The Department of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature is pleased to announce our upcoming conference "Aesthetics/Class/Worlds" on October 14 and 15th, 2011. We are honored to host two keynote speakers, Kristen Ross of New York University, author of The Emergence of Social Space: Rimbaud and the Paris Commune (1988) and May '68 and its Afterlives (2002) and Eric Cazdyn, author of The Flash of Capital: Film and Geopolitics in Japan (2002) and The Already Dead: The New Time of Politics, Culture and Illness (2011 forthcoming). Kristin Ross's lecture will be at Friday 10/14 at 7 pm in the Mississippi room in Coffman Union. Eric Cazdyn's lecture will be at Saturday 10/15 at 4:45 at the same location.
Our conference seeks to examine the many modes through which aesthetic practices testify to the tensions between the worlds people are determined by, live in, and create. Mediating global tendencies and local realities, these lived and imagined worlds often obscure the social relations in which they are ultimately rooted. Class, as a category that is manifest between economic and political forces, persists in helping us think through these tensions between worlds and "the" world. Broadly, we ask, how do aesthetic practices attempt to imagine the world while always remaining part of it? What is the role of aesthetic practices in the configuration of worldviews and everyday practices? To what extent is class a useful category to conceptualize the relationship between aesthetics and the worlds that people produce, intervene in, and reflect? How has aesthetics, as a constitutive element of history, changed in our digital age? Some of the presentation topics will include: Marxism, utopia in and of America, new media, philosophy and aesthetics, technology, and neoliberalism,.