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Literary Representations of Uprisings: Elucidation, Evaluation, Categorization, and Comparison

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Organizer: Srdjan Cvjeticanin

Co-Organizer: Vassilis Lambropoulos

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This seminar is interested in the literary representations of various forms of uprising—revolution, insurgency, revolt, disobedience, occupation, counterrevolutionary movements, anti-imperialism, etc.—and the differences between and within them. We aim to investigate such representations by bringing them into dialogue with theoretical models of uprising, stretching from Hegel and Marx to Nietzsche, Thoreau, Luxemburg, Lenin, Mao, and Fanon, as well as more contemporary models, such as Negri’s, Foucault’s, Laclau’s, Spivak’s, Badiou’s, etc., or those articulated by environmentalist movements, the Invisible Committee, the sans-papier, Queer Theory, Afro-Pessimism, etc.

We use the term ‘uprising’ in order to encompass the multitude forms of confronting and engaging social, political, and economic conflicts, crises, or antinomies. In so doing, we nonetheless aim to respect their differences in various registers, from presuppositions and conceptualizations, to grounds and causes, to objectives and strategies. We also want to allow for analyses that are contextually situated, in the sense of recognizing that different contexts permit and demand different logics and movements, i.e., it is not always only about immediate revolution.

With respect to its objects, the seminar limits itself to uprisings as represented in novels, poems, short stories, and theater, across languages and historical periods. While most often such studies consider a single political movement from a single unified perspective, we also invite scholarship that compares the representation of a particular uprising across languages, genres, or periods.

Our goal is to: a) elucidate, evaluate, and categorize the literary representations through theoretical models; b) to compare such representations and analyses from different languages, genres, and periods; or c) position the literary representations as challenging theoretical models. We are also open to analyses of contemporary social movements, but only insofar as they are elucidated, evaluated, and categorized through established theoretical models or literary representations.

We especially invite counterintuitive analyses, namely those that take up literary representations that may not be commonly or immediately considered as representations of uprisings, especially if they merit the designation of revolutionary as opposed to something lesser, so to speak, or even outright opposite, but can, and should be so considered; and, from the other side, analyses of what appear as, or are commonly taken to be representations of such movements but which ultimately fail as a result of misconceiving their objective situations or necessary strategies. Finally, we also invite analyses of the failures of various literary representations of uprising, especially when they appear to success in their ambitions but fail nonetheless.

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