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TitelFigurations of Knowledge (ergänzte Version)

Figurations of Knowledge
European Conference of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA)
at the Center for Literary and Cultural Research Berlin (Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung Berlin, ZfL)
June 03 - 07, 2008

CALL FOR PAPERS (Update: June 28, 2007)

a) Introduction
b) Panel and paper proposals
(Deadline: October 15, 2007 - Acceptance notification: November 30, 2007)

c) Submission Procedures

d) Content Organisation / Streams:
Stream 1. Inspiration and Intuition (Dir.: Sabine Flach, Ohad Parnes, Martin Treml)
Stream 2. Acceleration, Synchronisation, Deceleration (Dir.: Erik Porath)
Stream 3. Fade to Grey. Other Sides of Cognition (Dir.: Sabine Flach, Elisabeth Strowick)
Stream 4. Extraordinary Concepts of Perception (Dir.: Katrin Solhdju, Margarete Vöhringer, Yvonne Wübben)
Stream 5. Languages of Science - Sciences of Language (Dir.: Robert Stockhammer, Stefan Willer)
Stream 6. History of Concepts between Disciplines and Cultures (Dir.: Ernst Müller, Falko Schmieder)
Stream 7. Bodies of Evidence (Dir.: Bergit Arends)
Stream 8. Vitality - Contours and Boundaries between Life and Death (Dir.: Christine Blättler, Ulrike Vedder)
Stream 9. Politics of Knowledge (Dir.: Uwe Wirth)
Stream 10. Desire for/after Affect (Dir.: Marie-Luise Angerer)
Stream 11. Art as Research (Dir.: Florian Dombois)

e) Keynote Lectures

f) Contact

a) Introduction
Recent and current research in Science Studies has devoted increasing attention to semantic transfers, translations, and changes of register between forms of knowledge. In terms of studying the relationship between literature, science, and the arts, this implies a general reinterpretation of how scientific knowledge affects literature and the arts or how it is represented in them. For the 'and' linking established oppositional pairs such as 'art and science,' 'literature and science,' or else 'sciences and humanities' ultimately presumes a homogeneous situation on both respective sides. It is only under this precondition that the clear dichotomies between knowledge cultures can be formed which are so powerful within the system of modern science. Yet the arts - as well as the historical and hermeneutic disciplines - have always worked empirically, and the sciences have long dealt with questions calling for the interpretative capacity of the humanities or the creative potential of the arts: questions such as those about free will or consciousness.
The 2008 European Conference of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA) will therefore focus on such transitional phenomena with their historical, conceptual, and epistemological conditions. In contrast to the persistent tendency of science theory, science history, and science policies to fall back on the 'two cultures' model, we intend to examine how knowledge figures both historically and presently within the plurality and heterogeneity of knowledge cultures, i.e. in different respective functional contexts. The perspective of figurations of knowledge draws on the multiple meanings of the notions figure and figuration - from the symbolism of mathematical, geometric, or diagrammatic figures to figurality and figuration in rhetoric and iconography up to figural interpretation as an interpretative tool -, in order to delineate the specific ways in which knowledge is produced, distributed, and received in the interplay of schematization and dynamization, of empiricism and speculation, of measurement and interpretation. Thus, figurations of knowledge are understood to be instances of thought, speech, imagery, and experiment in which crossovers between literature, science, and the arts are essential.

b) Panel and paper proposals
(Deadline: October 15, 2007 - Acceptance notification: November 30, 2007)

SLSA conferences are organised in thematic focuses, so-called 'streams', which again are subdivided in several panels. Each panel comprises 3 to 5 individual papers.
Conference Language will be English.
Panel and paper proposals should be submitted by email to the organiser of the respective stream. The deadline for proposals is October 15, 2007.
Panel proposals: Panels include 3 to 5 papers. Panel proposals should include names, institutional affiliations and contact information for all participants. Please nominate one of the participants or an additional person as chair. Proposals must include panel description (150 words) plus abstracts for each paper (300 words each). Panel proposals with only two speakers should be prepared to welcome one or two additional panelists to their session.
Paper proposals should include a name, institutional affiliation and contact information. Proposals must have a paper title and an abstract (300 words). Individual papers will be fitted together into panels by the stream organisers.
Criteria for acceptance include originality, coherence, and relevance to the topics of the respective stream. Please bear in mind that panel proposals have a greater assurance of acceptance than do individual papers.
All abstracts of the accepted papers and panels will be posted on the conference website and printed in the program.

c) Submission Procedures
There will be a conference fee for all participants. You will find further information here soon. Moreover, all participants must be registered SLSA members.

