CFP – Sound and Silence – GLITS – 4 May 2018

GLITS Annual Graduate Interdisciplinary Conference 2018:

Sound and Silence

Date: June 8th 2018

Venue: Goldsmiths, University of London



Plenary speaker: Dr Holly Pester, University of Essex

Holly Pester is a poet and lecturer at the University of Essex, working in sound, song and speech-based poetics.

“I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.”

Audre Lorde, Your Silence Will Not Protect You

“I came to think that silence may be the only ‘place’ in which the boundaries of the autonomous self can dissolve, can be penetrated without breaking.”

Sara Maitland, A Book of Silence

Sound and silence occupy an inherently complex and paradoxical relation to meaning, as both its antithesis and its very essence. Sound figures as both Pope’s “echo to the sense” and the irrefutable noise of the Real. Silence designates absence and the impossibility thereof, as Cage famously proclaimed, “I have nothing to say and I am saying it.” How these sonic signals are interpreted and contested determines who can speak, who makes noise, who is silenced – which subjects are permitted and legitimised and which are discredited and repressed.

Anne Carson sees the dichotomy of sound as irrevocably gendered due to the patriarchal insistence toward logos, whereby male speech is valorised as the standard-bearer for rationality and female “noise” is perceived as dangerous and disruptive. For Friedrich Kittler, the advent of mechanical storage signals not just a shift in technics but the arrival of a new episteme. Since mechanical ears do not differentiate acoustic events like human ones are trained to, the meaningless and the accidental become as relevant as the deliberate and the symbolic. Psychoanalysis, then, finds its epistemology a matter of phonography, redoubling the policing of human sounds as either normative or pathological.

Harold Pinter once said, ‘I think that we communicate only too well, in our silence, in what is unsaid, and that what takes place is a continual evasion, desperate rearguard attempt to keep ourselves to ourselves.’ Culturally and politically, silence represents the interstices between thought and language, where that which is refused expression is captured in a state of iteration. Phonic expression, then, is threatening both for its capacities and its limitations.

Sound and Silence is an interdisciplinary postgraduate conference held on 8 June 2018, hosted by the Goldsmiths Literature Seminar (GLITS) at Goldsmiths, University of London, bringing together scholars across multiple fields to ask: how do we recognise, break and rebuild boundaries through phonic utterance and expression? What part does silence play in psycho- and socio-logical development and how do we attune ourselves to its cacophony of meanings?

We invite proposals from various disciplines and historical periods – papers, creative pieces, readings – covering such possible topics as:

  • Sound and silence in the humanities
  • Architecture
  • Identity
  • Race
  • Soundscapes/silentscapes
  • Phono-semantics
  • Textual methodology
  • Spoken word
  • Speech: dialects/accents
  • Gender
  • Religious
  • Speaking out and speaking back
  • Acts of silencing

Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words or examples of creative work along with a brief bio to by Friday 4th May.


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CFP: Visual Pleasure: Acts of Looking in Narrative Culture – Deadline 15 November

Following the screening of Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen’s groundbreaking avant-garde classic film ‘Riddles of the Sphinx’ [1977], introduced by Mulvey, and held in the new Curzon Goldsmiths in September, I am writing to announce the call for papers for this year’s annual GLITS symposium, ‘Visual Pleasure: Acts of Looking in Narrative Culture.’ Marking a continued interest in the cinematic and critical works of Laura Mulvey and their application, this symposium seeks interdisciplinary responses to her work and its legacy. Please see below for the CFP.

We invite abstracts of 350 words or less for 20 minute presentations; submissions will be open from now until November 15th. The symposium will take place on December 9th (venue to be confirmed and will be formally announced shortly).

Cambridge Scholars have expressed an interest in publishing the proceedings of this event and abstractsalong with a series of invited essayswill be considered as an element of a book proposal following the symposium.

Please address all abstracts, alongside a brief biographical note, to, or contact for further information.

‘Visual Pleasure: Acts of Looking in Narrative Culture’

This conference seeks to explore the ways in which the political “act of looking” in Laura Mulvey’s writing and its legacies can be extended to a broader discussion of narrative and critical cultures in contemporary society.  Whether we are exploring the nature of academic discourse and authorial identity, the function of autobiography and confession in contemporary literary culture, or the determinacy of canon and the anxiety of influence, the conflict between active and passive renditions of criticism relative to the force of narrative can be everywhere encountered. Mulvey’s work amplifies such collisions and, given her interest in the power of entertainment technologies, she offers an insight that is as relevant today as it was to the development of film criticism in the 1970s.

