[csaa-forum] CFP - Melancholic States

Melissa Gregg m.gregg at uq.edu.au
Fri Aug 11 08:38:38 CST 2006

Apologies for cross-posting.


From: Association for Cultural Studies [mailto:ACS at uta.fi] On Behalf Of
Fortier, Anne-Marie (by way of Johan Fornas)
Sent: Wednesday, 9 August 2006 11:30 PM
To: ACS at uta.fi
Subject: [ACS] CFP - conference on Melancholic States

27-29 SEPTEMBER 2007

The concept of melancholia has assumed widespread and varied currency
across numerous fields. Sometimes used to refer to a state of mind or to
an affective state; sometimes used to speak of racialised, gendered, or
queer subjectivity; other times used as a tool of analysis of political
states or as a mobilising tool to convene constituencies of solidarity;
yet other times, melancholia founds collective memory and associated
artefactual practices, or describes the conditions of professional
practice organised around a public service ethic. Positioned as a
condition to be claimed, transcended, or negotiated, 'melancholic
states' seemingly speaks to the contemporary zeitgeist - the
post/neo-colonial era.

The provenance of the concept of melancholia in psychoanalysis and the
proliferation of its use elsewhere, offer grounds for revisiting the
potential and limits of the concept - this conference aims to explore
the ways in which the idea of 'melancholic states' speaks to the
complexity of the present.

We encourage papers from various inter-disciplinary backgrounds namely
women studies, postcolonial, critical race, critical psychology,
politics, international relations, sociology, anthropology, geography,
art and design, queer studies, that address, among others, the following
* what is the relationship between melancholia and the turn to questions
of affect, emotion, and feeling within the social sciences and
* what new analytical avenues are potentially opened up or closed down
by the mobilisation or deployment of the concept of melancholia?
* is its analytical traction geographically, temporally, and politically
limited and limiting?
* is melancholia imbricated in the current preoccupation with borders
and border identities, within academic debates and politics rhetorics?
* does melancholia provide the grounds for a critical and theoretically
informed response to a political present increasingly organised around
the axis of democracy/terror?
* in what ways might it offer the grounds for the formation of
solidarities and constituencies of belonging 'locally' and/or
transnationally, in which feeling is identified as a legitimate and
central axis?
* what might the limitations of such solidarities be, especially in a
context in which it is increasingly difficult to articulate clear
political identities in the current conjunction of global/national
political agendas?
* can melancholic states further or renew an understanding of
identifications involved in responses to international calls for aid?
* to what extent is melancholia and/or hope the condition motivating
NGO's in their work on poverty and/or the environment?
* are the subjectivities of public sector professionals increasingly
characterised by melancholia in the context of the demise of the public
service ethic?
* in what ways is collective memory organised around melancholia and how
might this impact on the selection, design and production of objects and
practices of remembrance?
* is a melancholic state a productive site for artistic practices that
interrogate forms of subjection and violence?
* are melancholic states and various forms of spiritual practice
mutually imbricated or mutually exclusive?
* can it help grasp the complexities of historical and contemporary
subjectivities as produced and lived at the intersection of numerous
modalities of difference?
* to what extent are melancholic subjects produced by competing social
imaginaries, and how are these played out in everyday life?
* is melancholia the condition of the desiring subject of the 21st

Abstracts of no more than 500 words to be submitted by 23 APRIL 2007.
Please send to: Gail Lewis g.a.lewis at lancaster.ac.uk; or Nayanika
Mookherjee n.mookherjee at lancaster.ac.uk
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