Marx and the Aesthetic (May 2012, Amsterdam)

Location: Universiteit van Amsterdam
Dates: May 10 – 13, 2012
Deadline for submissions: Jan 31, 2012

The aim of this conference is twofold: on the one hand, to analyse the role of the aesthetic in the writings of Marx and, on the other, to examine works of art and literature which are based on, or have been directly inspired by, Marx’s writings. At the core of this conference, then, is an attempt to think the immanent relation between the aesthetic and emancipatory conceptions of politics.

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NeMLA Conf: The Thingly Realm in Modern Literature (Mar 2012, New York)

Dates: 15-18 March 2012
Location: New York, United States
Deadline for submissions: 30 Sep 2011

This panel will examine the life of “things” in twentieth-century literature, particularly their power to produce ecstasy or existential nausea. For the modern literary persona, “stuff” has been liberating yet unmasterable, available to representation yet burdensomely concrete: consider Virginia Woolf’s Septimus, for whom “real things are too exciting,” Sartre’s Roquentin, who wants natural objects to “exist less strongly,” or Nabokov as a young lepidopterist. The textual object inevitably raises questions about subjectivity (how do we use things to negotiate and perform identities?), about empathy and skepticism (how do we relate to that which is radically “other”?), and about the ethics of representation (must the text overwhelm or reduce the material world’s essential difference?). As theorizations of the “posthuman” become common, reevaluating the intellectual history of the object may help us understand how “the human” signifies and what is at stake in its doing so. This panel invites papers on the thing in its various literary forms – including the collection or fetish item, the prop or puppet, the remain or refuse, and the symbol in its material aspects. Discussions of any writer or genre are welcome. Send 250-500 word abstracts to Katie Van Wert at

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