Accommodation and travel expenses will have to be taken charge of by participants themselves.

d) Content Organisation / Streams
The following streams are on hand:

1. Inspiration and Intuition (Dir.: Sabine Flach, Ohad Parnes, Martin Treml)
Intuition and inspiration are two distinct yet intimately related concepts. They play a central role in various fields of knowledge, notably in the religious experience and in the perception and self-perception of the artistic creation. Usually, the concept of inspiration is reserved to religious and artistic phenomena, while the word 'intuition' is used for seemingly more rational processes like the act of scientific discovery. Arguably, inspiration and intuition are part of every knowledge-production processes, and the relation between these two concepts is much closer than often assumed. From the religious perspective inspiration is the key concept lying at the core of divination rituals. Typically, a unique spiritual state has to be attained through which a human being becomes the mediator of higher knowledge. The prophet, too, is usually described as reluctantly becoming the mouthpiece of God, being forced to take on this role. But scientists also often describe their own discovery process in terms of intuitive recognition.
We would like to dedicate the SLSA 2008 stream Intuition and inspiration in religion, art and the sciences to an interdisciplinary discussion of the role of intuition in contemporary knowledge. We are especially interested in papers aimed at bringing together hitherto disparate disciplines and research perspectives. As leading questions for abstracts we propose:
- What role do inspiration and intuition play in the artistic/creative process; how does the artist engage in these modes of thought?
- Is it the same kind of intuitive understanding which underlies scientific and artistic production processes?
- Is a 'rational' explanation of intuition possible?
- How could the 'literature and sciences' perspective contribute to our understanding of intuition and its various figurations?
- What are the exact connections between inspiration and intuition in religion; how do they determine different forms of expression and knowledge gained by these concepts?
- Could the recent boom of research into intuition in the social sciences be explained as part of a more general cultural turn?

Please send proposals (150 words for panel proposals, 300 words for each individual paper proposal) to:" (Sabine Flach)," (Ohad Parnes)," (Martin Treml).

2. Acceleration, Synchronisation, Deceleration (Dir.: Erik Porath)
Since Modernity has repeatedly been characterised as the age of acceleration, one has to have in mind the ongoing discovery of slowness as a complementary aspect of this diagnosis - as it is to be seen for example in Goethe's discomfort with the "velocipheric" character of culture, Nietzsche's plea for "rumination" as a mode of cognition or Virilio's "dromologic" criticism of media culture as a technology of war. Acceleration und deceleration can be analysed as temporal strategies, which generate and coordinate different spaces of time and temporal processes. Far in access of the trivial assertion of the inevitability of the category of time regarding the constitution of nature and of culture, of the sciences and of the arts, this stream will explore diverse temporal practices and forms of temporality as specific figurations of knowledge.
We are inviting proposals for panels (3-5 papers) or single papers to the following or related topics:
- lifetime and memorial practices (recording strategies, time management, memory theories etc.)
- representability of time (neuroscientific monitoring concerning spatio-temporal activity patterns of neuronal processing, literature and narratology, music as temporal formation, living time and time of creation in respect of artistic work)
- media and models of heterochrony (subjective time vs. time of the apparatus, living vs. measured time; leaps of time, reversion of time, ekstasis; (psycho-)pathology of temporal experience)
- cyclical vs. linear time (periodicity and biorhythms within chronobiology; irreversibility of time, evolution and the arrow of time)
Please send proposals (150 words for panel proposals, 300 words for each individual paper proposal) to" (Erik Porath).

