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Bette Davis

PhD/MA IN ENGLISH AND FILM STUDIES – UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA

PhD/MA in English and Film Studies

University of Alberta

Application deadline: January 7, 2013

The Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta invites applications for its MA and PhD graduate programs. We are a large and diverse department, with internationally-recognized strengths in many fields, including Canadian Literature, Cultural Studies, 17th, 18th, and 19th century English literature, American Studies, and modernism. We encourage innovative, interdisciplinary research, and we have a vibrant intellectual climate. Please check our department website (http://www.efs.ualberta.ca/) and the graduate section (http://www.efs.ualberta.ca/en/GraduateProgram.aspx) for a sense of the exciting work going on among our faculty, graduate students, and visitors.

We host a large number of visiting speakers each year, who help make this an exciting place to study. Recent visitors have included Patricia Yaeger, Zacharias Kunuk, Judith Halberstam, Rosemary Hennessy, Lauren Berlant, Claire Colebrook, Ann Cvetkovich, Timothy Brennan, Pheng Cheah, Srinivas Aravamudan, Alberto Toscano, Nobel laureate Derek Walcott, and many, many more. Each year we invite established and emerging scholars to present in our “New Directions in Culture, Politics and Theory” (http://www.crcculturalstudies.ca/event) series. The Canadian Literature Center (http://www.arts.ualberta.ca/clc/) “brings together researchers, authors, publishers, collectors and the reading public to promote the strength and diversity of Canada’s written culture,” and the WRITE program holds dozens of readings each year as well as hosting the oldest Writer in Residence program (http://www.efs.ualberta.ca/Writer-in-Residence.aspx) in Canada. We are thrilled to have Marina Endicott as Writer in Residence this year.  Students in the graduate program also have the opportunity to participate in Banff Research in Culture (BRiC: http://www.banffcentre.ca/programs/program.aspx?id=1210), a residency program designed for junior scholars engaged in advanced theoretical research on themes and topics in culture. Past BRiC faculty include Lauren Berlant, Bruno Bosteels, Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi, Catherine Malabou, Michael Hardt, and Pierre Huyghe.

There are great advantages to studying at the U of A. We offer all incoming PhD students a four year package of funding, with minimum annual guarantees of $28,000 for PhD students and $18,000 for MA students. We also have very high success rates for SSHRC and other major scholarship competitions: currently about half of our PhD students hold a major external award, including two Trudeau scholars and a Vanier scholar. We support student travel for research and conferences, and we have innovative program structures that allow students to pursue exciting and original research.  We have an active and very supportive Graduate Students of English Collective and a department culture that values graduate student participation. Our department is consistently ranked as one of the top graduate programs in English in Canada. Our most recent unit review coined our new slogan: “this is where you come if you want to do innovative work.”

Edmonton is a dynamic and growing city of more than 1 million people with a rich cultural community. With over 30 different festivals throughout the year—including its acclaimed Folk Fest and Fringe Festival—it has certainly earned its name of “Festival City.” Residents of and visitors to Edmonton can explore the beautiful river valley, where the green and gold of the fall trees inspired the University of Alberta’s own colours. Edmonton is home to over 20 theatre companies, and the new, visually inspiring Art Gallery of Alberta (http://www.youraga.ca/).  
 
The neighbourhood closest to the U of A is Old Strathcona, a bustling area with a thriving Farmer’s Market on Saturdays and a lively bar scene at night. A plethora of parks appeal to the outdoor-lovers of any group and in the beautiful prairie summer months, they are the perfect place to sit down, relax and enjoy the long evenings. The Alberta Legislature, the capital of the province, impresses with its manicured gardens and wading pool for cooling off in the summertime. The Rocky Mountain towns of Jasper and Banff are short drives away and excellent places to visit throughout the year.

The application deadline for this year is January 7th, 2013. You can find application information and our “tips” for applying on the website here: http://www.efs.ualberta.ca/GraduateProgram/ApplicationInfo.aspx. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about graduate study in English and Film Studies at the U of A.

