Call for Papers

DISAPPEARANCE: Spatial and Temporal Horizons

a two-day interdisciplinary conference

November 7th & 8th, 2013

The Department of Comparative Literature

The Graduate Center, CUNY

New York, New York

The Graduate Students in The Department of Comparative Literature at The Graduate Center, CUNY invite you to a conference investigating the question of disappearance through various disciplines. Disappearance is first used as a noun in English in a 1712 edition of the Spectator. Founder Joseph Addison writes that if we “look into the Bulk of our Species, they are such as are not likely to be remembered a Moment after their Disappearance. They leave behind them no Traces of their Existence, but are forgotten as tho’ they had never been” (No. 317).

If disappearance is broadly considered as a transition from being there to no longer being there, then what is it that happens in the instance of vanishing? What disappears? What causes disappearance? How does disappearance function? How are questions of memory, existence and trace exacerbated when the term is directly applied in a political context, as it has commonly been used since the 1950s. In what ways do academic disciplines perpetuate and protect against disappearances? If the moment of disappearance is a horizon, how can we mobilize our understanding of space and time to open new perspectives within the question of disappearance?

We welcome examples and explorations from a variety of disciplines and intersections including: literature, languages, film, philosophy, political science, linguistics, psychology, education, human rights, theory, cultural studies, American studies, women’s studies, queer studies, journalism, medieval studies, art, art history, digital media studies, theater, music, sociology, history, science, Judaic studies, Latin American studies, fine arts and cognitive science. Possible conference papers might take up the inquiries below, but additional investigations are welcome. We invite papers exploring and theorizing:

● what disappears in a disappearance

● what marks the moment of disappearance

● what gets revealed in a disappearance

● what’s left behind in a disappearance

● where the disappeared goes

● who/what names something as a disappearance

● how literature deals with disappearance

● power and disappearance

● ghosts and disappearance

● death and disappearance

● disappearance and erasure

● distortion and disappearance

● disappearance and deception

● disappearance and identity

● disappearance and the body

● transformation and disappearance

● disappearance and/in Magical Realism, Romanticism, post-modernity, etc

● disappearance and translation

● disappearance and history, oral traditions and artifacts

● disappearance and religion

● the space of disappearance

● the temporal capacity of disappearance

● the mobility of disappearance

● disappearance in the contemporary world

● disappearance and globalization

● privacy, security and disappearance

We welcome submissions of individual papers and proposals for panels of 3-4 papers in English. Please submit a 250-300 word abstract for a 15-20 minute paper by September 15th, 2013 to disappearanceconference2013@gmail.com. Proposals should include the title of the paper, presenter’s name, institutional and departmental affiliation, and any technology requests.

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