9th Annual Concordia University English Literature Graduate Colloquium
March 24-25-26, 2011
Attending (to) the Party: Orientations and Simulacra of Public and Private Sites
Everyone's alone — or so it seems to me.
They make noises, and think they are talking to each other;
They make faces, and think they understand each other.
And I'm sure they don't. Is that a delusion?
Throughout history, the notion of ‘party’ has served as a site for exploring prevailing liminalities: from ideological display to decorous intimacies to social multitudes, the party has served as a means of further repressing or extolling self within private and public domains, projecting identity formations of the other, or combating the enigmatic reflections of the public world. The dialectic of inclusion and exclusion—who is invited into a space, a sphere, an identity—has been used as a social tool and political wedge while at once advancing the bounds of restraint within prescribed modes of behaviour. Distinctions and delineations of such orientations in literature have never been straightforward: least of all today, where boundaries of private and public are more blurred than ever. How is a performance of belonging or of ‘being private’ received within a crowd, a gathering, a nation, or in a culture of social networking—do reflections or simulations of the ‘party’ ever stop? Is artifice encouraged by the heteroglossia, the absurdities of the carnivalesque, inversions of decorum? Individuals and collectives both encounter and anticipate fusions of the expected and unexpected in their search to negotiate lines between indulgences, reasonable parts/parties, or embodiments of culture. The notion of the party is not—and has never been—confined to the limits of social space, but rather is a transitory site of individual and group. Both textual and inter-textual notions of ‘party’ may include cocktail gatherings, reflections on singularity, revolutionary mobs, the construction of online identities, or a middling of ‘inbetweeness’. It is a site of shared intersection—or collision. It is circuitousness, it is necessity; amid orientations of debauchery, protest, subsumption, or migration—singly or all at once.
We invite papers focusing on the following themes:
-Party of one: identity projections
-Figuring decorum: alterations & presentations of normalcy
-Simulacrum: masks, constructions & artifice
-Sites of (in)visibility: notions of exclusion and inclusion
-Block party: politics, affiliations, negotiating lines
Concordia University's English Literature Graduate Colloquium examines the dynamics of ‘party’, prompting dialogues from all gathering points: from the political to the bacchanal, from the physical to the philosophical. We invite graduate students to contribute to this interdisciplinary English Literature colloquium by submitting a 200-250 word abstract to attendingtheparty (at) gmail.com by February 10, 2011.