Corrinne Harol, Associate Chair, Graduate Studies.
charol@ualberta.ca
780-492-4639

 

**END**

 

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Aesthetics

CONTEMPORARY LITERARY AND CULTURAL THEORY

The Johns Hopkins Guide

Edited by Michael Groden, Martin Kreiswirth, and Imre Szeman

 

Contemporary Literary and Cultural Theory: The Johns Hopkins Guide is a clear, accessible, and detailed overview of the most important thinkers and topics in the field. Written by specialists from across disciplines, its entries cover contemporary theory from Adorno to Žižek, providing an informative and reliable introduction to a vast, challenging area of inquiry. Materials include newly commissioned articles along with essays drawn from The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism, known as the definitive resource for students and scholars of literary theory and for philosophical reflection on literature and culture.

“This comprehensive and easily understood reference book will serve as an indispensable guide for helping students or scholars assess and discuss an overwhelming body of material, especially such ‘buzz’ topics as multiculturalism.”—Bloomsbury Review, reviewing The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism

Michael Groden is a distinguished university professor of English at the University of Western Ontario. Martin Kreiswirth is a professor of English and associate provost, dean of graduate and postdoctoral studies at McGill University. Imre Szeman is a professor of English and film studies and Canada Research Chair of Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta.

To Order Call: 1-800-537-5487

Or Visit: www.press.jhu.edu

(Book can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/9quzr6y)

— 

Imre Szeman

Canada Research Chair in Cultural Studies

Professor of English and Film Studies

University of Alberta

www.crcculturalstudies.ca

 

**END**

 

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System of a Down

FUELING CULTURE: ENERGY, HISTORY, POLITICS

CALL FOR PAPERS

Resource depletion and anxiety are not new, nor is the paralyzing knowledge that a particular form of energy is harmful or unsustainable.  How has our relation to energy changed over time? What differences do specific energy sources make to human values and politics ? How have changing energy resources transformed culture?

This collection of scholarly essays, brief reflections, and info blurbs will focus on intersections between energy, history, and a range of cultural formations, including literature, film, art, digital media, and popular culture. We will include essays that touch on a wide range of energy resources (dung, wood/charcoal, coal, tallow, plant oils, whale oil, kerosene, petroleum, natural gas, nuclear, biofuels, solar, wind, wave, steam, and human energy). We also plan to include essays on energy resources like electricity (which circulates as a secondary form of energy generated by wood, coal, etc). We are also curious about dams as projects of decolonization and modernization.

We hope for broad geographic scope in this collection, with attention to place-specific concerns and the spatial relations entailed in different forms of energy use, including what Fernando Coronil has called the “international division of nature.” If the shift from wood to coal allowed for massive increases in energy consumption with less land/woodlots devoted to energy production, as Timothy Mitchell argues, what other shifts in scale are important for thinking about the history of energy formations? As Laurie Shannon argues in a PMLA essay on tallow, the shift from energy produced within the household to modes of energy sourced elsewhere suggests that questions of scale are central for thinking about energy. Ken Hiltner’s argument that pollution increases with the changing spatial concentration of urbanLondonsuggests the urgency of contemplating energy in relation to scale in earlier periods. Is it possible that all forms of energy are “dirty” when scaled up to meet demand?

The question of periodization is crucial to this project. How do we periodize cultural production around material resources that have been unread or elided by critics? How do questions of energy become legible in moments of crisis? What is the role of energy scarcity and profligacy? The role of an “energy unconscious” delieates one mode of analysis, as does the simultaneity of different modes of energy resources. Thus periodization is not a simple matter. Consider Dipesh Chakrabarty’s attention to the coincidence of the age of Enlightenment and the Anthropocene, Mitchell’s comparison of wood, coal, oil and the forms of social and political organization they entail, and Michael Pollan’s account of the shift from the sun and fossil fuels in the industrialization of food.

In addition to periodization, we’re interested in essays that explore methodology: protocols of reading that are attuned to questions of energy (or its absence) within a given text. How do we read for energy in relation to the sociology and materiality of literary production and distribution? How do we identify cultural forms that are particularly attuned to these questions? How does energy put pressure on literary and cultural forms? Does genre look different when we think about energy?

