December 16, 2009

Call For Papers

Savage Thoughts: Interdisciplinarity and the Challenge of Claude Lévi-Strauss

Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas McGill University, Montréal
24-26 September 2010


Claude Lévi-Strauss was one of the great interdisciplinary writers of the twentieth century whose influence has been felt far beyond his home discipline of anthropology. His inquiry illuminated the border lands between primitive and non-primitive, self and other, myth and history, human and animal, art and nature, and the dichotomies that give structure to culture. At the same time his method troubled those borders and dichotomies, through the bricolage he adopted that illuminated connections amongst literature, art, psychology, music, religion, and law.

Our call for ‘savage thoughts’ seeks out new work influenced by this inquiry and these methods, and reflections on Levi-Strauss’ legacy across the whole range of the humanities and beyond, including—

1) Recent interdisciplinary research in the reception, critique, and development, of Lévi-Strauss’ work. How have these inquiries been transformed in recent years? Are the children of Lévi-Strauss as savage as he?

2) Consideration of Lévi-Strauss’ larger intellectual influence, explicit or otherwise, right across the humanities. Perhaps there is something savage at the heart of interdisciplinary thought itself—refusing to be tamed by the intellectual borders of a discipline, it forages at will. Where has Lévi-Strauss’ method spawned such wildness and hybridity?

3) Looking beyond the academy to consider how Lévi-Strauss’ ideas have embedded themselves in the culture, values, social organization, and framework of modern society. What is the public life and impact of these ideas? In what ways has our world been altered by his mode of apprehending it?

Conference organizers invite papers that address the borderlands between a wide range of disciplines including, but not limited to Anthropology, Architecture, Art History, Communications, History, Law, Linguistics, Literature, Human Geography, Musicology, Philosophy, Psychology, Religious Studies, Semiotics, and Sociology. Proposals for single papers in English or French as well as for complete panels are welcome. In either instance, abstracts for 15-20 minute papers should be c.200 words, and accompanied by a brief (2-page) CV. Proposals for complete panels should also include a short explanation of the panel theme. Please send proposals as electronic files (in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format) to no later than 15 March 2010.

Conference website:
Conference registration will open 15 April 2010. Registration details, including fees information are on the website.

The Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas at McGill University is committed to understanding how the arts (literature, painting, film, theatre, music, industrial and artistic design, architecture) and new ideas come into being in a range of settings (schools, the law courts, markets, the Web, the book trade, state institutions) and in relation to social, cultural, and institutional practices. It also strives to understand how art and ideas are able to transform the private world of the individual, the greater world of public matters, and the interactivity between the two.

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