From: Kathryn McEwen <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: CFP: Figures of Convulsion (09/01/05; 11/18-19/05)
The graduate students of the Department of German at Princeton University announce a graduate conference to be held November 18-19, 2005. We invite abstracts from graduate students in German studies and other disciplines in the humanities and social sciences:
Figures of Convulsion
Literature, philosophy, visual art, music and film often figure discontinuity and interruption as moments of convulsion. Originally a medical term, convulsion has come to refer to both bodily and psychic phenomena-for instance, spasms, shivers, laughter, contractions, hysteria, paroxysm, orgasm and epilepsy. These conditions raise the question of what constitutes a convulsion. Is paroxysmal activity necessarily irregular, unpredictable, and discontinuous? To what extent is it involuntary? Must it always be pathological, or can it manifest itself as benign or even therapeutic?
We are interested not only in how the figure of convulsion represents the intersection of certain bodily and psychic activities, but also in how this trope gains currency in a variety of discourses. The vocabulary and imagery of convulsion is used to describe certain political and social experiences, such as agitation, unrest, excitement or revolution, as well as violent geological disturbances (earthquakes or volcanic eruptions). Further, convulsion is often also a means of representation-for example, unstable images produced by certain photographic and filmic practices, as well as explosive sounds that destabilize the relation of signal, noise and silence.
We are seeking papers that examine interruptions of any kind that result in a transformation or radical shift, whether as formal quality or thematic element.
Please send a 50-word summary and a 500-word abstract to [log in to unmask], [log in to unmask], and [log in to unmask] by September 1, 2005.