We hope to gather writing that is multiply interdisciplinary, drawing on insights from political economy, political ecology, environmental history, eco-criticism, postcolonial and globalization studies, materialisms old and new, including thing theory and actor network theory.

 

March 15, 2012 for abstracts

December 1, 2012 for essays

Length:  6000 words

 

(As indicated above, in addition to research essays we are interested in including shorter pieces related to any of the issues explored in this collection).

Send Copies to:

Imre Szeman: imre@ualberta.ca

Jennifer Wenzel: jawenzel@umich.edu

Patsy Yaeger: pyaeger@umich.edu

 

**END**

 

‘I believe in the afterlife.

It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Human Herbs’ at: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic (recording) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2h7tUq0HjIk (live)

 

‘Maximum levels of boredom

Disguised as maximum fun’

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon, ‘Stagnant’ at: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic (recording) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLjxeHvvhJQ (live, at the Belle View pub, Bangor, north Wales)  

 

‘Cheerful Sin’ – a new song by Victor Rikowski: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIbX5aKUjO8

 

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Culture

PETROCULTURES

Call for Papers, Panels and/or Workshop Proposals

Petrocultures: Oil, Energy, Culture

University of Alberta: September 6, 7th and 8th, 2012

 

The “Petrocultures: Oil, Energy, Culture” conference will take place on September 6, 7th and 8th, 2012, at the University of Alberta (Edmonton, Canada).  Keynote speakers include Allan Stoekl (Penn State University), Warren Cariou (University of Manitoba) and Ursula Biemann (video artist, Switzerland). 

Petrocultures will bring together scholars, writers, filmmakers and artists from around the world who are engaged in an exploration of the social and cultural dimensions and impacts of oil and energy.  The conference will examine and (re)assess how energy has been and remains an intrinsic part of socio-political life and cultural productivity, with a focus on two areas of research:

1)  How does our understanding of socio-cultural objects, events and phenomena change if we frame an analysis of them explicitly in relation to oil (and energy more generally)? What insights would we gain across the disciplines from such a theoretical/methodological maneuver? For instance, what might happen if we frame cultural and intellectual periods (as we do in the study of literature) not in terms of movements (e.g., modernism), nations (British modernism), or centuries (18th, 19th, 20th…), but in relation to dominant forms of energy at any given moment?

2)  How do energy resources that fuel the exploitation of the environment impact not only everyday life but also the form and content of its representation? What is the potential of these cultural representations produced through multiple technologies of publication and artistic/communicative production (e.g., art, film, literature), to rupture and/or change the ways in which we live with and relate to oil? 

 

We invite papers, panels and workshop proposals that take up the above questions as well as contributions that address any of the wide range of topics related to petrocultures:

 

● labour in petrocultures (influx of temporary foreign workers, transient labour forces, the rights or lack thereof of labour, etc.)

● the composition of communities in historical and contemporary oil economies

● education in energy societies

● health (sex, drugs, addiction)

● the intersection of cultural and environmental issues (resource management, water and oil, etc.)

● Aboriginal cultures and societies (land and mineral rights, community safety, race in petrocultures, etc.)

● gender issues and women’s rights in male dominated labour markets

● politics and social-political life in petro-states

● and the impacts of all of these issues on forms of cultural production (art, literature, film, etc.) that attempt to represent and address the socio-cultural realities of living alongside oil technologies.  

 

Papers will be accepted based on the merit of the proposed study, originality of approach, and fit with the aims and theme of the conference.  Graduate students are especially encouraged to apply. Please indicate when you submit your abstract whether you are interested in also participating (at your own cost) in a three day excursion on (September 9th- 11th) to Northern Alberta to tour the oil/tar sands. A selection of papers and presentations from the 2012 conference will be published in an edited collection on Petrocultures by McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Deadline for submission: October 15, 2011.  Decisions will be announced by December 1st, 2011.  

Please send all proposals to: petrocultures@gmail.com (c/o Imre Szeman and Sheena Wilson)

 

Types of submissions:

· 15-20 minute individual presentation: conference paper.