3. Fade to Grey. Other Sides of Cognition (Dir.: Sabine Flach, Elisabeth Strowick)
This stream places into new perspective the interplay of cognitive processes and emotions, as currently discussed heatedly in brain research, on the basis of a detailed investigation of visual art and literature since the 1950s. When the 1990s were hailed as the 'Decade of the Brain,' this elevated neuro- and cognitive sciences to the status of the 'leading sciences' in explaining cognitive processes. This hegemonic claim, which entails conceptual exclusions, will not simply be questioned here; rather, the stream focuses on how the genuine and productive achievements of the arts contribute to developing another epistemological history of cognition. Adopting this specific - and fresh - approach, this project fathoms the other sides of cognition inasmuch as the exclusions and grey areas produced by brain research occur as themes in art and literature - notably, these exclusions and grey areas form the site of complex cultural and social processes.
Unlike the privileging of the metaphor of cartography or of the face in the cognitive sciences as a surface upon which the interrelation of cognitions and emotions can be visualized, the stream furthermore explores the 'other knowledge' that the arts have of the interrelation of cognition and emotion on the basis of the manifold articulations of the body, that is, artistic and literary body scenarios. These afford opportunities to conceptualise the interplay of cognition and emotion, such as the transition zones existing to consciousness (the not-yet conscious) or transformations of perception, which imaging procedures systematically exclude inasmuch as they are harnessed to localising cognition with isolated and well-defined entities - such as Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and functional Magnet Resonance Tomography (fMRT).

We are inviting proposals for panels (3-5 papers) and individual papers from the following fields: history of science, art history, literary criticism, media studies, cultural studies, neuro- and cognitive sciences. The call welcomes proposals which address
- the complex interplay of vegetative, neuromuscular, cognitive, and emotional processes mapped throughout the body,
- forms of representation of cognition (regarding temporality, motion, visualization) in science, art, and literature,
- the relation between media techniques and modelling cognitive processes
- approaches considering cognitive processes in stronger conjunction with the whole body in the neuro- and cognitive sciences.

Please send proposals (150 words for panel proposals, 300 words for each individual paper proposal) to" (Sabine Flach), (Elisabeth Strowick).

4. Extraordinary Concepts of Perception (Dir.: Katrin Solhdju, Margarete Vöhringer, Yvonne Wübben)
What would it be like to be mad? Around 1920, a group of artists and psychologists close to Wassily Kandinsky asked this question when planning the foundation of an "Institute for Ingenuity". This institute aimed at producing geniuses. In isolation the students should become mad and thus at once encounter ingenuity. This experimental reactivation of the old topos of the vicinity between madness and the genius at the same time suggested that it was possible to produce novelty or creativity by acquiring a so far unfamiliar perspective on reality, the perspective of an artificial madness.
Some years earlier the biologist and philosopher Jakob von Uexküll had asked: What would it be like to be a sea urchin or a fly, what would perception of reality reveal from the point of view of an earthworm, a plant or a molecule? What he aimed at was not the production of ingenuity but a strategic pluralization of reality. He imagined how reality would change if we took into consideration as many different perspectives as possible. Reality appeared thus as a complex entanglement, a multiperspectival universe of an infinite number of experiences that could only be constructed and reveal themselves in a never ending process of experimentation that took on the risk to leave one's own human perspective behind.
Starting from this vision of reality as made of a multiplicity of perspectives this stream would like to look at the history of investigating and representing extraordinary perception in various fields. Extraordinary perceptions include perceptions of non-human actors like animals and plants as well as the exceptional modes and abilities of perception as practiced by the psychically ill, the artificially mad, and by artists. Extra-ordinary in this context thus signifies something that is added, a surplus, an extra portion of experience or perception that is added to reality. By investigating the history of various pluralizing practices of perception the stream aims at challenging some of our habitual perspectives on reality.

We are inviting proposals for panels (3-5 papers) and individual papers from various disciplines such as history and philosophy of science, history of art, ethnology and cultural studies. Possible topics could be
- perceptions of animals and plants,
- visions of mentally ill,
- perceptions of artists and geniuses.
Please send proposals (150 words for panel proposals, 300 words for each individual paper proposal) to" (Katrin Solhdju).

