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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

CSCL Conference "Aesthetics/Class/Worlds" October 14-15, 2011

Join the Department of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature for their 2nd annual conference "Aesthetics/Class/Worlds" on October 14-15, 2011 on the University of Minnesota's East Bank Campus. The conference is free and open to the public and will feature key note speakers Kristin Ross (NYU) and Eric Cazdyn (Univ of Toronto).

Click here for a conference schedule.
Our conference seeks to examine the many modes through which aesthetic practices testify to the tensions between the worlds people are determined by, live in, and create. Mediating global tendencies and local realities, these lived and imagined worlds often obscure the social relations in which they are ultimately rooted. Class, as a category that is manifest between economic and political forces, persists in helping us think through these tensions between worlds and "the" world. Broadly, we ask, how do aesthetic practices attempt to imagine the world while always remaining part of it? What is the role of aesthetic practices in the configuration of worldviews and everyday practices? To what extent is class a useful category to conceptualize the relationship between aesthetics and the worlds that people produce, intervene in, and reflect? How has aesthetics, as a constitutive element of history, changed in our digital age? And what does it mean to ask these kinds of questions at this particular juncture when disciplines in the humanities once again face crisis everywhere?
From our position in a department committed to radical thought and cultural criticism, we sense the urgency in asking these questions now, as departments confront neoliberal restructuring and impending closure. Programs in the humanities continue to face misrecognition: while we still traffic in traditional forms such as novels and films, we have long been asking representational questions that challenge discrete disciplinary constraints by weaving text and context. To counter this misrecognition, we insist that this approach is, as always, fundamentally political. We thus welcome work that examines conditions at sites of intellectual labor across disciplines, as well as in broader global modes of production and aesthetic practice.