Conference Schedule

“Whole Worlds: Systems of Affect, Capital, Aesthetics” will be held at the University of Chicago on February 13 and 14, 2014.  All conference events will be in Rosenwald 405.

For a draft PDF of the schedule, please follow the link below: wholeWorldsProgram

Thursday, February 13

4:30] Keynote with Mark Seltzer
“The Official World”

Immediately following the keynote, please enjoy a light reception with Prof. Seltzer and conference attendees.

Mark Seltzer is Evan Frankel Professor of Literature at the University of California at Los Angeles.  He has previously taught at Cornell, and at the Free University and the Humboldt University in Berlin, and been a visitor at Harvard and Stanford and at the Max Planck Institute in Berlin.  His most recent books are Bodies and Machines; Serial Killers: Death and Life in America’s Wound Culture; True Crime: Observations on Violence and Modernity; and, forthcoming, The Official World.

Friday, February 14

8:30-9:00] Breakfast Available

8:45] Opening Remarks
Rowan Bayne & Michael Dango

9:00-10:20] Panel I
Consistent Aesthetics: Logics and Poetics
Moderated by Heather Keenleyside

  • Tyler Easterbrook (UNC), “Conceptual Worlds and the Problem of Truth in Literary Form”
  • Thomas Johnson (UC Davis), “Modality of Collapse: The Oppositional Constant
  • Rebecca Ariel Porte (Michigan), “Wallace Stevens and His Worlds of Logic”

10:30-11:50] Panel II
Affective Economies: Capital & Subjectivity
Moderated by Chris Taylor

  • Chris Westcott (Hopkins), “Drilling the Dialectic, or How Capital Makes Itself Felt”
  • Orlando S. Reade (Princeton), “Shakespeare’s Wide and/or Vile world”
  • Matthew Hubbell (Chicago), “Smiley Faces and Frownlands: Cinematic Performance, Affective Mapping, and the Feeling of Ordinary Worlds”

12:00-1:20] Discussion with Mark Seltzer; Lunch Available

1:30-2:50] Panel III
Scale Worlds: Modeling the Whole
Moderated by Hillary Chute

  • Ingrid Becker (Chicago), “ ‘The University is a Microcosm’: Robert Hutchins, Postwar Intellectuals, and Global Stability”
  • Hadji Bakara & Maggie Taft (Chicago), “The World Picture in the Age of Corporate Art: Herbert Bayer, The World Geographic Atlas, and the Redesign of the World Economy”
  • Pelin Kivrak (Yale), “Making World Literature: Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence as a Case Study for the Theories on Literary Worlds”

3:00-4:20] Panel IV
World Networks: Contemporary Global Novels
Moderated by Patrick Jagoda

  • Anastatia Curley (Virginia), “City of Bohane’s Narrative Cosmopolitanism”
  • Nami Shin (Rutgers), “A Contingent Whole: Narrative Space as a Network of Intimacy in Aleksandar Hemon’s Nowhere Man
  • Ragini Tharoor Srinivasan (Berkeley), “Is There a Call Center Literature? Tech-Support, Self-Help, and the Novel of New India”

4:30] Closing Remarks
Michael Dango & Rowan Bayne







Call for Proposals

Literary and cultural study have developed overlapping vocabularies to triangulate “worlds” on multiple scales: the psychic worlds of psychoanalytic consciousness invested in the labor of repair, the sociocultural worlds of artistic and political community apprehending a space for multiplicity to endure, and global worlds of transnational capital that totalize the capture of exchange.  With so many worlds, is there a whole world or a world that is whole? What marks off a space as a world and what mechanisms mediate between a world and its own sense of wholeness? What are the parts that compose a whole world or the procedures that give to a world the fantasy of wholeness? What is the place of art-objects in developing and sustaining worlds and in what ways do worlds either totalize or resist closure?

The University of Chicago Department of English invites graduate student proposals for conference papers at the intersections of affective, political, and aesthetic theories under the concepts of wholeness and worlds. Possible paper topics may focalize literary or cultural texts from any period and may engage in conversations with such fields and subjects as:

  • psychoanalysis and the management of part- and whole- objects;
  • systems theory and the autopoiesis of worlds;
  • literary realism and the mediation between aesthetic and political worlds;
  • fictional worlds theory and the administration of novelistic space;
  • global capital and the transnational organization of cultural exchange;
  • ecological criticism and the preservation of symbiotic worlds;
  • new media, virtual worlds, global connectivity, and the nodes of immaterial networks;
  • game worlds and the demarcation of spaces of play;
  • empire, sovereignty, and exceptional spaces;
  • population studies and the control of cultural and social worlds;
  • ambient poetics and the curation of atmospheric reading environments;
  • queer counterpublics assembled in and against homonationalism;
  • speculative realism and the mereology of object-oriented ontologies;
  • art objects and collectives as representative or subversive microcosms;
  • computational methodologies and mapping world literatures;
  • periodization and the compartmentalization of world-historical time; and
  • archival worlds in and against world canons.

Submit 250-300 word abstracts to by November 1.  Please include a brief academic biography.  Presentations will be about 20 minutes in length (approx. 8-10 double spaced pages).


Sponsored by the Department of English, the Department of Cinema and Media Studies, the Franke Institute, the Nicholson Center for British Studies, The Scherer Center for the Study of American Culture, the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory and the Division of the Humanities at the University of Chicago.

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