· 45-60 minute panel/roundtable (3-4 presenters).

· 90-minute workshop (hands-on learning, interactive): Interactive sessions that encourage participant involvement. 

 

These workshops can be focused on generating discussion and recording ideas on specific subjects and themes.  These workshops can also encourage creative responses to oil and energy (e.g., through a writing workshop, a visual arts workshop etc.)

Propose an individual paper: Please send a 250 word abstract and a 100 word biography, as well as your contact information

Propose a panel: Please send a 250 word abstract for the panel, with a descriptive title for each presentation, and a 50 word bio and contact information for all members of the panel. When submitting the proposal, please copy it to all panel-participants to facilitate future correspondences. 

Propose a workshop: The Petrocultures conference will be the ideal venue for exploring theoretical and practical approaches to oil and energy in culture.  If you would like to lead a workshop session either independently or with other presenters, please submit a 250 word abstract for the workshop, with a 100 word bio for all workshop leaders.

Petrocultures is supported through funding from the Kule Institute for Advanced Study (UniversityofAlberta), Campus Saint Jean (UniversityofAlberta) and the Canada Research Chair in Cultural Studies.

 

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Globalization

AFTER GLOBALIZATION

After Globalization
Eric Cazdyn and Imre Szeman

ISBN: 978-1-4051-7794-8 – Hardcover – 264 pages
May 2011, Wiley-Blackwell
http://ca.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1405177942.html

In lively and unflinching prose, Eric Cazdyn and Imre Szeman argue that contemporary thought about the world is disabled by a fatal flaw: the inability to think “an after” to globalization. After establishing seven theses (on education, morality, history, future, capitalism, nation, and common sense) that challenge the false promises that sustain this time-limit, After Globalization examines four popular thinkers (Thomas Friedman, Richard Florida, Paul Krugman and Naomi Klein) and how their work is dulled by these promises. Cazdyn and Szeman then speak to students from around the globe who are both unconvinced and uninterested in these promises and who understand the world very differently than the way it is popularly represented.

After Globalization argues that a true capacity to think an after to globalization is the very beginning of politics today.

“Relentlessly, remorselessly, endlessly, we are told there is no alternative to globalization, whether our lecturers are bourgeois economists, progressive journalists, or imaginative litterateurs. Eric Cazdyn and Imre Szeman dare to go beyond the standard thinking of the day and query the very heart of mobile capital and its impact on daily life. Their alternative vision breathes new life into our sense of evolution and inevitability.” –—Toby Miller, author of Globalization and Sport and Global Hollywood

“Cazdyn and Szeman begin the with the idea that the current economic crisis has historicized globalization, turning it from a process that looked as inevitable as, say, global warming still does, into an episode in the history of capitalism: hence the possibility not just of more globalization but of an ‘after globalization.’ And hence also, they argue, the renewed possibility of an ‘after capitalism.’ In powerful critiques of what they describe as the common sense of capital today they sketch out the terms in which changes more radical than substituting generous and honest leaders for the greedy and dishonest ones we’ve currently got might begin to be imagined.” –—Walter Benn Michaels, University of Illinois at Chicago

Eric Cazdyn is Professor of Cultural and Critical Theory, Psychoanalysis, and Asian Studies at the University of Toronto. He is author of The Flash of Capital: Film and Geopolitics in Japan (2003) and the forthcoming book, The Already Dead: The New Time of Politics, Culture, and Medicine.

Imre Szeman is Canada Research Chair in Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta. He is co-editor of Cultural Theory: An Anthology (Wiley-Blackwell 2010), author of Zones of Instability: Literature, Postcolonialism and the Nation (2003) and co-author of Popular Culture: A User’s Guide (2nd. ed. 2009).

