Thinking in Unity after Postmodernism – Figures of Unity, Presence, and
Transcendence at the Millennium 


International Workshop at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, 12-13
November 2010


Dates: 12-13 Nov 2010

Organization: PD Dr. Raoul Eshelman, Irina Hron M.A.

Conference Languages: English and German 

Deadline for Proposals: 15 April 2010


In the last 15 years in the humanities a situation has arisen that is often
rather wistfully called “the end of theory” or “after theory.” This refers
to the fact that the (post)structuralist theories developed by Lacan,
Derrida, Foucault, Barthes, and Deleuze are slowly being exhausted without
having found successors of equal weight. The dominant theoretical direction
in the liberal arts is that of post-colonial studies, which hybridize
existing poststructuralist theories but lack the potential to develop
essentially new positions. Aside from these hybridizing strategies a number
of theories have arisen in the last few years that differ markedly from
poststructuralism by virtue of their focus on figures of unity and closure.
The standard-bearers of this new thinking in unity include Jean-Luc Marion’s
phenomenology, Peter Sloterdijk’s theory of “foams,” and the Generative
Anthropology of Eric Gans. In contradistinction to poststructuralism, these
theories are all based on figures of unity, of positively understood
identity, of closure, and of presence.       


The goal of the workshop is to establish these and similar theories of unity
as successors to poststructuralism and to use them to analyze literature,
film, drama and other media before and after the millennium (1990-2010).


Papers must not refer explicitly or systematically to the three theories
mentioned, but they should touch upon at least one of the following topics:


-          Figures of unity and closure: How do closed, unified spaces,
signs, and subjects arise?

-          Figures of presence: How is a feeling of presence created
semiotically, spatially, and temporally?

-          Figures of transcendence: Which modes of boundary transgression
can be said to overcome borders rather than simply to violate them? What
higher orders of value are created in doing so?

-          Figures of love: What possibilities of reconciliation and
emotional unity are made available to subjects? How are the ludic
heterogeneity and superficiality of gender discourses compensated for
through unified relations of mutual bonding?

-          Figures of plenitude: How are closed, unified spaces filled out
with value and meaning? How can we describe effects of saturation and of
overflowing proceeding from such spaces?


Figures of reduction and consolidation: How is unity created through
reduction, simplification, and consolidation? What is gained and lost in the

Figures of belief:  How do unified, steadfast relations of trust to others
arise? What ethical positions can be derived from them? 



The workshop is directed explicitly at younger scholars (doctoral candidates
and postdocs) who are interested in interrogating innovative new approaches
and actively participating in the development of cutting-edge theory.    


The workshop is funded by the Graduate Center of the
Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich. Travel expenses will be reimbursed as
fully as possible. A publication of selected papers presented at the
conference is planned.


Please send an abstract of no longer than 500 words along with a short CV by
15 April 2010 to [log in to unmask]


Contributors will be informed whether their abstracts have been accepted by
15 May 2010.



PD Dr. Raoul Eshelman: [log in to unmask]

Irina Hron M.A.: [log in to unmask]

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Fakultät für Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaften, Department II
Institut für Slavische Philologie, Raum E 302
Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1
80539 München


The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Stefani Engelstein
Acting Assistant Editor:  Olaf Schmidt
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
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