Apologies for cross-posting. Please consider submitting a paper for the ACLA seminar (March 7-10 2019, Washington, DC) “Reiterating Speech, Rescripting Power: Authorization, Legitimacy and New Subjectivities in Printed Polemics” we have co-organized (linked here and copied below). We welcome contributions from scholars across disciplines, time periods, languages, and area studies that attend to the ways in which printed polemics contest and rescript power. Please fell free to forward to any graduate students and/or colleagues in your program or your wider network who might be interested. And you, of course!
Many thanks in advance,
Chelsea Stieber and Kathrina LaPorta
Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies
Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
The Catholic University of America
Washington, DC 20064
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Reiterating Speech, Rescripting Power: Authorization, Legitimacy and New Subjectivities in Printed Polemics
Organizer: Chelsea Stieber
Co-Organizer: Kathrina LaPorta
In “Restaging the Universal” Judith Butler describes the possibilities of reiterative speech acts to challenge the conventional and exclusionary norms of an established discourse. This form of “political performativity,” she argues, “recites and restages a set of cultural norms that displace legitimacy from a presumed authority to the mechanism of its renewal. Such a shift renders more ambiguous - and more open to reformulation - the mobility of legitimation in discourse” (40–41).
This seminar will explore the possibilities of reiterative speech acts to challenge the norms of absolutist, colonial, and/or statist discourse(s) via a specific form: printed polemic. From the early sixteenth century, for example, the pamphlet enjoyed a privileged status both as a governmental tool and an instrument of political critique. Pamphlets/pamphleteers effectively performed their own authority, staking claims in the public sphere even as they lacked the “right” to do so. Printed polemic is thus central to questions of authority, legitimacy, and print, as polemicists deployed the written word to contest the legitimacy and presumed authority of established power in order to forge new subjectivities and construct new publics.
We are interested in how printed polemics are deployed to expose the limits and exclusions of established discourses of power in order to mobilize new claims of legitimacy and subjectivity. We welcome contributions from scholars across disciplines, time periods, languages, and area studies that attend to the ways in which printed polemics contest and rescript power.
Papers may address the following questions as they relate to polemical texts (pamphlets, broadsides/broadsheets, posters, signs):
Subjectivities. How are new speaking/writing subjectivities created through counterdiscourse?
Form and content. How does the print culture of polemic intersect with the literary sphere? How are iterability/(re)citation at work in forms of printed polemic, as well as in the codes and structures of the genre? Can this print culture script the ways that later political revolt enacts its own legitimation in the public sphere?
Material textuality. How does production, dissemination, and reception shape printed polemic’s relationship to power and condition the possibility of restaging power? What are the material traces left behind, in the archive or in the echoes produced by intertextuality?
Counterdiscourse. How have historians and critics categorized the reiterative counterdiscursive strategies we identify in polemical writing: Vindication? Refutation? Guerre de plume/paper war?
Circulation and censorship. How do questions of circulation (written or oral) inflect upon the reception of printed polemics in their own time and subsequently by scholars?