Friday, January 12, 2007

Free Exchange 2007

The University of Calgary is hosting the Free Exchange graduate conference yet again, in March. The theme this year is "Spring Cleaning: Rediscovering and Revitalizing the Artifact." Calls for papers are located HERE.

Below is the Call for Papers for MY panel.... SUBMIT!!!! Essays on poetics in relation to the artifact welcome, to this or to the general call, or other panels. Spread the word!

The Creation and Collection of Artifacts

In “Unpacking My Library,” Walter Benjamin discusses the act of collecting, and then states that “[o]f all the ways of acquiring books, writing them oneself is regarded as the most praiseworthy method. Writers are really people who write books not because they are poor, but because they are dissatisfied with the books which they could buy but do not like.”

There is a sense, then, in which the act of collecting and the act of creation are interconnected. Creators are figured, in the above quote, as collectors who desire nonexistent artifacts, who call these artifacts into existence in order to collect them, and who produce artifacts which are then collected by others. Collectors are also, in some respects, creators—categorizing and structuring raw materials in such a way to achieve a desired aesthetic effect. The creator and the collector also seem connected in their attempts to impose order and arrangement on ephemeral, imaginative chaos. But what is the attraction of specific artifacts—both those collected and those produced for collection—and how does the fact of their being “collected” alter the aura of these artifacts? How and why does the compulsion to collect, or to produce artifacts worthy of collection, attach itself to specific, fetishized objects? In what ways might impurities in the artifact challenge this taxonomic impulse—and why are these “exceptions” (which might be expected to cause anxiety) considered to be “rare” and thus more desirable?

Papers discussing the artifact in terms of its collection and/or its creation will be considered. Presenters are also encouraged to think beyond the borders of literature, and consider the artifact in film, art, history, mythology, folklore, and popular culture.

Deadline for submissions: 2 February 2007

Please submit 250 word proposals (for papers approx. 15 minutes in length) to panel chair Jonathan Ball at (subject heading: “artifacts conference”). Attachments should be in Rich Text or Word format only, and please include your name, professional affiliation, and contact information in the body of your email.


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