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Culture

BANFF RESEARCH IN CULTURE: MAY 8th – 28th, 2011

Application Information Now On-line

BANFF RESEARCH in CULTURE (BRiC) / Research Residency Program
Banff Centre for the Arts / University of Alberta

THEME: On the Commons; or, Believing-Feeling-Acting Together

Guest Faculty: Lauren Berlant, Michael Hardt, Pedro Reyes
Organizers: Imre Szeman, Heather Zwicker, Kitty Scott

Program dates: May 9, 2011 – May 27, 2011
Application deadline: December 1, 2010

APPLICATION AND PROGRAM INFORMATION NOW AVAILABLE AT:

http://www.banffcentre.ca/programs/program.aspx?id=1068

Email Contact: bric@ualberta.ca

The commons has emerged as one of the key concepts around which social, political, and cultural demands are being articulated and theorized today. Harkening back to the displacement of people from shared communal spaces and their transformation from public into private property – a central act in the development of European capitalism in the 18th and 19th centuries – the commons insists on the fundamentally shared character of social life: that everything from language to education, from nature to our genetic inheritance, belongs irreducibly to all of us. As an increasingly rapacious capitalism draws ever more elements of social life into its profit logic and renders seemingly every activity and value into a commodity, thinking with and through the commons has become an important means of generating conceptual and political resistance to the multiple new forms of enclosure that continue to take place today, and which need to be confronted and challenged forcefully and directly.

The commons is a concept used in analyses and interventions in popular culture, art, new media, political philosophy, social theory, law, literary studies, and more. The ease with which neoliberal ideology – which celebrates the supposed rationality of privatization and has managed to transform taxation into an act feared above all else – has become embedded in the beliefs and lived structures of everyday life demands an intensive examination of how and why we have come to prefer enclosure to the commons in almost every area of social life. Just as importantly, it also requires us to investigate and invent new ways of being-in-common–ways of believing, feeling and acting together, of creating the commons that seem everywhere to be receding from view.

The aim of this year’s Banff Research in Culture workshop is to give scholars, cultural producers, and artists an opportunity to explore how we believe, feel, and act together, and the ways in which we are prevented from doing so. How might we shape new collectivities and communities? What are the capacities and dispositions essential to producing new ways of being? What lessons can we learn from history as well as contemporary struggles over the commons (from challenges to intellectual property to indigenous struggles)? What concepts and vocabularies might we develop to aid our critical and conceptual work with respect to the commons (e.g. Alain Badiou’s revival of communism or Jacque Rancière’s reconfiguration of equality and democracy)? How does artistic and cultural production participate in the production of new collectivities and defense of the commons? Where do we go from here – a moment in which neoliberalism seems to have stumbled and lost its forward momentum? We welcome projects dealing with the full range of issues and topics related to being-believing-feeling-acting together today.

On the Commons will run concurrently with the thematic residency La Commune. The Asylum. Die Bühne led by artist Althea Thauberger, providing opportunities for interaction and collaboration with artists in residence.

PROGRAM DETAILS
Developed by Imre Szeman, Canada Research Chair in Cultural Studies and Professor of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta, Heather Zwicker, Associate Dean (Graduate Studies) in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta, and Kitty Scott, Director of Visual Arts at the Banff Centre, On the Commons is part of Banff Research in Culture (BRiC), a new residency program designed for scholars engaged in advanced theoretical research on themes and topics in culture. Graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, junior faculty, and practicing artists from across Canada and beyond will convene at The Banff Centre to pursue their work – and, ideally, to incubate new collaborations and creations – for three weeks. During the residency, participants will attend lectures, seminars, and workshops offered by distinguished visiting faculty from around the world, each of whom will stay at Banff for a week or more and will be available to discuss projects and ideas. Participants will also be encouraged to present their work to colleagues through readings, talks, and presentations held over the course of the program.

As a residency program, BRiC is designed to allow participants to devote an extended period of time on their own research in the company of others with similar interests. In addition to giving researchers and creators from different disciplinary and professional backgrounds an opportunity to exchange opinions and ideas, it is hoped that participants will develop new artistic, editorial, authorial, and collective projects during their time at Banff, both individually and in connection with others. We are especially pleased by the opportunity that BRiC affords visual artists and researchers to work together on issues of common interest.

