Call for Papers & Presentations
Interdisciplinary questions of knowledge, innovation and academic becoming
3-4 April 2014
Humanities PhD Annual Graduate Conference
Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture
RESEARCHERS DEAL WITH INSTITUTIONS on a daily basis, and despite or because of various bureaucracies, the institution is often taken as given. But what of this often silent infrastructure which frames our activity, ideas and intellectual work, making demands of innovation and originality?
While Foucault notes that institutions freeze relations of power, Merleau-Ponty views ‘institution’ dynamically, as a creative force that brings about life. In either conception, institutions are powerful actors. While the word’s Latin root, statuo, gives rise to a number of English possibilities, institution and instituting encapsulate these different registers of noun and verb, static and dynamic, being and becoming.
This annual Graduate conference takes up the question of critical institution, asking how researchers see themselves and their work in relation to these processes of power and control.
How is knowledge constituted and instituted? Philosophy and theory can imbue the institution with life, vitally mediating subjectivity and nature. For Merleau-Ponty, the event of institution implies duration and “the demand of a future.” Knowledge and creation are instituted through a process of investigation, repetition, search and re-search.
Within the arts, as Andrea Fraser notes, historical practices of “institutional critique,” today, seem institutionalized—staid and uncontroversial. Should cultural workers instead, as Irit Rogoff states, “occupy and inhabit [institutions], in ways that can be interesting, critical and inventive?” Or, is it productive, following Fraser, to shift focus to the “institution of critique,” examining “critical claims of legitimizing discourses”? Such a shift may be imperative for practices of research-creation.
These trajectories are already asserted in similar threads of inquiry within activist, queer and feminist histories, posing critical challenges to organizational, social and cultural institutions. Can positing alternate models for new institutions and micro-institutions affect relevant social change? What can an examination of such institutions tell us about power relations in general or academia in particular?
We invite abstracts of 300 words or less in English and French, plus a 100 word biography.
For more detailed information, you may download the full PDF Call for Papers here.
Since 1973, the Humanities PhD Program has served Concordia University as a premier site of innovative research, providing students with opportunities to pursue interdisciplinary projects across fields in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Fine Arts. In 2007, the Humanities PhD Program became part of the newly created Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture. Learn more here: http://cissc.concordia.ca/phdinhumanities/