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>CFP:  Feminism and Failure (3/15/04;  MLA '04)
>
>A proposed special section for the 2004 MLA convention in Philadelphia,
>27-30 December.
>
>Feminism and Failure
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>What does feminism have to teach us about the standards and forms of
>appearance by which "success" and "failure" are recognized, affirmed,
>reevaluated?  Often complicit with a rhetoric of immediacy that
>measures success in terms of "real world" effects (successful
>interventions, successful translations of theory into practice,
>successful future-historical outcomes, etc.), is feminist criticism, by
>the terms of its own desire to succeed, set up to fail?  When success
>is defined as acting upon a world beyond language, do denegations of
>failure only and always point to the acute non-arrival and ongoing
>impossibility of success?  Similarly, if success is calculated in terms
>of worldly change, how is feminist theory bound to remain enthralled to
>oppositions between power and powerlessness, action and irrelevance,
>importance and insignificance?
>
>In order to examine the terms by which feminist theory has designated
>the values of success and failure, this panel invites papers that take
>up questions such as:  How have feminist affirmations of the "new"
>(broadly defined as  the possibility of change, whether revolutionary
>or incremental), insofar as they have sought to critique and displace
>prior and current modes of oppression, set out to delineate the marks
>of successful scholarship and the standards of feminist intellectual
>work?  How does feminist criticism redefine the standards by which the
>success and failure of a work (a literary text, the work of art, acts
>of reading, activist interventions, scholarly prose, etc.) are
>evaluated?  What counts (and fails to be counted) as activism?  Is
>there a feminist theory of change? of a call for change and of an
>account for change?  Rather than simply reversing the terms such that
>failure becomes the measure of success, the panel hopes to investigate
>issues including:
>
>--debates about critical opacity and the "values of difficulty" (per
>Judith Butler's recent essay and Martha Nussbaum's criticism of the
>failures of obscurantism)
>--feminism and affirmative teleology
>--feminism, globalization, and the wages of success (who claims
>successful feminist work?  at what price?  according to what standards?)
>--feminism and the ethics of "help" (help as alibi for coercion;  the
>language of beneficence;  feminism and the discourses of development)
>--the (gendered) pathos of failure;  failure and mourning;  failure and
>melancholia;  the languages of loss
>--feminism and futurity (utopian, dystopian, etc.)
>--narrative and inconclusiveness
>--gender and performance, speech act theory, the measures of successful
>and/or failed performatives
>--the rhetoric of blame, exoneration, and indifference
>
>Please email abstracts (within body of email;  no attachments, please)
>by 15 March to:  [log in to unmask]
>
>

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The German Studies Call for Papers List
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