Call for Papers: ACLA

Ruth Hung has asked that we post this CFP for the ACLA of 2011.  If you are interested, please contact Ruth at or check the ACLA Website at  Thanks.

The panel invites comparatists to reflect on the spectral aesthetics of state power, to investigate how it colonizes a population’s mind, limits its imaginative possibilities, and yet creates new subject formations.  The Derridean word “specters” is a point of departure.  This seminar agrees that the spectral world of capital creates a “phantom State” and evacuates public spaces.  It departs from the “Cold War mentality,” reflected in Derrida, and sees the traffic between the U.S. and China as evidence of an emergent neoconservative world of state power and imaginative deprivation as one cause of the current crisis in thinking.  This seminar proposes that the way forward for a comparative critical humanist is to understand how state power, spectral and spectacular, now takes offense not, as during the cold war, at any one competing worldview but at the very root of the humanistic belief that the human’s desire to imagine and create alternative realities should know no limit.  Building on the study of earlier spectral forms —
the novel, propaganda, and advertising — it seeks to understand how in most recent global media events, powerful states establish specters of their own insurmountable power to create new forms of subjectivity settled within consumerism, religion, and the passivity of the status quo.  These specters (such as the bombing of Baghdad, the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics, the military parades at the People’s Republic of China’s 60th anniversary) also threaten violence against any imaginable alternatives to their own domination of the norms of life.


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