APPLICATION AND PROGRAM INFORMATION NOW AVAILABLE AT: http://www.banffcentre.ca/programs/program.aspx?id=1068

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Mediation

MARXISM AND LITERATURE

The editorial collective of Mediations, the journal of the Marxist Literary Group, is pleased to announce issue 24.2, a special issue that revisits the relationship between Marxism and literature. Mediations is published twice yearly. The Fall issues are dossiers of non-U.S. material of interest; the Spring issues are open submission and peer reviewed.

Mediations has circulated in various forms and formats since the early 1970s, and is now available free on the web. Both a web edition and a print edition, downloadable in pdf form, can be accessed at: http://mediationsjournal.org. Featured authors in the current issue include Gáspár Miklós Tamás, Imre Szeman, Neil Larsen, Mathias Nilges, Nicholas Brown, Aisha Karim, Leerom Medovoi, and Sarah Brouillette.

———————————
Volume 24, No. 2 || Marxism and Literature Revisited

Mathias Nilges and Emilio Sauri, guest editors

CONTENTS

Editors’ Note

The Left and Marxism in Eastern Europe: An Interview with Gáspár Miklós Tamás – Imre Szeman interviews the political philosopher, journalist, and writer, Gáspár Miklós Tamás. Describing his own political move to the Left in relation to local post-Soviet politics in Hungary and global structures of contemporary capitalism, Tamás discusses the dangers of attaching hopes for greater rights and liberties to both free market structures and nostalgic forms of leftism. What answers can Marxism offer in response to the sociopolitical and philosophical pressures of the current conjuncture in which the free market agenda has become structurally and politically untenable? How must we re-think Marxism itself in a context in which solutions to the political impasses of the present can no longer be found in a return to Party politics of the past? How might Marxist political philosophy deal with pressing contradictions such as rising forms of ultranationalism? Addressing these and other questions, Tamás demonstrates how recent political developments in Hungary, and throughout Eastern Europe more generally, provide lessons for the Left throughout the globe.

Marxist Literary Criticism, Then and Now – Is there such a thing as a Marxist literary criticism? Imre Szeman argues that, despite the fact that Marxism has long privileged literature as an object of analysis and critique, there is no unitary methodology or set of considerations that distinguish a “Marxist” approach to literature from others. Here, Szeman provides a historicization and structural analysis of what he identifies as the three primary modes of Marxist literary criticism. At the same time, this essay also points to a fourth, as yet unnamed, possibility for Marxist literary critique that seeks to sublate the assumed “impasse” created by the limiting choice between “ideological” and “anti-ideological” culture, an impasse that, according to Szeman, bears witness to a profound historical shift.

Literature, Immanent Critique, and the Problem of Standpoint – What might a method for critical theory that advances beyond the tenets of “ideology-critique” look like? For Neil Larsen, the answer lies in Marxism’s own recourse to immanent critique. Yet, with the notable exceptions of Adorno and Lukács, immanent critique has bothered little with the problem of standpoint in relation to cultural, and, in particular, literary objects. Larsen, then, attempts to specify an immanent critical standpoint of literature that allows for the articulation of a dialectical critique that dispenses with what he identifies as the “fallacy of application.” Demonstrating how any literary theory – Marxist and otherwise – is, of necessity, immanent to the text, this essay turns to the question of method as a means of grasping the relationship between the literary text as “subject/object” and the social totality.

Marxism and Form Now – Contemporary literary criticism is everywhere marked by what appears to a revival of foundational questions: what is literature now? How do we argue now? What is form now? Rather than signal a new direction for literary criticism, this now-ness, Mathias Nilges maintains, points to a discipline in the midst of a crisis of futurity. Extending the French Regulation School’s suggestion that the history of capitalism is the history of the struggle between capital and its social regulation, Nilges argues that the current disciplinary crisis is best evaluated in the context of capitalism’s cultural regulation. Dialectically linking the (crisis-driven) movement of structural, epistemological and cultural forms, Nilges maintains that the study of the formal(istic) history of cultural regulation must replace cultural critique based on the assumed possibility of the subsumption of culture under capital, which, in turn, creates the conditions of possibility for an emergent Marxist literary criticism.

