Program in Comparative Literature

Thirteenth Annual

Graduate Association for Comparative Literature Students
September 24th & 25th, 2016

The Extra-human

In a 1917 essay, Freud noted that modern science had dealt three devastating blows to human pride: the Copernican revelation that the earth revolves around the sun, the Darwinian revelation that man shares a common ancestor with apes, and his own revelation that consciousness is mostly ruled by the unconscious. These three epistemological shifts imply a revision to, or even a rejection of human exceptionalism and a reorientation that emphasizes what is beyond the human, what is ahuman, inhuman, posthuman: extra-human.
We call for papers that explore the limits of what it means to be human and that investigate any aspect of the extra-human.  We encourage contributions that problematize the very idea of individualized subject formation; interrogate the role of the mass (re-)production of objects, identity, and language as discrete entities; and that trace the divisible limits distinguishing “the human,” “the animal,” and “the monstrous.” We welcome a wide array of theoretical and methodological approaches, including Marxist theory, rhetorical theory, animal studies, extra-textual analysis, feminist theory, queer theory, deconstructive theory, psychoanalytic theory, new materialisms, and post-colonial theory. We encourage papers from all departments, including literatures, rhetoric and writing, communication studies, political studies, anthropology, media and the arts—including the performance arts—and any historical or contemporary cultural context. We also invite projects that productively bring into dialogue interdisciplinary and comparative areas of study.

We call for papers that examine any aspect of the extra-human across notions of, for example:

  • The translator
  • Language, very broadly defined
  • The Self-Other dialectic
  • The sublime
  • Reification
  • Consumption
  • Animals and/or animality
  • Vegetal being
  • Monsters and the Monstrous
  • Cyborgs and Science-Fiction
  • Dehumanization
  • Xenophobia
  • The Dead and/or The Undead
  • Technicity or Mechanicity
  • The Object or Thing
  • The Divine or Sacred
  • Material Environs or the Environment
  • Bioethics, Biopolitics, and/or Biopower

The deadline for individual abstracts and round table papers is Friday, August 26, 2016. We ask for a 250-word abstract, the name of your affiliated institution, and your contact information. Please submit proposals to