Thursday, April 1, 2010

Call for Papers: "Empire: A Retrospective" at Cultural Studies at Pitt

Call for Papers

"Empire: A Retrospective"

The Second Biannual Faculty and Graduate Students Colloquium

Organized by The Graduate Program for Cultural Studies at the University of
November 18-21 2010

This conference will address the 10th anniversary of the publication of
Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri's seminal book Empire, the first volume of a
trilogy that saw its completion in October 2009 with the publication of the
third volume, Commonwealth. The second volume, Multitudes, came out in

However, we are not italicizing the word "Empire" in the conference title
because we want to address the questions raised by the books much more than
glossing the texts themselves. The response in the academic world to the
trilogy has been extremely fertile, causing, among other things, a
rediscovery of Italian political thought, a questioning of historical and
cultural categories related to postmodernity, and the reframing of the
political stakes implicit in theoretical interventions. The dialogue that
other critics have opened with Negri and Hardt - sometimes sympathetic,
sometimes skeptical or outright polemical - will also be a fundamental part
of the conference. Figures such as Jameson and Zizek are only the tip of
the iceberg. Furthermore, current historical developments in the
international arena, also directly addressed in the trilogy, have pushed us
in the last decade us to reflect once more on the political and cultural
form "empire", and we feel there is no better moment for this discussion to
take place.

We are looking for graduate student papers that will address the following

How have the categories developed by Hardt and Negri inflected the critical
approach to specific fields of study, such as cultural analysis, political
theory or anthropological reflection?
What traditions of thought are mobilized anew in Hardt and Negri's
discourse? How does this new reading of past texts generate new insights in
current debates?
What are the blind spots in the trilogy, in terms both of theory and of
political commentary? How can one deconstruct Hardt and Negri's discourse,
and what is the advantage of engaging in this kind of critical dialogue with
Are the international exempla of political engagement and struggle mentioned
in Hardt and Negri's trilogy considered in a historically and theoretically
useful manner? How can specialists of each regional history benefit from
the book's intervention?

We need to receive 500- words abstracts by April 20, 2010. All submissions
should be attached via e-mail to the following address,
with names and university affiliations. The papers will be rendered
anonymous for the review process.

We will give our responses by May 10. Those graduate student participants
chosen from outside the University of Pittsburgh will receive a $300
scholarship from the Graduate Program for Cultural Studies at the University
of Pittsburgh in order to help defray traveling costs.

Both Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri have agreed to give the final keynote

The format of the conference will include 4 panels, each anchored by an
external, invited scholar able to address authoritatively the issues at
We are looking forward to receive graduate student submissions at your
earliest convenience.

The whole CFP can be found on our website here:

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Draper student speaking at Materials of Persuasion Symposium, 4/23

Draper student Everett Kramer will be speaking at the Materials of Persuasion Symposium this April, at the Bard Graduate Center uptown. Information, including RSVP info, is below. Congratulations, Everett!


The Bard Graduate Center for Studies
in the Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture
18 West 86th Street
New York, New York 10024

Materials of Persuasion, Graduate Student Symposium
Bard Graduate Center
38 West 86th Street, New York, NY 10024
April 23, 2010

Critics passing judgment, clergy seeking converts, advertisers selling products, and politicians running for office are all in the persuasion business. Persuasion is the key to the art of rhetoric, but there has always been a material dimension to persuasion as well.

Objects are vehicles of persuasion. We are persuaded to purchase and consume objects, and we use them to persuade others, to mediate the identities we put forth, and our interactions with each other. The roles of persuasive objects change over time as they pass from hand to hand. The mutable relationships between material objects, people, and desire are powerful, tantalizing subjects of study. So how does persuasion factor into these fluid equations? Makers, buyers, and users all have unique perspectives on the art of persuasion, as well as unspoken intentions that are constantly at work beneath the surface. Some of these intentions may be deceptive – persuasion can have a dark side. Finally, persuasion rests upon various types of evidence – what must we see in order to believe?

Graduate students from diverse fields will be discussing the above questions through a variety of lenses at the Bard Graduate Center located at 38 West 86^th Street (between Columbus Avenue and Central Park West) on Friday April 23. Breakfast and coffee will be served beginning at 9:00am, the talks will commence at 9:30am. Below is a list of the speakers. We invite scholars from all fields to attend the lecture. Please RSVP to, seats are limited.


Grace Ong-Yan (University of Pennsylvania, Graduate Program in Architecture)“From wrapping leftovers to modern architecture: Persuasion Strategies of Aluminum”
Dean Lampros (Boston University, American and New England Studies Program) “Mansions as Marketing: The Fashioning of Self Image and the Sale of Luxury Goods by the American Funeral Industry, 1920-1980”
Maria Shevzov (Winterthur Program in American Material Culture) “Marketing Homespun as Modern: Rabun Studios, 1936-1958”
Alexandra Oliver (University of Pittsburgh, History of Art and Architecture) “Capturing Socialist Style: fashion photography in East Germany”
Karin Jones (University of Missouri, Art History) “The Exotic and The Emphatic: Decorative Arts and the Colonial Section of the Exposition Internationale de Bruxelles, 1897”
Nicholas Genau (University of Virginia, History of Art and Architecture) “A Persuasion of Victory: Calixtus II and Spolia at Santa Maria in Cosmedin”
Everett Kramer (New York University, Draper Interdisciplinary Masters in Humanities and Social Thought) “An Arsenal of Teapots”

Keynote Speaker: Tim Burke, Professor of History, Swarthmore College