>From: Kevin Birmingham <[log in to unmask]>
>March 20-21, 2003
>Sponsored by the English Department and the Humanities Center
>We are pleased to announce Eduardo Cadava (Princeton Univ.) as the keynote
>speaker for our interdisciplinary conference entitled "Still Life." Cadava
>is the author of _Words of Light: Theses on the Photography of History_,
>and he is currently working on a collection of essays called _Mourning
>America_, which explores the relationship beween mourning and nationalism.
>Cadava's conference address is entitled "Palm Reading: Fazal Sheikh's
>Handbook of Death" and will discuss a series of photographs of Afghan
>Please note that the deadline for abstract submissions has been extended
>to Friday, February 7th. See our Call for Papers below for more
>Still Life: An Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference
> Sharing in a long tradition of authors influenced and intrigued by visual
>art (from, for example, John Webster to John Keats to Marcel Proust), this
>conference hopes to consider the still life genre as an inspiration to a query
>into literature. The elements of the genre are simple, perhaps
>an average still life might present a table (in an interior, presumably
>domestic setting) that bears cut fruit, cut flowers, a pitcher or
>vase. We may
>find a knife, a dead animal or unsettling insects. Evidence of the human hand
>is everywhere in the still life, yet human life is noticeably absent.
>A brief description of the genre already raises questions that may be applied
>to literature. How do characters import nature into their domestic lives, and
>to what purpose? How do writers embrace everyday objects, such as a knife or
>vase? Might such objects take on lives of their own? The table, which
>comments on the work of art as it echoes the rectangular canvas, poses another
>question: how do arrangement, selection, and the form which bears the outcome
>of them shape art and literature? Called ěstill lifeî in English, and nature
>morte in French, how does this genre of painting represent the
>object taken out
>of time? Is the isolated object preserved, brought to life, or frozen into
>Largely neglected until recently, still life remains an undertheorized genre
>that is fast gaining the attention of scholars from a number of disciplines:
>Art Historyís turn to still life is significantly informed by historiansí
>increased attention to material cultureóa move itself informed by work in
>Cultural Studies. The conference hopes to bring together a number of scholars
>from these disciplines, as well as those whose work focuses upon issues of
>aesthetics. Formal literary strategies such as ekphrasis (arguably a literary
>analogue to still life) raise questions about the relation of image and object
>to text and, more specifically, about the representation of stasis within a
>diachronic form like language. What is the kind or quality of life depicted in
>the still shot, the frozen moment?
>Possible panels include:
>-The Object as Subject: the vitality of the inanimate, pathetic fallacy;
>objects in isolation.
>-Principles of Selection in Literature and Art: choosing, excluding; the
>relationship between arrangement and creation; generic etiquette.
>-Made by Man, Made by Nature: everyday objects; intimate objects; abstraction
>of the ordinary; natural objects reshaped and selected by man; conflicts
>between the natural and the ý la main.
>-Human Traces: people off-stage, the absent hand, the interior setting.
>-Composition and Decomposition: still life vs. nature morte; immortality vs.
>the memento mori.
>-The Frozen Moment: tableaux vivants, hiatus.
>-Ekphrasis: the relation of text to image, image to text.
>Graduate students from all disciplines are invited to submit papers no more
>than 7-8 pages in length (15 minutesí worth of presentation time). Abstracts
>of 200-300 words are due by February 7, 2003 and should be emailed to
>[log in to unmask] (No attachments.) Please include your name, contact
>information, institution, department, and status (i.e., graduate or post-doc).
>Also indicate which of the prospective panels interest you as
>for your work. The listed panels are preliminary and subject to change.