Michel Foucault: Discourse Theory and the Archive
(Göttingen University, 16 July 2016)
This year marks not only Michel Foucault’s 90th birthday, but also the 50th anniversary of the publication of his seminal book Let Mots et les Choses, which made Foucault a prominent intellectual figure throughout Europe. We would like to commemorate this double anniversary with a one-day symposium organised by the Department of British Literature and Culture at Göttingen University in cooperation with the Göttingen Center for Genderstudies and the Center for Theory of Culture and Society.
While Foucault has introduced many persistent concepts to the fields of critical, cultural, and literary theory, one that has increasingly attracted attention during the past ten to fifteen years is the archive.
Foucault himself employs the term ‘archive’ ambiguously (cf. Eliassen). Depending on context, the archive signifies
a) an analytical and systematic concept in Foucault’s historical epistemology as put forward in The Archaeology of Knowledge;
b) a historically embedded institution that registers, stores, processes, and provides data about populations and nations; and, last but not least,
c) a singular space that can be experienced aesthetically and that therefore belongs to a group of socially and historically constructed spaces that Foucault referred to elsewhere as ‘heterotopias’.
As concept, ‘the archive’ thus finds itself at the centre of several current academic debates and concerns. What is more, ‘the archive’ can often be seen as a driving force behind recent transformations of the fields of literary and cultural studies, heralding important turns such as the material, the spatial, or the medial turn.
We invite proposals for 20-minute papers that investigate the relevance of Michel Foucault and his concept of the archive for literary, cultural, and media studies.
Possible topics include, but are by no means limited to the following:
- Gender studies in/and the archive
- Literary museums and other places of literature
- Literature and digital archives
- The role of the archive in (post)colonial discourse
- The archive as a place of the contest between theory and practice
- Archives in media theory and media studies
- Archives in literature / Literature as archive
- The curation of things and objects and knowledge production
We intend to publish a selection of papers after the conference. One or two panels of the symposium will be reserved for young scholars. We therefore encourage graduate and postgraduate students to apply.
Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words, accompanied by a short biographical note to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than April 10. We will notify you by April 17.