[Msa-discuss] ACLA 2016 CFP

Scully, Matthew P. Matthew.Scully at tufts.edu
Mon Sep 21 14:01:02 EDT 2015

CFP: ACLA 2016 Panel, "Literary (De)Formations," Abstract DUE September 23

In her recent study, The Forms of the Affects (2014), Eugenie Brinkema announces, “We may well be at the beginning of what will eventually be called the twenty-first century ‘return to form’ in the humanities” (39). Brinkema marks MLQ’s special issue, “Reading for Form” (2000), which was later published as a collection of essays under the same name (2006), both edited by Susan J. Wolfson and Marshall Brown, as the beginning of this return to form. Meredith Martin’s The Rise and Fall of Meter: Poetry and English National Culture, 1860-1930 (2012) and Derek Attridge’s Moving Words: Forms of English Poetry (2013), to name only two of the many recent publications that address form, seem to support Brinkema’s claim. In Forms: Whole, Rhythm, Hierarchy, Network (2015), Caroline Levine broadens our conception of form, claiming, “Form, for our purposes, will mean all shapes and configurations, all ordering principles, all patterns of repetition and difference” (3). In this way, she nuances Brinkema’s claimed “return” by arguing that formalism of some kind persists in any reading practice, even professedly anti-formalist approaches such as historicism.

Any debate on form must begin with a discussion of the term as it appears in Plato and Aristotle with the Greek eidos and morphe. While Plato and Aristotle are largely responsible for inaugurating form’s place in ontology and in the history of metaphysics, form has come to be associated with aesthetics following Winckelmann, Kant, and, perhaps especially, Hegel in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Discussions of form, then, include considerations of form as an ontological concept, form in relation to content (genre), and form in relation to style. How does such a history help our engagement with form in the context of literature today?

This seminar seeks papers that address the recent critical focus on form, formalism, or formation. Rather than, or in addition to, reading for form, this seminar asks how do we think form? How is a form generated, produced? Is form an a priori or a posteriori construction? Are such temporal designations even useful? If form is an ordering principle, what happens to the materials ordered? What disturbs, disrupts, or disorders form?

Possible topics include:
• Form and temporality
• Interruptions, origins, and ends of form
• Form and figure, or figuration
• Negativity
• Literariness
• Theories of form, or philosophical approaches to form
• Order and disorder
• Systematicity

250-word abstracts (plus title and list of 5 keywords) must be submitted through the ACLA online portal. The portal will open on Sept. 1 and close on Sept. 23. For more information on submitting abstracts see, http://www.acla.org/annual-meeting.

Feel free to contact the seminar organizers (Matthew Scully, matthew.scully at tufts.edu<mailto:matthew.scully at tufts.edu>, and/or Nell Wasserstrom, nell.wasserstrom at bc.edu<mailto:nell.wasserstrom at bc.edu>) if you have questions about the submission process or the seminar.

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