CFP: Theory Reading Group


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The Theory Reading Group at Cornell University invites submissions for its sixth annual interdisciplinary spring conference:

Form and Genesis

Featuring keynote speakers Adrian Johnston (University of New Mexico) and Robert Kaufman (University of California, Berkeley)

Cornell University
Ithaca, New York
April 22-24, 2010

Increasingly it seems that contemporary thought is confronted with two ways of explaining its objects. On the one hand, a formal approach seeks to analyze the necessary structures or defining qualities that make something what it is. On the other hand, a genetic or historical method aims to uncover the forces that give rise to form or structure in the first place. Do these modes of explanation disqualify one another, or are there compelling prospects for their integration? For example, is it possible to understand how thought or rationality can grasp its own determining processes? Or, on the contrary, is thought structurally unable to access a domain that is by nature exterior to reason, sense, or order?

Broadly understood, the formal approach tends to seek logical explanations, while the genetic approach looks to materialist or genealogical accounts. The relation between these two orders of explanation has wide implications. What is the connection between logical or normative form and its temporal, material, or historical genesis? Conversely, what might an analysis of the structure of genealogy or critique tell us about the latter? Does the political critique of form as an arbitrary convention mitigate its powers of normativity? What is the relationship between form and history, or form and materiality in literary and aesthetic theory? What is the status of formalism, whether literary or logical-mathematical, in contemporary theory?

Suggested topics: Continue reading

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CPF: The Theory Reading Group (Cornell) Conference.


The Theory Reading Group at Cornell University invites submissions for its fifth annual interdisciplinary spring conference:

“Particularity, Exemplarity, Singularity”

Featuring keynote speaker Ian Balfour (York University)

Cornell University

Ithaca, New York

April 17^th -18^th , 2009

The place of the particular, the exemplary, or the singular in contemporary philosophical practice has yet to be decided. While much of the critical thought of the last fifty years has focused on affirming the rights of ephemeral experience or the singular instance by refusing grand narratives or universal systems, more recent years have seen the rebirth of a rationalism that, at least in one of its forms, again relegates particularity to the debased realm of illusion, solipsism, and doxa. At stake in the tension between these two positions is the possibility that there exists some form of specifically artistic or empirical truth, or even a non- phenomenalizable reality of the singular, even if this truth or this reality are not of the order of propositional knowledge.

This conference is guided by the following question: what is the role of the particular, the exemplary, or the singular in critical thought today? Alternatively, how might these terms mark an impasse within systematic knowledge? We understand these questions to accommodate and encourage original reflection on a wide range of topics within philosophy, aesthetics, and literary theory. We invite participants to consider such issues as the relation between literature and philosophy, the status of history or materiality with regard to aesthetic objects, and the contemporary inheritance of the critique of representation as it has been elaborated in continental philosophy since Kant.

Suggested paper topics include (but are not limited to): Continue reading