5. Languages of Science - Sciences of Language (Dir.: Robert Stockhammer, Stefan Willer)
Since Thomas Sprat included a chapter on "Their Manner of Discourse" in his History of the Royal Society, at the latest, epistemic and linguistic shifts go hand in hand. While the history of science has been aware of this connection for several decades, its scope has mostly been narrowed to one master trope, the inavoidable metaphor. Other linguistic features, however, might be equally basic elements of the 'style' of scientific formations: grammatical structure, narrative techniques etc. In order to reach further insights, it might be helpful to include the history of linguistics into the investigation - following Foucault who, in his Order of Things, demonstrated the structural relationship of knowledge concerning life, labour, and language in simultaneous historical formations. An important part of this history consists in variable claims of linguistics to count as a (natural, 'exact') science: as for instance in attempts of comparative linguistics to share the paradigm of evolution, in linguistic analogies to formal logic, or in recent research programmes of neurolinguistics and cognitive linguistics. Specific textual features of these approaches (as, e.g., genealogical trees of languages, or mathematical formulae in Chomskyan theories) deserve to be analyzed in their own right.
We are inviting proposals for panels (3-5 papers) and individual papers from linguists and historians of linguistics as well as from other scholars interested in the 'linguality' of historical epistemology. Possible topics include, but are not limited to
- the quest for linguistic universals, or for universal languages and writing systems
- languages between nature and culture, linguistics between sciences and humanities
- concepts of 'life and growth', 'evolution', 'extinction' of language(-s)
- implicit linguistic theories in scientific formations
Please send proposals (150 words for panel proposals, 300 words for each individual paper proposal) to" (Robert Stockhammer)," (Stefan Willer).

6. History of Concepts between Disciplines and Cultures (Dir.: Ernst Müller, Falko Schmieder)
The stream focusses on the innovative potential of interdisciplinarity in History of Concepts and Historical Semantics. Both paradigms seem to provide an effective methodical inventary for a historical approach to processes of semantic transfers, metaphorisations and register changes between different fields of knowledge. Yet the great projects of History of (aesthetical, political, philosophical) Concepts/Ideas did, in general, neither aim at crossing discplinary boundaries nor did they, operating with a rather (idealistically or positivistically) restricted notion of 'concept', display much sensibility of the problem of metaphorical-conceptual interferences. It is just this problem of the specific methodical approach of an explicitly interdisciplinary-intercultural History of Concepts that shall be discussed in this stream.
Contributions should perform models for a methodical integration of historical hermeneutics with the historical analysis of the effect of material (experimental) and cultural techniques on the shaping of concepts - the latter including medial representation as well as mediating processes between philological-philosophical and natural sciences. It is not just from their systematic status inside a specific scientific paradigm that concepts can fully be understood. On the contrary, recent research especially on the history of natural sciences has exemplarily shown that explanatory evidence and innovative power of scientific concepts owe no less from external connotations. Literature and Arts may play an important intermediary role here. Consequently, we would like to discuss fruitful connections to discourse theory, linguistics, pragmatics, etymology and media theory.
We are inviting proposals for panels (3-5 papers) or single papers to the following or related topics:
- methodical as well as practical investigations into phenomena of interdisciplinary and/or interdiscoursive semantic transfers,
- the function of rhetorical figures (primarily, but not exclusively, of metaphor),
- hermeneutical approaches in the study of scientific practices and materialities.
Please send proposals (150 words for panel proposals, 300 words for each individual paper proposal) to" (Ernst Müller)," (Falko Schmieder).

