University of Minnesota
Cultural Studies & Comparative Literature
cscl@umn.edu
612-624-8099


Department of Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies

Shaping the World

Welcome to the Department of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature

With the inauguration of our new University president, Eric Kaler, we look forward to taking a central role in his foremost objective for his presidency, “improving what we do best.” Building on our long-time strengths and distinctions, we will be taking a leading role in moving the College of Liberal Arts toward the goals envisioned in its 2015 Plan.

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News & Events

  • The 3rd Annual Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature Conference September 26-27

    Call For Papers

    Intellectual Properties, or The Materialities of Communicative Production: Archive, Canon, Clone, Copy
    Extended Deadline: July 20th, 2014

    Keynote Speakers:
    Jane Gaines, Columbia University
    Peter Goodrich,
    Cardozo School of Law

    Let us suppose that the meaning of "intellectual property" were not limited to its common juridical usage. What if, rather than referring narrowly to the legalized ownership of mental creations it evokes the conditions, both mental and manual, under which knowledge is rendered inseparable from social production (along the lines of what Marx called the "general intellect")? Our conference takes the notion of "intellectual properties" as a launching pad for diverse inquiries into the production, reproduction and ordering of knowledge, bodies, and affects. We invite papers that critically examine the concepts and histories of intellectual property; we also encourage submissions that deal with related questions concerning authorship, ownership, identity, communicative labor, technological reproducibility, tradition, biopolitics--formations that relate human beings to things both of and not of their own making. More fundamentally, the conference asks how the changing status of "the intellect" under contemporary conditions affects our own work as thinkers, scholars, and teachers in the humanities and social sciences.

    Archive, canon, clone and copy are four ways in which the materialities of communicative production may be mapped onto the terrain of contemporary humanities and social sciences research. The terms are sites that determine the consistency of the intellect and its properties; they also provide models by which the intellect can be owned as "property." To whom do archives, broadly understood to include the spectrum from books to genes, belong? How do contemporary canonical formations (e.g. "world cinema," "literature in global English," "world music," "French theory") challenge and reinstitute the relations of property and propriety that were once called "tradition"? What is the relationship between media of technical reproducibility and increasingly elaborate regimes of intellectual property rights deployed in the sciences, humanities, and the public sphere? How does technical reproducibility work as a mode of biological and social reproduction in the age of digital convergence, cloning, and the proliferation of prostheses?
    We are interested in work that addresses the above concerns and related work, listed below are more possible topics.

    • Theoretical and historical perspectives on property and intellectuality
    • Communicative labor and general intellect
    • Materiality and embodiment of knowledge
    • Film, literature, music, their properties and property relations
    • Intersections between "local" "national" and "global" literatures, cinemas, and music.
    • The relationship between affect and intellect
    • Artificial Intelligence, cybernetics, self-organizing knowledge systems
    • Regimes of documentary evidence and the archive
    • Archive fever/desire for archives/the archival turn in film and literary studies
    • The politics of collective memory, institutional memory, and state memory
    • Subaltern and alternative archives
    • Virtual publics and virtual privacies
    • Cognitive mining and indigenous claims to knowledge
    • Exploitation of knowledge, knowledge as exploitative
    • Digital archivization and technologies of piracy
    • Intellectual prostheses in their technological, mechanical, or pharmacological modes
    • Hacking, culture-jamming, and graffiti
    • Institutional histories of intellectual property
    • Teaching, maieutics, the university under neoliberal restructuring
    • Politics of vernacular languages
    • Rights to digital commodities and virtual territory, concepts of virtual ownership
    • Mash-ups, slashes, re-mixes, parodies and communal repurposing
    • Economies and ecologies of social and biological reproduction
    • Intellectuals as a class and the role of the intellectual
    • Disciplinary history and genealogies of knowledge

    Please submit your abstract of no more than 300 words to UMNCSCLconference@gmail.com by July 20. Include your name, e-mail address, brief bio (including school affiliation, position, and research interests), and any audio-visual requirements. Papers should be in English and no more than 20 minutes in length. We are also interested in panel submissions, which should consist of at least three participants and which should include the above information about each participant and a tentative title indicating the theme.

    July 17th, 2014
  • Congratulations!

    Sean Nye has been awarded the Best Dissertation award in the Arts and Humanities for 2014.

    June 17th, 2014
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