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Ergebnisanzeige "Zoopoetics: Forms of Life | ACLA, Harvard, 17-20 March, 2016"
RessourcentypCall for Papers
TitelZoopoetics: Forms of Life | ACLA, Harvard, 17-20 March, 2016
Beschreibung"Zoopoetics: Forms of Life"
Seminar at the Annual Meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, March 17-20, 2016

Organizers: Peter Meedom (Oslo); Frederike Middelhoff (Würzburg)

How should literary animal studies study animals (to paraphrase Cary Wolfe)? How do animals form texts and, conversely, how do texts form animals? This year’s ACLA seminar (‘What Is Zoopoetics?’) proved that animals cannot be separated from the question of language, metaphor, and form. In other words, animals produce and pose eminently formal questions with regard to literature. Yet at the same time a fundamental uncertainty was revealed about the object of literary animal studies: What counts as an animal and how do we make these beings legible? Should we only deal with recognizable mammals, fish and birds, or should we also engage with any other form of life – bacteria, fungi, insects, plants, or even imaginary beings – when literature presents us with these? And are we not falling into the trap of a bêtise (Derrida) if we intuitively categorize and label textual forms of life as ‘animals’, thus, re-affirming the asininity of the ‘animot’? This second Zoopoetics seminar wants to take advantage of the conceptual uncertainty and ask what might be gained on the one hand by conceiving zoopoetics as a study of how literature creates and develops forms of life, and on the other hand by probing the specifics of species as well as individual forms of life – a notion of zoopoetics closely linked to Aaron Moe’s appeal to formally investigate “another species bodily poiesis” in literature. In this sense, it might be productive to question the self-evidence of terms like ‘animals’ or ‘nonhuman animals’ and pay attention to how the texts themselves actually conceive forms of life. Can we as literary animal studies scholars approach literary forms of life without being biased by our zoological knowledge and tendency to explain animals with the means of discourse analysis? From the very beginning, literary animal studies has tried to avoid reading animals as simple stand-ins or content carriers for something else, particularly human psychology. However, this well-founded impetus is often accompanied by a certain skepticism towards metaphor and symbolism as such, if not by an outright lament over the lack of ‘real’ animals in a text. These difficulties testify to the methodological challenge of doing literary animal studies – somewhere between an overtly literalized animal and the animal as symbolic container. It might then be at the level of significant form that the point of enmeshing of animals and text allows for the reading of “a logic different from that of intentionality or psychological interiority” (Susan McHugh). Further, instead of framing zoopoetics within the human-animal distinction, the cybernetic triangle (Dominic Pettman) could help to grasp the inseparability of animal, human, and technology. This seminar seeks papers engaging with zoopoetics both as an object of study – i.e. literary texts from any tradition or period which develop and discuss forms of life – and as a methodological problem for literary animal studies.

Abstracts should be submitted online ( from Sept. 1 until Sept. 23.
Quelle der BeschreibungInformation des Anbieters
VeranstaltungsortUniversity of Harvard, Cambridge, MA
PersonName: Frederike Middelhoff 
Funktion: Organizer 
E-Mail: Frederike.Middelhoff@uni-wuerzburg,de 
KontaktdatenName/Institution: Frederike Middelhoff 
Strasse/Postfach: Neubergstr. 19 
Postleitzahl: 97072 
Stadt: Würzburg 
Telefon: 01628930557 
Internetadresse: Neubergstr. 19 
Ediert von  H-Germanistik
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