7. Bodies of Evidence (Dir.: Bergit Arends)
Many museums hold collections of human body remains which are used for anthropological, medical, and cultural studies. Human remains objects are imbued with a plethora of meanings. The interpretations of the individual object continually change, marking passages in time. The purpose of the discussion is to acknowledge past collecting, storage, and display practices, and to sketch ideas and concepts for the future of the readings and uses of human remains. In the UK recent changes in legislation have forced Museums to reconsider the use, and ownership, of their collections. Under new legislation, the Human Tissue Act 2004, Museums can now consider the return of human remains to their countries of origin, whereas in the past the British Museum Act 1963 has prevented such considerations and actions. The legislative changes have generated a new interest in human remains collections, in particular with a view of repatriating many of these objects, thereby radically changing their context, use, and interpretation, and addressing a new balance of power. The circumstances under which many human remains objects have been acquired reflect the historic colonial and social attitudes of the past. However, we still struggle today to understand and respect different attitudes and values, especially where scientific and cultural contexts diverge.
The issues brought about by the repatriation claims are complex; at the heart of the debate lie the political, economical, and social relationships between peoples and social classes then and now. These clashes are epitomized within the emotive object of dispute. Through the perceptions of scientists, artists, and historians, we will discuss
- Human remains collections, their ownership, access, and visibility
- Past and current collecting and display practices of human remains
- Ethics in holding human remains collections
- Anthropological research today
- Reflections on past uses of anthropological collections and their justification of eugenics, racism, and colonial attitudes
The discussion is an invitation to think creatively and speculatively about the future of human remains collections while acknowledging the past.
Please send proposals (150 words for panel proposals, 300 words for each individual paper proposal) to" (Bergit Arends).

8. Vitality - Contours and Boundaries between Life and Death (Dir.: Christine Blättler, Ulrike Vedder)
How does vitality appear, how is it articulated? How to draw the boundary between life and death, the boundary that is at the same time a strict one and a locus for cultural negotiations, or even for circulations? These questions do not aim at an abstract principle or essence of life, they do not start from death as lack of vitality nor from life as a maximal fitness. Rather they focus on different emergences, interstages, and transitions, as concepts of vitality are always situated between the poles of life and death. In 1800, the physician Xavier Bichat proposed a definition of life as the ensemble of those functions that resist death; a medical understanding of healthy life was often developed through pathology. On the other side evolutionary concepts in Life Sciences deal with 'survival' and 'selection', while in Biopolitics life itself is at stake. For defining life, vitality, and death, bodies and their material changes have been observed and examined, even under experimental conditions, in physiology as in the arts, in life engineering as in literature.
This stream will take into consideration different and more or less powerful manifestations of vitality, including their historical, scientific, medial, and aesthetic dimensions.

We are inviting proposals for panels (3-5 papers) or single papers to the following or related topics:
- economy and life/vitality (circulations, excess etc.)
- thresholds and borderlines (apparent death, coma)
- the afterlife of the dead
- virtual life, artificial life, life engineering
Please send proposals (150 words for panel proposals, 300 words for each individual paper proposal) to (Christine Blättler), (Ulrike Vedder).

9. Politics of Knowledge (Dir.: Uwe Wirth)
This stream focusses on the exploration of the manifold manifestations of the political in the production of knowledge.
For that matter, "policital" signifies every process which establishes an order of knowledge and is controlled by strategies for achieving an objective. These strategies may include preferences for specific questions and the supression of aspects which contradict prevalent modes of thinking as well as significant changes of the interpretative frame which forms and transforms an order of knowledge. Therein, politics of knowledge manifest in all decisions controlling processes of producing knowledge within frameworks of thought collectives, i.e. politics of knowledge can be found in the dispositives under which knowledge is generated.
This applies, firstly, to every claim on validity used for the definition and institutionalisation of what can be scientifically (and artistically) qualified; secondly, to the internal and external economic conditions (such as money, time, energy) under which scientific and artistic knowledge is produced and, thirdly, to the interference between poetologies of knowledge and politics of knowledge.
This may be observed in processes of innovation, when the development from invention to innovation is influenced by several strategic (i.e. political) interventions. It might as well be the case in the creation of esoteric and exoteric areas within the production of knowledge, where a differentiation between experts, dilettantes and popular scientists occurs.
We request synopses from the fields of History of Science, Science of Art and Science of Literature. Topics may include analyses of individual cases of the development of particular areas in research and art.
Please send proposals (150 words for panel proposals, 300 words for each individual paper proposal) to (Uwe Wirth).