One, Two, Many Ends of Literature – What if we looked at the notion of the end of literature as a truism, only lacking in plurality and logical rigor? Nicholas Brown explains that one of these “ends” can be regarded as internal to the functioning of literature itself, and as such, the point of departure for a more complete formulation of a Marxist literary criticism. For Brown, this formulation reveals that both literary criticism and Marxism are to be regarded as what he calls “formal materialisms,” a mode of analysis that must be completed and revised every time in light of an object it cannot posit beforehand. What this means for a Marxist literary-critical project subsequently becomes all the more apparent in Brown’s reading of another end of literature – postmodernism.

Crisis of Representation in Wole Soyinka’s Season of Anomy – Perhaps one of the more consistent elements of Wole Soyinka’s work has been a commitment to an individual will that refuses collective mobilization. Aisha Karim argues that Soyinka’s novel Season of Anomy marks a departure from any commitment as such, opening his work to new political possibilities. But while Season of Anomy presents us with an alternative to the politics and poetics that underlie Soyinka’s dramatic output, Karim maintains that it does so only insofar as it imagines itself as a “failed text.” What emerges as a crisis of representation within the text consequently allows the reader to recognize herself as the agent of change on the level of the social.

The Biopolitical Unconscious: Toward an Eco-Marxist Literary Theory – If ecocriticism can and should be dialectically assimilated to the project of a Marxist literary and cultural criticism, how do we have to rethink both ecocritical and Marxist literary critical praxis? What can a Marxist ecocriticism lend to interrogations of the relation between literature and ecocriticism´s most undertheorized category: the environment? Leerom Medovoi illustrates that Marxism not only can, but must play a central role in the formulation of an ecocritical 
approach to literature capable of transcending the inability to think beyond thematic criticism and ethical critique.

Creative Labor – Sarah Brouillette suggests that literary studies can help de-naturalize contemporary capitalism by accounting for the rise of the pervasive vocabulary that imagines work as a form of self-exploration, self-expression, and self-realization. She discusses two manifestations of this vocabulary. One is the notion of a “creative class” branded by Richard Florida, management professor and guru consultant to government and industry. The other is the theory of “immaterial labor” assembled within autonomist Marxism. Despite their obvious differences, Brouillette demonstrates that both conceptions are more symptoms than diagnoses of a now dominant tendency to fathom creativity both ahistorically – as the essence of experimentation emanating from an internal natural source – and contradictorily – as newly valuable to capitalism but romantically honorable and free.

BOOK REVIEWS

It’s Dialectical!
Nicholas Brown reviews Fredric Jameson’s Valences of the Dialectic. To say that Jameson’s most recent contribution to dialectical thought is monumental in scope is perhaps an understatement. What, then, might this reengagement with the dialectic mean both in the context of Jameson´s work and for Marxism today?

A New Direction for Marxism
Jen Hedler Hammond reviews Kevin Floyd´s The Reification of Desire: Toward a Queer Marxism. Floyd’s book succeeds in producing a dialogue between Judith Butler and Fredric Jameson that will no doubt have far-reaching consequences for both queer and Marxist theory. But what insight does this dialogue provide into the undertheorized position of women in Marxism and Queer Studies alike?

Mediations: Journal of the Marxist Literary Group: http://mediationsjournal.org/

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Hegel

THE DIALECTIC

Call for Papers

2010 Marxist Literary Group, Institute on Culture and Society
Special Topic: “The Dialectic”
Deadline for Proposals: February 15, 2010.

The 2010 Marxist Literary Group’s Institute on Culture and Society (MLG-ICS) will convene this summer in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada, June 15-20, on the campus of St. Francis Xavier University. The (particularly timely) special topic of the 2010 ICS will be “The Dialectic.” 

The Institute will feature consecutive (as opposed to parallel/simultaneous) sessions, consisting of traditional panels, roundtables, film screenings, performances, and social events. Additionally, intensive daily reading and discussion groups will be held on “Adorno and the Materialist Dialectic” led by Rich Daniels, on Fredric Jameson’s Valences of the Dialectic led by Nicholas Brown, and on other facets of dialectical thought (volunteers are invited to submit proposals for further reading groups). 

