European Summer School for Cultural Studies

Leiden/Amsterdam 20 - 24 juni 2016

Call for papers

In Margins of Philosophy, Jacques Derrida notes that “it is a mistake to believe in the immediate and ahistorical legibility of a philosophical argument.” The 2016 European Summer School for Cultural Studies departs from the idea that this warning pertains not just to philosophical inquiry, but across academic disciplines, from literary and media studies to law, architecture and the social sciences. It is of particular urgency in a rapidly globalizing world in which the legibility of flows of capital, goods (including cultural products) and people is seen as key to prosperity and security, and in a machine-­‐ centric universe (Lazzarato) in which an ever-­‐larger part of the texts and images that surround us are based on binary code and algorithms.

Given that legibility and traditional reading methods can no longer be taken for granted, we want to ask what it means for something to be (considered) legible and what the stakes and limits of such legibility are. What are the new conditions, forms and technologies of legibility and what is its temporality and spatiality in a globalizing world? How does cultural and historical difference impact legibility, traditionally considered as accessibility and assimilability? What new ways of reading (and kinds of readers) are emerging in relation to old and new media – from distant, surface and descriptive reading to automated perception and data mining, from the Thumbelina (Serres) to the vision machine (Virilio) – and what do they imply about the modes and aims of (il)legibility? What kinds of agency and subjectivations do they afford or presuppose? What values are attached to (il)legibility in discussions about privacy and security, in the ubiquitous imagery of the black box or in museum and archiving practices? And how does the legible relate to the law (to which it has been etymologically linked) and to the sensible or affective?

We welcome papers dealing with these questions from cultural, literary, cinematic, material, affective, technological, machinic, linguistic and other perspectives, including the meta-­‐perspective reflecting on the (il)legibility of our own academic writing, especially in interdisciplinary contexts.

The Summer School will feature keynote lectures and master-­‐classes by senior scholars (to be confirmed), as well as paper sessions in which PhD candidates and other young scholars address the theme of legibility in relation to their own research. Abstracts (max. 300 words) with a short bio (max. 150 words) should be submitted to nica-­‐fgw@uva.nl by 24 January 2016. You will be informed whether your contribution has been accepted by 7 February 2016. Papers will be circulated before the conference and will have to be submitted, in full (max. 4,000 words), by 1 May 2016.

For PhD students and RMA students associated with NICA, there is a possibility to earn 5 ECTS if certain requirements are met. For more information, please contact the organizers.

The ESSCS is an annual network-­‐based event offering interdisciplinary research training in the fields of art and culture. The network comprises the University of Amsterdam, Leiden University, the University of Copenhagen, the University of Giessen, Goldsmiths University, the Université de Paris VIII, the Lisbon Consortium and the University of Trondheim.

Organizers: Pepita Hesselberth (LUCAS/NICA) and Esther Peeren (ASCA/NICA).