X is Political

Paper proposals (no less than 1,000 words) should be sent by December 31, 2012 to cliffconference2013@gmail.com. Presenters will be notified by January 15, 2013.

Thursday, March 28th and Friday, March 29th 2013

Keynote Address by Professor Chantal Mouffe, University of Westminster

X Is Political. For X, read elections, race, class, gender, identity, economics, war,  the body, the personal, sex, clothes, teaching, food, culture, nature, the exhibition you saw yesterday and this CFP you are reading today. Stop looking, there's no way out: everything is political.

The by-now well established habit in academic and activist circles of expanding the political to include just about anything has been productive and most often emancipatory, enabling us to consider articulations of difference as grounds for struggle and self-assertion rather than abnormality. Still, critical space must be made to pause and reflect on where that politicizing impetus comes from, who it benefits at whose expense, what problems it solves, and what problems it creates.

As literary and cultural critics, we wish to consider "X Is Political" itself as a political statement that does not only describe, but also does things. What do we mean when we say that X is political? What are we trying to achieve? Are we reclaiming control over X? Are we trying to dignify X? Do we risk turning the political into a potentially normative and narrowing framework? Can it be emancipatory to deny that X is political? What becomes of X when it is made political? What becomes of politics when it encounters X?

Since the political as a category is extended to everything, papers might engage with these questions from any number of frameworks, including but not limited to: literature, race studies, gender and sexuality, social sciences, political science, post-colonial studies, law, philosophy, history. This list is meant to inspire engaging work, rather than providing an exhaustive list.