Well-known for its intellectual rigor and collegial atmosphere since being founded by Fredric Jameson and a number of his graduate students in 1969/70, the ICS brings together emerging and established scholars each year for 5 full days of dialogue and collaboration. As is custom, the Institute’s organizers attempt to keep critical production high and participants’ costs low. In 2010, participants will, once again, be able to select from several on-campus housing options, which at StFX are cost-efficient, new and beautiful, and will contribute to the friendly and social environment the Institute thrives upon. Housing options include individual rooms, shared apartment-style residences, hotel-style residences, and more—each option will include generous common spaces and close proximity to the conference center. Detailed information regarding housing, travel, and further logistics will be sent out to all participants. For general information on St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia and the facilities the Institute will utilize, see: http://stfx.ca/ (StFX has just launched a new website, so please excuse potential glitches as our webmasters streamline content and infrastructure).

Confirmed speakers for the 2010 ICS include:

Ian Balfour (York University)
Karyn Ball (University of Alberta)
Timothy Bewes (Brown University)
Nicholas Brown (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Eric Cazdyn (University of Toronto) 
Ainsworth Clarke (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Rebecca Comay (University of Toronto)
Rich Daniels (Oregon State University)
Len Findlay (University of Saskatchewan)
Barbara Foley (Rutgers University)
Jason Gladstone (Wake Forest University)
Peter Hitchcock (City University of New York)
Neil Larsen (University of California, Davis)
Leerom Medovoi (Portland State University)
Justin Paulson (Carleton University)
Modhumita Roy (Tufts University)
Imre Szeman (University of Alberta)
Daniel Worden (University of Colorado)

(This is only a preliminary list)

The organizing committee is now accepting proposals for individual presentations and panels (3 presentations plus respondent/4 presentations). We are particularly interested in work that engages with any facet of dialectical critique and dialectical thought (including antecedents and rigorous refutations thereof). However, as always, any work that engages seriously with the Marxist tradition will be considered. Selected papers of each Institute will be published in Mediations, the journal of the Marxist Literary Group (http://mediationsjournal.org/). As indicated above, we also accept proposals for reading groups, roundtables, film screenings, and cultural performances that deal with the Institute’s special topic. 

Proposals for individual papers should be 250 words in length, include A/V requests (if necessary), a short bio sketch, and contact information.  Panel proposals should include a brief rationale for the panel (100 words or less), bio sketch and contact information of the panel organizer, as well as presenters’ names, bio sketches and contact information, paper titles, and abstracts of no more than 250 words each. Proposals for all other events should follow the same formula (descriptions should also not exceed a length of 250 words for each presenter/performer). Please send submissions as .doc, .docx, or .pdf files by Monday, February 15, 2010 to: 2010mlgics@gmail.com

For questions about the ICS, logistics, travel and other concerns, contact: nilgesm@gmail.com

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Culture

CULTURE AS RESOURCE: CULTURAL PRACTICES AND POLICIES AFTER ’89

 

Graduate Summer Course

Course Dates: 19 – 30 July, 2010
Location: Central European University (CEU), Budapest, Hungary,
Detailed course description: http://www.summer.ceu.hu/culture

Course Director:
Imre Szeman, University of Alberta, Department of English and Film Studies, Canada

Faculty:
– Nicholas Brown, University of Illinois at Chicago, English and African American Studies, Chicago, USA
– Alexandra Kowalski, Central European University, Sociology and Social Anthropology, Budapest, Hungary
– Lisa Parks, University of California, Santa Barbara, Film Studies, Santa Barbara, USA
– Will Straw, McGill University, Art History and Communications Studies, Montreal, Canada
– Maria Whiteman, University of Alberta, Art and Design, Edmonton, Canada

Target group: Applications are invited from faculty members and doctoral students of institutions of higher learning and researchers with academic background in cultural studies, political theory, globalization studies and cultural policy. Undergraduates without a university degree will not be considered.

Language of instruction: English
Tuition fee: EUR 550. Financial aid is available.

Application deadline: February 15, 2010
Online application (from mid November):
http://www.sun.ceu.hu/03-application/howto_apply.php

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk