Saturday, July 01, 2006

CFP: Archives: From Memory to Event (UCL English Postgraduate Conference)

CFP: Archives: From Memory to Event (UCL English Postgraduate Conference)

UCL English Postgraduate Conference
March 9th 2007
Institute of English Studies
Senate House
Deadline: November 1st, 2006

In recent years the word 'archive' has been used to describe many things. An archive is first of all a physical place that houses documents or material relating to a specific person, event or time period. However, Michel Foucault uses the term archive more generally to describe 'the system
of the formation and transformation of statements' - a set of rules that determines what can be said in a given context. Jacques Derrida identifies the archive as a site of power, which is manifested by the act of assembling, structuring and interpreting signs. According to his theories, archiving techniques are far from innocent in the archival process: they determine the content of the archive itself. Derrida stresses the materiality of the archive. He later suggests, however, that one should 'take into account unconscious, and more generally virtual archives'.

Discussions around the archive evolve between different poles: Is the archive actual or virtual; is it a place or a set of ordering principles; or does the archive operate as place and principle simultaneously? Does it document certain historical events or does it in effect create events
through its own assembled narrative? What is its effect on the content it organizes?
We welcome contributions from the humanities, the social sciences and the arts. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

. discussions of specific archives and their relation to individual or collective memory and commemorative acts
. the (literary) text as archive and monument
. self-narration and autobiography as a way of constructing archived and archivable memory
. the archiving and remembering of traumatic events
. questions of power with regard to the archive and memory/commemoration
. literature on mourning and its structuring of memory and commemoration
. self-censorship and confession in texts which stage the archiving of memory
. memory and the possibility of the archive in 'unfinishing' texts

Proposal submission deadline: November 1st 2006
250 words limit
Please send proposals to