2014 Theme: ANIMACY
This year’s keynote speaker is Mel Y Chen, Associate Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies at U.C. Berkeley and author of Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect (Duke UP, 2012).
The conference also features:
Laura Micciche, University of Cincinnati, author of Doing Emotion: Rhetoric, Writing, Teaching (Boynton/Cook 2007),
plenary speaker Ben Woodard, Ph.D. candidate, University of Western Ontario,
and a workshop led by Zach Blas, Ph.D. candidate, Duke University.
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“If we ask…what lies beyond the strict material positionality of an object, what the object may have been affectively invested with – in a sense, this is to acknowledge that vegetality may be defined as more than simply not being able to think, but a failure of lifeliness, of ability to act upon others – we find something like animacy. The question then becomes: Who are the proper mediums of affect? Are they humans? Humans and animals? Vegetables? Or inanimate entities, such as the incorporeal blend or a ‘dead’ but warming and comforting piece of furniture?”
Mel Y. Chen - Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect, (Duke University Press 2012)
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MIGC 14 CFP: “ANIMACY” featuring keynote Mel Y. Chen (Berkeley)
February 20 - 22, 2014 at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Keynote Speaker: Mel Y Chen, UC Berkeley, author of Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial
Mattering, and Queer Affect, (Duke University Press 2012).
Laura Micciche, University of Cincinnati, author of Doing Emotion: Rhetoric, Writing, Teaching (Boynton/Cook 2007).
Plenary speaker Ben Woodard, Ph.D. candidate, University of Western Ontario
Workshop led by Zach Blas, Ph.D. candidate, Duke University
The Midwest Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference (MIGC) 2014 invites submissions across disciplines and fields that engage with the idea of “ANIMACY” in culture and theory. Derived from linguistics, “animacy” is the condition of being alive or animate, and serves in grammar as a way to classify or rank words on this basis (OED). Yet the rich and overlapping senses of “animacy”, e.g. animate, animation, animus, and animal, reveal the term to more broadly encompass notions of agency, expressivity, sentience, cognizance, and mobility. These notions are often categorized hierarchically, and are saturated with social, cultural, and political implications. Animacy is being increasingly invoked in contemporary discourses of posthumanist and nonhumanist theory, critical ethnic studies, affect theory, object-oriented ontology, queer theory, disability studies, animal studies, eco-criticism, etc. Animacy is a way of troubling the binary of animate vs. inanimate, and instead suggests a more complex system of inter-relatedness between things.
Theorist Mel Y. Chen observes that this “fragile division between animate and inanimate…beyond human and animal — is relentlessly produced and policed,” and this conference seeks to expose the complex political, social, even personal consequences of this division. How do issues of race, ability, sex, class, or age further test the boundaries of the human? What happens when the categorizations of human, animal, and object are no longer cleanly distinct from one another? As Chen’s book asks, how does matter that is considered immobile, insensate, or deathly, animate our cultural lives?
This conference welcomes and encourages research across disciplines to collectively consider, question, and critique “animacy” in theory, art, literature, music, architecture, philosophy, ecology, medicine, anthropology, art history, sociology, media, psychology, mathematics, history, biology and other sciences, etc. This conference will also present an evening of creative performances, readings, and installations. Please see the call for creative work.
Topics include, but are not limited to
- Theories of animality and animal studies
- Theories of hybridity
- Affect studies
- Pedagogical issues of animacy, affect, or emotion
- Animacy and disability studies
- Animacy and age
- Illness and animacy
- “Bare life”
- “Vibrant matter” and eco-criticism (Bennett)
- New Materialisms, including feminist new materialisms
- Media studies and vitality
- Agential realism
- Humanness as a construct
- Gaming and animacy
- Comic Studies
- Cybernetics or “bodies in code”
- Biological animacies
- Film and animation studies
- Digital animacies
- Animacy, ethnic studies, and race
- Queer animacies
- Animacy and philosophy
- Animacy and linguistics
Please email 300-word submissions for individual papers, panels, roundtables, or other formats to: firstname.lastname@example.org by November 20, 2013. In your submission, please include a title, institutional affiliation, department, and whether you are a MA or PhD student.
The ninth annual Midwest Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference is supported by the Center for 21st Century Studies, the College of Letters and Sciences, and the department of English, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
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“How does matter that is considered immobile, insensate, or deathly, animate our cultural lives[?]”
— Mel Y. Chen, Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect
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