“Defaults and Difference” – Conference in Linguistic Anthropology

“Defaults and Difference”
The Fourteenth University of Michigan – University of Chicago Graduate Student
Conference in Linguistic Anthropology
To be held at the University of Chicago, May 11th& 12th, 2012

Deadline for abstract submissions: Friday, March 30th, 2012

Keynote Speaker:
Elizabeth Povinelli, Department of Anthropology, Columbia University

The annual Michicagoan Conference focuses on the social and cultural analysis
of semiotic forms centering on language, providing graduate students with an
attentive forum in which to present their work and have it discussed by faculty
and students from both universities. We welcome work from students at all
stages, and encourage participants to submit formal conference papers as well
as to discuss their dissertation proposals and research reports. Commentators
for each panel are drawn from participating faculty. The conference promotes
ongoing scholarly exchange and collaboration among students and faculty of the
two institutions and regional affiliates.

The theme for this year’s meeting, “Defaults and Difference,” considers
asymmetrical discursive processes and events that appear automatic,
un(re)marked, and often unremarkable to speakers. Such “defaults,” which
seem to us to be at play and under negotiation at a variety of scales of human
interaction, pose a number of questions that presenters might want to consider.
For example, what kinds of social and semiotic work are involved in the
“setting” (and “resetting”) of linguistic, interactional, and
institutional defaults? Given their background-like qualities and seeming
automaticity, how susceptible to speakers’ awareness are defaults in language
use, both at the denotational and interactional planes? How do speakers
maintain, repair, and subvert default communicative assumptions and routines?
Of particular interest here are cases where such defaults might be implicated
in interactional asymmetries, institutional hierarchies, and the making of
social difference. In what ways do discursive defaults constitute a modality of
(or means for gaining) power, authority, and control? And, finally, how are
broader socio-historical exigencies—for example, mass-mediatized circulation,
migration, political change—shaping discursive defaults and perhaps providing
new sites at which speakers struggle to “set” them? Our theme is meant to
be broad enough to accommodate many different research projects while
encouraging productive discussion oriented around a common range of concerns.

Presenters will have 15 minutes to give their papers, and will be asked to
submit completed papers to their assigned respondent by April 25th. There is no
registration fee. Travel expenses for Michigan students, and the cost of most
meals, will be covered.

To propose a presentation, please submit the following materials, as email text
or attachment, to Christopher Bloechl at cbloechl@gmail.com or Britta
Ingebretson at ingebretson@gmail.com by March 30th, 2012:

1. Title of presentation
2. Type of presentation: paper, proposal, or report
3. Last and first name, in that order
4. University and departmental affiliation
5. Email address
6. Abstract of no more than 250 words
7. Audio-visual requirements for delivery

(Please specify in the email the number and file type of any attachments; we
don’t open attachments we’re not expecting). All other inquiries, including
questions concerning access for persons with disabilities, can be directed to
Christopher Bloechl or Britta Ingebretson. Please feel free to circulate this
announcement widely among students in programs in anthropology, linguistics,
sociology, communication, etc., who may be interested in participating.

Posted in: Calls for Papers and Upcoming Conferences, CEERES Events/News

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