Saturday, January 19, 2008

CFP: "Identities under Construction," University of Liège, October 16–18, 2008.

Identities, collective and otherwise, have been a source of ardent debates all through the last decades of the defunct century. This state of affairs must be seen against the backdrop of a consistent critique of humanism and its universalist vision of ‘man’. The poststructuralist discourse, which articulated this critique, succeeded in obtaining an extremely influential, sometimes even hegemonic position in various disciplines of the humanities at the time. In retrospect, the end of the 20th century now appears as the hour of affirmation of any number of particularisms, differences and ‘positive’ (sexual, ethnic, cultural, postcolonial, . . .) identities. This era then provided a context for an important paradigmatic shift, which also found expression in the creation of the ‘anti-discipline’ of cultural studies. Although the poststructuralist critique of humanism has by now lost a good deal of its urgency and potency, it has left indelible traces in the reflection on who and what ‘we’ are as human beings, and it is far from having exhausted its potential for intellectual stimulation. Its heritage confronts us with a wide range of fascinating questions, which include: How is the concept of identity to be defined? How do identities come into being? What – which discourse(s) – does an individual or group identify with, and on what grounds does he or she do so? Is the subject colonized by the discourses identified with or is he/she capable of maintaining a degree of independence from them? Can one resist the pressures of hegemonic discourses? Has all reference to a universalist vision of man become suspect and/or lost its relevance? What are the political (democratic) conclusions to be drawn from this reflection? This call is issued by a group of researchers working at the University of Liège (Belgium) in various disciplines linked to the humanities – semiotics, literary theory, linguistics, communication studies, sociology, anthropology – and is meant for every intellectual susceptible of feeling interpellated by the subject as outlined above. Since the primary aim of the Identities under Construction Conference is to encourage an interdisciplinary theoretical reflection on the concepts of identity and identification, the scientific committee will privilege contributions focusing on theoretical aspects of the question. Case studies will be taken into consideration as long as they are used to illustrate or buttress a theoretical statement. Authors are invited to submit, by 1 February 2008, a 2500-character abstract including a title and (if necessary) a bibliography. The abstracts will be reviewed by the Scientific Committee. Notifications of acceptance will be delivered to authors by 1 April 2008. Further details are available here:

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