Adventures of Dialogue: Bakhtin and Benjamin

Venue: Canberra

Location: Canberra, Australia

Event Date/Time: Jun 21, 2001 End Date/Time: Jun 22, 2001
Report as Spam


Venue: Humanities Research Centre, Old Canberra House, Lennox Crossing,

Australian National University, Canberra

The Humanities Research Centre invites offers of papers for the symposium ‘Adventures of Dialogue: Bakhtin and Benjamin’, to be held at the Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University, Canberra, 21-22 June, 2001.

Katarina Clark will be the keynote speaker on Mikhail Bakhtin. Rajeev S. Patke will be the keynote speaker on Walter Benjamin.

Mikhail Bakhtin and Walter Benjamin are two of the great figures of the modern era in philosophy, literary and cultural theory. The co-organizers of the symposium, John Docker and Subhash Jaireth, see the symposium as staging intimate multiple conversations between Bakhtin and Benjamin's ideas and theories. We would particularly like offers of papers that entwine discussion of both thinkers, in terms of possible affinities and differences, in a spirit of agonistic respect.

Symposium themes include the following:

Ø Being and Becoming (bodies, body parts, blood, leakages; the colonial and postcolonial; the modern and postmodern; exile and diaspora; ethnicity and identity; adventures of identity; masking, impersonation, double or multiple consciousness; sensibility; the intellectual; the outsider, the stranger, the trickster, the marrano)

Ø Philosophy and Representation (poetics and prosaics; genre, irony, allegory, parody, self-parody; rhetoric)

Ø Vision and Visuality (carnival, carnivalesque, baroque, the grotesque, theatricality; photography, cinema, art, advertising, posters, stadium, sport, the Olympics; graffiti; the Net)

Ø Space, Place, Travel (the individuality of cities; the public sphere; places sacred, uncanny and mystical—pilgrimages, shrines, temples, synagogues, mosques, churches; sea, ships, ship decks and voyages; museums; railway stations; war/peace memorials; absence of memorials; massacre sites; genocide and trauma; inns, taverns, pubs, salons, the tea shop, the coffee shop; geocultural areas—‘the Levant’, ‘the Mediterranean’, ‘Africa’, ‘Asia’, ‘the Pacific’, ‘Europe’; the prison in history; education; cosmopolitanism)

Ø Time (as a line—unbroken, continuous, homogeneous; as a substance—messianic, prophetic, apocalyptic, millennial, miraculous, utopian, dystopian, virtual).

Ø Objects and things (cars, planes, speed; toys and games; dress, fashion, body ornamentation; food and drink, cuisine and culture, style and fashion; prohibitions and separation)

Ø Monotheism and Polytheism (postsecularism; Egyptology; Exodus; the Bible and critical theory; settler-colonialism and religion; Freud's Moses and Monotheism; heresy; the sacred and the ludic; creation stories)


Because we wish to maximise discussion and debate, the symposium will be composed of single sessions—there will be no parallel sessions. Each paper will be a maximum of thirty minutes (shorter if you like). Please send a title and short bio and abstract (500-800 words) by 30 December 2000.

Offers of papers are to be sent to: OR

John Docker is the author of Postmodernism and Popular Culture: A Cultural History (1994), which features discussion of Bakhtin's theories of carnival and carnivalesque in relation to modern popular culture. His forthcoming book 1492: The Poetics of Diaspora deploys Benjamin, especially the Benjamin of The Origin of German Tragic Drama, in exploring the relations between identity, autobiography, family history, diaspora, and literary and cultural history.

Subhash Jaireth is a well-known international scholar of Bakhtin, applying Bakhtin's writings in diverse ways to contemporary cultural phenomena like cinema, photography and posters. His most recent publication is ‘To See and be Seen: the heteroscopia of Hindi film posters’, Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies, Vol.14, no.2, 2000.

For further information in regards to this conference please provide your name and mailing address details to: