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>
>Apathy and Interpretation
>
>Proposed special session for MLA 2004 in
>Philadelphia, PA.
>
>Apathy -- the subjectís non-pathos, non-interest,
>non-concern -- is the excluded fact of the political
>and ethical discourses (and fantasies) that inform
>so much of contemporary literary criticism.  The
>subject in apathy is a blankness that resists
>interpretation, a blockage of the subjectís meaning
>and presence in its social world.  In their neglect
>of apathy, political and ethical criticisms have
>neglected that which negatively defines them, as if
>politics and ethics were without this fundamental
>opposition or contradiction.  But apathy can be
>considered the contradiction on which these
>discourses rest, the incoherence in the subject that
>politics and ethics must ultimately address.
>
>This proposed panel calls for papers that
>investigate apathy from any angle, examining how it
>works and how it can be interpreted.  Papers might
>address how specific texts thematize apathy, pose
>apathy as a formal or stylistic problem, or
>otherwise work through (or out of) apathy.  Papers
>might also theorize apathy in the classroom,
>connecting pedagogical to political, ethical, or
>textual issues.  Other possible topics include:
>
>- apathy as an aesthetic issue or phenomenon
>- the relationship between apathy and irony; between
>apathy and boredom
>- how apathy is troped in terms of age, race, class,
>gender, sexuality, nationality, religion,
>secularism, etc.
>- how apathy is a function of commodification; how
>it has been commodified
>- the different relations to apathy among the
>politically engaged right and left; how apathy
>confuses the layout of this political spectrum
>- the process by which matters of concern and
>interest are determined in different public
>discourses; the role of ideology in apathy
>- how apathy informs different narrative techniques;
>how narrative is a response to apathy
>- how particular approaches to apathy have animated
>specific political campaigns
>- why we should care about apathy anyway
>
>Paper proposals of 500 words should be emailed by
>March 10 to David Sherman at [log in to unmask]  No
>attachments please.
>
>David Sherman
>English Department
>New York University
>19 University Place, 5th floor
>New York, NY  10003
>
>

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