When we consider the role of culture in contemporary society, similar concerns plague the author and the academic—apprehensions about gazing backwards rather than broaching new territory, or the anxiety of influence as inveighing on original perspective proves to problematize conceptions of originality, authenticity and creativity in contemporary critical and creative practices. Often, the attempt to wring originality from existing traditions results in the inescapable realisation that critical work is contingent on second hand material. Conversely, criticism resumes to be perceived as a creative action that is unique to the personality engaging with the object of their attention. In this conference, we aim to encourage reflections upon the significance (and definition) of ‘originality’ and authorship in film, literature, and criticism. This approach ought to cast the role of the critic in renewed light, resulting in a reassessment of the standing that film and literary criticism dons in present-day narrative cultures.

This conflict is crucial to our self-definition in the academy—we let our interests define us, to then be defined by our interests, readily identify personality with product, and professionalize an engagement with culture. Scholarly response is either a product of its source or a procreant and provocative exercise that reclaims, reframes, and unsettles tradition. These polarised views of the critic are central to the work of Laura Mulvey in her exploration of active and passive manifestations of critical observation in cinema. In her canonical essay ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’ (1975), Mulvey explores the segregation of the director and their audience – the cinema and its spectator – to underscore the manner in which representation on and off the screen is determined by an intermingling of social and personal pressures that, in turn, mould our reading of the text.

We invite 20 minute presentations on subjects including, but by no means limited to:

  • Academic culture, authorship and authorial or critical identity
  • Film, and the evolution of film criticism in the twenty-first century
  • Creative responses to film and literature (for example, adaptation, commentary, or novelisation)
  • Realism, authenticity and originality in literature, cinema and popular culture
  • Documentary as intervention versus creativity as intervention
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Speeding and Braking: Navigating Acceleration Conference 12-15 May 2016

Organised by the Screen and Audiovisual Research Unit, Goldsmiths

also fb and eventbrite:

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Animate Assembly – 9/10 May and 10 June 2016

Animate Assembly

Animate Assembly 1:

9/10 May and 10 June 2016, Goldsmiths

Animation may be understood as a discrete set of experiential and technological possibilities, on the one hand, and a generalised politico-economic set of conditions on the other. Drawing on the crossovers and proliferations afforded by this doubling, the Animate Assembly network aims to debate the currency and significance of analogue and digital animation studies in view of the fundamental transformations occurring in cultural knowledge.

Through the first five sessions across Goldsmiths and Birkbeck the polemics and poetics of animation are explored by means of research screenings and collective work toward the first entries for a glossary of animation. WJT Mitchell will contribute a seminar and keynote on relevant themes in June.

Session 1: Histories (May 9), 6–9pm, Ian Gulland lecture theatre, Goldsmiths

Some simple questions: What is animation? What was it and what can it come to be? Does it possess one or more histories, and, conversely, does history have animation or animations? The question of history also contains all the other points of excavation that follow in the symposium: ghosts, technologies, infrastructure.

The event consists of commented film screenings

Session 2: Technologies (May 10), 10–11.30am, Studio a, Barriedale Buildings, Goldsmiths

Technologies, of whatever type, broker a link between individuals, collectives and outputs. These might be the technologies of cel animation, stop motion, pixel, print, 3D, or those of the camera, the computer, TV, cinema, book, the tablet, the touchscreen, glasses, colour. But in the encounter with animation, we point also to the technologies of eyes and bodies and ambiences and anything else that contributes to its mediation. What is the work of technologies in mediating animation, and what entanglements does it unleash? If animation is thought through its technologies, what becomes of it?

Session 3: Ghosts (May 10), 11.45–13.15, Studio a, Barriedale Buildings, Goldsmiths

Animation is full of ghosts. It is an exercise of the spirits, giving liveliness to the inanimate, sometimes historically recursive – sometimes projecting into a future, reanimating again and again its stock characters, its gags and tropes and never averse to mobilising magic against the law. Animated ghosts meet contemporary systems of production and projection to raise anew the question of what it means to be animate and be animated.

Session 4: Infrastructures (May 10), 14.15–15.45, Studio a, Barriedale Buildings, Goldsmiths

Infrastructures indicate the various matrices within which animation and animated practices take place: machinic production, labour codes, competencies, the economic-political, the Cloud, the cinema, ​arts and the academy. Is the infrastructure of animation itself animated in various ways – perhaps by ghosts, technologies, histories, or by other things?

