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*ACLA Seminar*
*Forms of Survival*
*UCLA, Los Angeles, March 29th-April 1st, 2018*


*Organizers:*
• Arne Höcker, University of Colorado Boulder, [log in to unmask]
• Dominik Zechner, New York University, [log in to unmask]

Contemporary forms of life are marked by a constant exposure to multiplex
threats and hazards, encompassing all levels of human existence: whether we
think of global warming, the persistent threat of terror, humanitarian
crises and mass migration, economic insecurity, political extremism—today’s
discursive landscape is characterized by an apocalyptic tone, a constant
apprehension of disaster and catastrophe. In this seminar, we would like to
develop the concept of “survival” as a key term for understanding this
contemporary atmosphere of “high alertness” and fearful living-on the face
of the abyss: under the condition of unrelenting imminence, we suggest,
life turns into survival. We would like to pace out the concept of survival
in terms of its multi-layeredness, carefully observing the distinctions and
intersections of the different aspects of survival, accurately following
their emergence and unfolding in their respective contexts and discourses.
Analyzing the conceptual development and genealogy of the term from
19th-century biology up to more recent debates around bio-politics and
deconstruction, we wish to outline “survival” as a threshold-concept that
radically problematizes the distinction between life and death, and offers
an important perspective onto the precariousness of endangered life. We
plan to investigate both the phenomenological as well as the linguistic and
rhetorical stakes of “survival.” Following Benjamin, Derrida, and Hamacher,
we would like to probe the pertinence of “survival” as a trope the reaches
beneath and beyond the phenomenal life-world. We are hopeful to launch a
sustained conversation that will capture the complexity and multiplicity of
survival and its various forms.

*Conceptual fields and aspects we wish to engage and develop include:*

Languages and narratives of catastrophe (Röggla); species survival and
survival of the fittest (Darwin, Spencer); survival and trauma (Freud,
Herman, Caruth); Jewish survival and the Holocaust (Rosenzweig, Arendt,
Levi); the survival of art (Warburg); mortality and living-on (Scheler);
translation as survival (Benjamin); language as a form of survival
(Hamacher); the impossibility of death (Kafka, Blanchot); survival and
writing (Derrida); bio-power and bare life (Foucault, Agamben, Esposito);
vitalism and the abolition of finitude (Meillassoux, Thacker); etc.

Please submit your proposals via the ACLA portal
<https://www.acla.org/forms-survival>. Abstracts must be received by 9am
EST on Thursday, September 21, 2017. In the meantime, the organizers will
gladly answer any questions or inquiries.


--
*Dominik Zechner*
Doctoral Candidate
NYU German

*******************
The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Sean Franzel
Assistant Editor: Olaf Schmidt
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
Info available at: https://grs.missouri.edu/german/resources