[Msa-discuss] CFP for ACLA 2019: Revisions of Fascism: History, Aesthetics, Affect

Kristin L Canfield kristin.canfield at utexas.edu
Thu Sep 13 10:17:56 EDT 2018

CFP: abstracts due September 20th:

Please consider submitting an abstract for a seminar I am organizing with
Sanders Bernstein at ACLA 2019 (Georgetown University in Washington DC from
March 7-10, 2019). If you have questions feel free to contact me at
kristin.canfield at utexas.edu. Thanks!

Revisions of Fascism: History, Aesthetics, Affect


“The logical outcome of fascism is an aestheticizing of political life,”
writes Walter Benjamin in "The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological
Reproducibility," thus placing aesthetics at the center of the critical
discourse on fascism. Employed in work as disparate as Klaus Theweleit’s *Male
Fantasies*(1977/1987) and Erin Carlston’s *Thinking Fascism* (1995), Alice
Kaplan’s *Reproductions of Banality* (1986) and Mark Christian
Thompson’s *Black
Fascisms*(2007), Benjamin’s concept has situated fascism as a historical
and phenomenological phenomenon. Reproduced incessantly, this line of
Benjamin’s refuses to resolve into a single tradition of thought, a
crystallized image. What—as we still feel we must ask in our current moment
of danger—does it mean for fascism to be the “aestheticizing of political

This seminar explores this question of aesthetics through the
interrelations of fascism, visual culture, historiography, and the body,
considering how Benjamin’s “aestheticizing of political life” might be
understood as a name for a particular aesthetics of history. In other
words, how does the aestheticization and mediation of history—a mediation
that often relies on new media technologies—become a key site for the
consolidation or contestation of fascist power? Can one say that fascism
takes form through history? (I.e., is there a way of telling history in
which fascism inheres?) And what is the status of different media, or
genres, in the production of these histories?

While this seminar seizes upon history—as expressed within literary,
filmic, or photographic texts—as a potentially central location for the
dissemination of fascism, Benjamin’s emphasis on aesthetics remains at its
heart, as it is the aesthetics of these histories which work upon and
engage their audiences. Thus, it is also very interested in the analyses
about effects and affects of histories imbricated with fascism. How does
fascist history feel? How does it affect its audience? To what extent does
historiography regulate and discipline the body (anatamo- or
bio-politically)? Might the body be the form of fascist history?

Committed to interdisciplinary and intermedial approaches, this seminar
welcomes work on popular as well as canonical literature, film, and
photography. It is neither temporally nor geographically limited
(transnational projects encouraged!), though it does encourage historically
specific work. We are likewise interested in work that utilizes feminist
and queer approaches as well as critical race theory.
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