Session 5: Interim Resume (May 10), 16.00–17.00, Studio a, Barriedale Buildings, Goldsmiths

Session 6: Image Science, seminar and public lecture by WJT Mitchell (June 10), details tbc  

Animate Assembly is propelled by Verina Gfader, Esther Leslie, Edgar Schmitz and Aylish Wood. The assembly is funded by CHASE and the Department of Art, Goldsmiths.


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Call for Papers: Performance and Performativity – Actualities and Futures, deadline 15 April 2016

Performance and Performativity: Actualities and Futures

Call for Papers (Deadline: 15th April, 2016)
Conference to be held on Wednesday 15th June, 2016
Leeds Humanities Research Institute, University of Leeds
Confirmed Keynote: Professor Vikki Bell, Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths

In 2011, Athena Athanasiou and Judith Butler held a series of exchanges via email that led to the book project Dispossession: The Performative in the Political (London: Polity, 2013). As the authors contest… Acts of resistance will take established orders of subjection as their resource, but they are not condemned to hopelessly reproducing or enhancing these orders. “Self-presence” is an attachment to an injurious interpellation, which becomes the condition of possibility for non-normative resignifications of what matters as presence.

Over 2015/16, the Performa research group (LHRI, University of Leeds) has explored the relation of performance, performativity and the performative in the political through a concerted programme of reading, taking on the writings of Frantz Fanon, Judith Butler, Peggy Phelan and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick among others committed to renewed possibilities for the Left. This programme will culminate on 15th June 2016 with a one-day conference, Performance and Performativity: Actualities and Futures. Performativity is a transdisciplinary concern that informs research in disparate fields; we aim to bring scholars into conversation who might not otherwise have a chance to meet. We are thrilled to welcome as the keynote speaker Professor Vikki Bell, author of Culture and Performance: The Challenge of Ethics, Politics and Feminist Theory (2007). Bell’s work on theories and critiques of performativity has particularly engaged with the implications of the performative for ethics and politics.

The organisers welcome contributions that address questions of performance and performativity through the following fields of inquiry:

  • Performance art/theatre
  • Queer theory
  • Questions of gender
  • Feminisms
  • Race and Identity
  • Mourning
  • Government and Society
  • Law
  • Protest
  • Global development/Migration
  • Violence
  • History/Memory
  • Trauma studies
  • Performing the text
  • Image/visibility
  • Technology and the post-human
  • Modes of Seeing
  • Sounds and the senses

Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words along with a short bio of max 100 words to Tom Hastings and Beatrice Ivey at by 15th April at the latest. Please visit for more information.

Papers will be 20 minutes in length.

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Call for papers: first international symposium on fin-de-siècle writer Ernest Dowson (1867-1900), deadline Friday 26 February 2016

Ernest Dowson (1867-1900): Poet, translator, novelist
Goldsmiths, University of London
15 April 2016

Keynote: Dr Kostas Boyiopoulos (Durham University)
Plenary: Jad Adams (Institute of English)

Proposals are welcome for short readings of original creative writing inspired by Dowsonian themes.

Please send abstracts of 300 words, with your institutional affiliation and a brief biography, to Jessica Gossling and Alice Condé at by Friday 26 February 2016.

The Department of English and Comparative Literature at Goldsmiths are pleased to announce the first international symposium on the fin-de-siècle writer Ernest Dowson (1867-1900).

Born in South London, Dowson lived and died during the last days of English Decadence. Poet, translator, and novelist, he had an affinity with the capital city’s impoverished and intellectual spaces, and engaged with international literary and artistic circles. In the 120 years since the publication of Verses, Dowson has become something of a Decadent legend, but is still considered a minor figure of the fin de siècle.

This symposium seeks to develop new perspectives on Ernest Dowson. We welcome papers on any aspect of his life and works. In particular, we are interested in submissions that address the following areas:

  • Dowson’s poetry, short fiction, drama, and co-authored novels
  • The complex critical positioning of Dowson’s writing within fin de siècle studies
  • Death, drugs and dry docking – the label ‘Decadent’, and its influence on our reading of Dowson
  • Optimism and pessimism, and other Dowsonian contradictions
  • Translation, correspondence, and rivalry in Dowson’s works
  • The viol, the violet and the vine – motifs and images in Dowson’s poetry
  • Moonbeams and maidens – Dowson’s treatment of gender and sexuality
  • Hotels, harlots and halitosis – places, spaces and bodies
  • ‘Slimy trails and holy places’ – Catholicism and ritual in Dowson’s life and work
  • Dirty talk, clean words – the relationship between his sordid lifestyle and clean poetic imagery


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