Writing Itself

1 July 2014 - 2 July 2014

CRASSH, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, CB3 9DT - SG1&2

Register online via the link at the top right hand side of this page
Conference fee: £50 (full), £25 (students) - includes lunch and tea/coffee
Accommodation at Queens' College: £40 per night (please note that the number of rooms is limited to 20 and that they will be allocated on a first come first served basis)

Deadline: Wednesday 25 June

Convenors

Josh Robinson (Cardiff University)

John Regan (University of Cambridge) 

Catherine Pickstock (University of Cambridge)

Summary

In ‘When Things Strike Back’ Bruno Latour takes issue with the traditional narrative according to which the laboratory offers the most impartial conditions for the disinterested mastery of its objects of investigation, and tells in its place a story in which a laboratory creates the conditions in which objects are rendered ‘able to object to the utterances that we make about them’. This conference will bring together researchers with a range of disciplinary backgrounds (including literary studies, philosophy, theology, history, law) with research interests in writing of different kinds to reflect on the kinds of conditions that can allow or enable writing to make this kind of objection. How might we enable writing of different kinds to object, to demonstrate its agency, to take issue with the things that we say about it, with what it seems to say or what we want it to say? Questions that participants might like to address include:

  • What are the conditions of possibility of giving an account of the efficacy of writing?
  • What is the relationship between the materiality of writing and its particular intervention into the world?
  • How might we understand relationships between efficacious writing and efficacious speech? Is the efficacy of writing different from that of incantation or of performative utterances?
  • Are there gains or losses to thinking of any one mode of efficacious language as a model for another? And what are the consequences of these considerations for our own writing practices?
  • What are the effects of the bringing of writing into focus as a topic of study for our understanding of the relationship of writing to other kinds of epistemic activity?
  • What are the different kinds of conceptual work that can be carried out by the different concepts—among them rhetoric, poiesis, style, idiom, trope, figure, grammar, syntax, font, character, medium, form—with which we attempt to think about writing, and what might they neglect?
  • What do different ways of thinking about writing enable us to know, and how does this knowledge in turn inform our choices as to what and how we write?
     

Sponsors

 

Supported by the Centre for Research in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CRASSH) and the School of English, Communication and Philosophy, Cardiff University.
 
Administrative assistance: conferences@crassh.cam.ac.uk

DAY 1 - Tuesday 1 July

10.30-11.00

Registration

11.00-12.30

Miguel de Beistegui (University of Warwick): The Ontology of Metaphor
Respondent: Simone Kotva (University of Cambridge)

12.30-13.45

Lunch

13.45-15.15

Rob Lehman (Boston College): Letters for the Blind
Respondent: Luke Skrebowski (University of Cambridge)

15.15-15.45

Coffee break

15.45-17.15

Melanie Williams (University of Exeter): Responding to Latour – Law and Literature and the “Objecting Object”
Respondent: Adam Kola (Nicolaus Copernicus University)

DAY 2 - Wednesday 2 July

9.30-10.30

Reflection on the proceedings of day 1, led by Ewan Jones (University of Cambridge)

10.30-11.00

Coffee break

11.00-12.30

Audrey Wasser (University of Chicago): What Writing Knows: Stein’s The Making of Americans and the Two Senses of the Aesthetic
Respondent: Peter de Bolla (University of Cambridge)

12.30-13.45

Lunch

13.45-15.15

Ruth Abbott (University of Cambridge): George Eliot, Researching Writing 
Respondent: Jocelyn Betts (University of Cambridge)

15.15-15.45

Coffee break

15.45-17.15

John Milbank (University of Nottingham): Grammar and the Order of Learning: Marshall McLuhan, Cambridge English and Beyond 
Respondent: Laura Kilbride (University of Cambridge)