10. Desire for/after Affect (Dir.: Marie-Luise Angerer)
"Desire" is a term that has often been used, especially since the 1970s, in conjunction with that of "the subject". This desire is directed at "the real" which is in turn defined as the generic core of the linguistic order. As a result of the recent focus on affect, these three terms - desire, the subject, the real - have been fundamentally shaken up and altered, or lastingly called into question.
If one examines the combined efforts of neurology, psychology, art, the human and natural sciences, economy and politics, then talk of an affective paradigm certainly makes sense, as all of these fields have declared an interest in affect, in emotions and sensations, in pathos, passions, and the senses. However, this generalized affective euphoria cannot be explained solely in terms of a long repression by language, the logos, and reason. Instead, desire itself must be directed towards affect and the question must be asked as to what desire aims for? This may give rise to surprising imaginations, wishes and longings - the human as a bridge between machine and animal, not animal enough and as more than a machine. In this process of analysis, basic elements of the human as language, thought, the mind, the unconscious, etc., are reassessed - as political variables in historical/scientific discourse or as constructions determined by or independent of knowledge. Is it possible to conceive of a subject without desire? Can the concepts presented long ago by Deleuze and Guattari be implemented today in the sense of their political-economic-ethical necessity? To put the question in provocative terms: in the age of a global organ market, has the body-without-organs attained its cynical realization?

We are inviting proposals for panels (3-5 papers) and individual papers from the fields of art, media/film/art theory, history of science, literary theory and cultural studies that focus on affect and desire for/after the affective organism and consider it from different, unusual angles.
Please send proposals (150 words for panel proposals, 300 words for each individual paper proposal) to" (Marie-Luise Angerer).

11. Art as Research (Dir.: Florian Dombois)
Over the past few years, there have been increasing calls for art to be granted a claim to understanding and research. The arts, it is said, can generate and formulate knowledge in their different disciplines - music, theatre, literature and dance etc. - which is equivalent to the production of scientific findings, or which accompanies and supplements these. Most of those advocating this approach insist on the different nature of this knowledge and on the fact that artistic research cannot be transposed to the traditional forms of representation in science.
We share this view and, at this year's SLSA conference, therefore wish to introduce a new format of stream. The results of artistic research are no longer to be presented in talks and slide shows, i.e. secondary formats but in the form of original contributions: an exhibition, a concert or a theatre performance, as an alternative to a scientific talk. The "Art as Research" stream is thus addressed explicitly to artists, comprising an on-the-spot configuration of artistic works with a research claim. There is no set theme.
For reasons of practicability, this first show of artistic research will be confined to the field of objects. Compact works, which are fairly easy to install, are to be brought together and discussed in an exhibition. In the same way as for scientific conference contributions, a maximum of 20 minutes will be available for presenting, implementing and experiencing the work, which will then be followed by a discussion of the work.
Please submit applications, accompanied by the standard documentation, specifying especially your epistemic interest. Technical details on the space required or the duration of the performance, etc. should similarly be enclosed. The selection will be made by an international team (Bergit Arends | Natural History Museum London UK; Florian Dombois | Hochschule der Künste Bern CH; Sabine Flach | Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung Berlin D) according to criteria of artistic quality and impact. The selected artists will not have to pay the conference fee, and the intention is that a lump-sum payment will be available for the implementation of the work.
Please send proposals (150 words for panel proposals, 300 words for each individual paper proposal) to (Florian Dombois)

e) Keynote Lectures
Carol Colatrella (Georgia Institute of Technology, School of Literature, Communication, and Culture; Executive Director of the SLSA)
Nick Hopwood (University of Cambridge, Dept. of History and Philosophy of Science)
Ludwig Jäger (University of Aachen, Dept. of Linguistics and Communication Studies; Kulturwissenschaftliches Forschungskolleg "Medien und kulturelle Kommunikation", Köln)
Hans-Jörg Rheinberger (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin)
Sigrid Weigel (Director of the Center for Literary and Cultural Research, Berlin)

f) Contact
For general questions about organisation and formats, please contact

For specific questions regarding your proposals, please contact the respective stream organisers. For Email-addresses see above!

Quelle der BeschreibungInformation des Anbieters
Verknüpfte Ressource
BenutzerführungDeutsch; Englisch
SchlüsselbegriffeHistorische Semantik (Wissensgeschichte, Mentalitätsgeschichte, Ideengeschichte)
Klassifikation00.00.00 ohne thematische Zuordnung
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