Monday, February 22, 2010

Call for Papers: English Graduate Student Conference at Albany

Call For Papers: “Turning on Rights: Politics, Performance and the Text”
April 16-17, 2010 University at Albany, SUNY

Keynote Speaker: Joseph Slaughter, Associate Professor of English and
Comparative Literature at Columbia University

“We must more than ever stand on the side of human rights. *We need human
rights. *We are in need of them and they are in need, for there is always a
lack, a shortfall, a falling short, an insufficiency; human rights are never
sufficient” (Jacques Derrida, *Philosophy in a Time of Terror*).

If human rights are insufficient yet necessary, we must then ask what to do
with “rights.” This conference will explore historical and theoretical
definitions, constructions, and performative notions of rights. How do texts
challenge predominant conceptual narratives of rights? In what ways does
literature explore notions of rights outside of the juridical realm? Can we
have a discourse on rights that exceeds the anthropomorphic field?

In wide ranging disciplines, rights of the subject and to the objective
world are both historically grounded and contemporarily debated. If
discourses of all varieties are also textual sites, then the places where
rights are manifested (technology, culture, art and literature, science,
law, and ontology) must be read and ultimately performed.

As the focus of our 8th annual Graduate Student Conference, the English
Graduate Student Organization at the University at Albany seeks both
critical and creative projects that further this discussion. Our keynote
speaker will be Joseph Slaughter, Associate Professor of English and
Comparative Literature at Columbia University and author of *Human Rights,
Inc.: The World Novel, Narrative Form, and International Law*. The Friday
evening event will commence with a creative performance featuring Rachel
Zolf, author of The Neighbour Procedure (2010) and winner of the 2008
Trillium Book Award for Poetry for Human Resources (2007). We encourage
submissions from graduate students working in any field, historical period,
or scholarly discipline. We also solicit creative submissions for the
Friday evening performance. Critical abstracts should be limited to 250-300
words; creative abstracts should include a 300 word or less description and
a 3 page sample. Submit abstracts to: by March 12,
2010. Please label the subject of the email “Turning On Rights.” Possible
areas of inquiry may include, but are not limited to:

· Animal and Other Alterities

· Violence, Trauma, and Testimony

· Sovereignty, Exemplarity, and Exception

· Environmental, Agricultural, and Terrestrial Rights

· Witnessing vs. Performing Rights

· Authorship, Readership, Agency

· Global vs. National Rights

· Unwritten, Inalienable Rights

· Definitions of Freedom

· Sexual and Reproductive Rights

· Corporate and Commercial Rights

· Information, Technology, and Copyright

· Rights and the Demarcations of the Body

· Rights in the Realm of the Post-Human and Virtual

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