between literature and its archival forms. The colloquium calls for papers which pursue a critical analysis of literatures and their archives from a multiplicity of approaches: literary-critical analyses of the figure of the library; philosophical encounters with literature and its texts; analysis of the symbolic connotations of the library from cultural studies; the appearance of textual-archival forms within contemporary art; sociological accounts of literature and the library within public culture; architectural readings of the library within the built environment, etc.

Further Information.

The English Colloquia series at the University of Westminster has been characterised by a wide range of critical engagements with key contemporary literary and cultural issues, by speakers of national and international academic standing, and by a significant record of publication.

Previous speakers have included Andrew Benjamin (Monash), Andrew Bowie (Royal Holloway), Simon Critchley (New School, NY), Alex Garcia Duttmann (Goldsmiths), Elena Gualtieri (Sussex), Maggie Humm (UEL), Simon Jarvis (Cambridge), Peter Osborne (Middlesex), Doina Petrescu (Sheffield), and Anthony Vidler (Cooper Union, NY). Previous Westminster English Colloquia include: ‘Reading Paul de Man’; ‘Art Demanding Community’; ‘The Culture and Philosophy of Comedy’; and ‘Forgotten Voices of the Twentieth Century’. The most recent events in this series were ‘Adorno and Literature’ and ‘Literature and Photography’.

Among other publications, these latter have both been developed as expanded volumes: Cunningham and Mapp (eds.), Adorno and Literature, Continuum 2006; Cunningham, Fisher, Mays (eds.), Twentieth Century Literature and Photography, CSP 2005.

The colloquium will be held on the 10th June 2006. Papers (of up to 45 minutes) or abstracts of (of up to 500 words) should be delivered via email as Word attachments by the end of the 16th of April 2006, along with a brief CV. The colloquium is able to reimburse speakers for refreshments on the day and national travel, but would welcome submissions from international speakers who will be in the UK around the time of the event.

Please direct any correspondence or enquiries to: Dr. Sas Mays, English,
Linguistics, and Visual Culture, University of Westminster, London, England,
Email: S.Mays@westminster.ac.uk