(E)racing Theory, (En)gendering Praxis Graduate Student Conference Department of Comparative Literature UC Irvine

Department: Gender and Sexuality Studies

Date and Time: March 2, 2017 - March 3, 2017 | TBA-8:00 AM

Event Location: TBA

Event Details


(E)racing Theory, (En)gendering Praxis

Graduate Student Conference
Department of Comparative Literature
UC Irvine

March 2-3 2017
In her 1987 essay “The Race for Theory,” black studies scholar Barbara Christian asked if the rise
of critical theory in humanities departments was a form of university gatekeeping, as it coincided with the development and expansion of black studies as a department and field of inquiry within the academy. She wrote, “for whom are we doing what we are doing, when we do literary criticism,” with the implication being that critical theory’s obfuscatory language and concern with continental philosophy and white European cultural production was an oblique way of delegitimizing and sidelining scholarship by and about ethnic and/or gender minorities. Christian went on to suggest that rather than reading theory onto cultural producers and their texts, scholars should interpret the theorizing that cultural producers and their texts perform: “my folk . . . have always been a race for theory--though more in the form of the hieroglyph, a written figure which is both sensual and abstract, both beautiful and communicative. In my own work, I try to illuminate and explain these hieroglyphs, which is, I think, an activity quite different from the creating of hieroglyphs themselves.”

If critical theory is often suggested as a lens with which to read cultural texts, then Christian deconstructs the binary between theory and practice in order to create space for less hegemonic theories, including theories which are embodied, performed, gendered, raced, and erased. Christian’s intervention reverberates in the work of José Esteban Muñoz, a foundational figure of performance studies and queer of color critique. In his Influential work, Disidentifications; Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics (1999), Muñoz wrote; “...for me, the making of theory only transpires after the artists’ performance of counterpublicity is realized for my own disidentificatory eyes,” formulating the cultural producer as the generator, or instigator, of theory, and the theorist’s response as situated within their own subjectivity/particularity.

Instead of partaking in the race for Theory, we are interested in (e)racing Theory as a means of destabilizing controlling discourses, (en)gendering an approach to praxis that questions theoretical hierarchies and the role of the cultural producer, and exploring the discursive interplay between Critical Theory, Ethnic Studies, and Gender and Sexuality Studies. We would like to invite graduate, and undergraduate, students working across and between the humanities, arts, and social sciences to submit papers that attempt to interrogate the binate conception of theory/praxis and theorist/cultural producer, and/or critical theory/literature. Possible topics include:

-global feminisms
-decolonization and deimperialization
-subjugated knowledges and subaltern histories
-“minor” literatures and area studies
-untranslatability and “world” literature
-critical theory and imperialism
-the constitution of canonical texts in literary criticism
-the special relationship between theorists and cultural producers
-genesis of theoretical concepts
-affect
-translation and adaptation
- anti-blackness, racialization and critical theory
-performance studies
-queer(ing) theory
-historicizing theoretical debates
-writers, translators, filmmakers, and visual & performing artists as theorists
-theory in public and institutionalized spaces
- theory as performance; performance as theory
-pedagogy, theory & praxis

We are now accepting paper and panel proposals from graduate and undergraduate students. For paper proposals, please send abstracts of 250 - 350 words along with a short biographical note. For panel proposals, please send a short panel description of 150-200 words and a short biographical note for each presenter, along with abstracts of 250-350 words for each individual paper (Panels are 3-4 presenters).  We strongly encourage undergraduate students who wish to submit their papers to work with a faculty advisor or graduate student mentor.

Please send proposals and enquiries to -  eracingtheoryengenderingpraxis@gmail.com

Submission Deadline - December 1, 2016

Web: https://eracingtheoryengenderingpraxis.wordpress.com/callforpapers/