• Issue No. 5 published!

    2018-02-27
    Many thanks to our contributors!

    Rastislav Dinić (University of Niš)
    Richard Eldridge (Swarthmore College)
    Jeff Frank (St. Lawrence University)
    Babak Geranfar (Independent scholar)
    Derek Gottlieb (University of Northern Colorado)
    Larry Jackson (The New School)
    Jon Najarian (Boston University)
    Lawrence Rhu (University of South Carolina)

    Read more about Issue No. 5 published!
  • CFP NO. 4

    2015-03-23

    Literary Cavell

    In what sense is Cavell’s work indebted to literature, or literary precursors? While much is made of his writings on Shakespeare, Cavell has other literary interests manifested in writings on the Romantic poets (In Quest for the Ordinary, particularly his reading of Kant and Coleridge), 19th/20th century playwrights (Ibsen, Shaw, Beckett), and a sparse scattering of prose on a select cadre of novelists (Austen, Dickens, James, for example).

    For the fourth issue of Conversations, we seek submissions that engage with Cavell’s literary influences and influence, and pose the question of whether Cavell is reading literature philosophically or whether he is reading philosophy like literature, or whether, indeed, it is profitable to pose such questions at all. Where do Emerson and Thoreau fit into this discussion? Possible topics include:

    • Philosophical versus literary romanticism 
    • Cavell and Austen and Austin
    • Ordinary language and the theatre
    • Wittgenstein as literature
    • Philosophy and close reading
    • Freudian close reading
    • Literary transcendentalism
    • Style and literary expression
    • Cavellian Shakespeare

    We also welcome shorter essays and responses that directly address Cavell’s concluding question to The Claim of Reason.

    Papers should be approximately 6000 words, including footnotes, and must follow the notes and bibliography citation system described in The Chicago Manual of Style. Shorter, more intimate pieces of around 1200 words are also acceptable. Please email complete articles to Amir Khan at akhan134@uottawa.ca. If submitting via the online user interface, please notify one of the managing editors in a separate email. All submissions due September 15th, 2015

     

    Read more about CFP NO. 4
  • CFP NO. 3

    2014-04-07

    Cavell and History

    Whatever one makes of Cavell’s writings, one can hardly say they are historical.  We are told, for example, that America’s military entanglement weighs in on his thoughts in "Disowning Knowledge," but what exactly has King Lear to do with Vietnam?  Does the essay require, or deserve, proper historicizing?  Would such an exercise benefit Cavellian study, or detract from it?

    Moreover, Cavell himself explicitly, if still somewhat coyly, historicizes his skeptical argument in his introduction to his collection of essays on Shakespeare.  Coy because Cavell is hardly interested in employing a “professional” historical methodology.  When he discusses the “advent of skepticism,” as, historically speaking, marking the appearance of Shakespeare, Descartes, and the New Science, he notes also that, fictionally speaking, the Roman world of Shakespeare, as depicted in Antony and Cleopatra, is “haunted by the event of Christianity.” 

    Do competing threads of Romanization, Christianization, the advent of skepticism, the New Science, and Renaissance theatre require sorting out? 

    Lastly, in discussing the appearance of what he coins the seven comedies of remarriage in Pursuits of Happiness, he expressly denies a cause-and-effect relationship leading to the appearance of this new genre:

    "My thought is that the genre emerges full-blown, in a particular instance first (or a set of them if they are simultaneous), and then works out its internal consequences in further instances. So that, as I would like to put it, it has no history, only a birth and a logic (or a biology)."  (27-28)

    Once again, we accept submissions from all theoretical perspectives and disciplines and encourage attempts to assimilate seemingly disparate disciplinary areas of Cavell’s thinking.

    For the second issue of Conversations, the editors welcome papers that engage with Cavell’s different, perhaps undecided or indecisive, views on history and historicization. Possible paper topics include:

    • historicizing Cavell
    • the use of Cavell in broader philosophical discourse
    • philosophizing history
    • historicizing philosophy
    • the authority of history versus the authority of self
    • the influence of Marx on Cavell’s thought
    • the influence of Heidegger on Cavell’s thought
    • the influence of Hegel on Cavell’s thought

    Papers should be no more than 6000 words, including footnotes, and must follow the notes and bibliography citation system described in The Chicago Manual of Style. We also welcome shorter, more intimate pieces addressing specific questions (800-1200 words).

    Complete articles should be sent to akhan134@uottawa.ca no later than July 31st, 2014.


    Read more about CFP NO. 3
  • Upcoming issue

    2013-11-17
    Dear Conversationalists,

    The issue is ready to launch but please bear with us as we make some stylistic changes.  Despite what some theorists say, we believe aesthetics matter :)

    The first issue will be posted very shortly. Read more about Upcoming issue
  • CFP NO. 1

    2012-09-07

    Marc Shell says of Cavell’s autobiography that it will be read for “decades, even centuries” and, more importantly, that it will “contribute to how we understand the lives of philosophers.”

    Though we are neither decades nor centuries away from the publication of Little Did I Know (Stanford University Press, 2010), the editors of Conversations: The Journal of Cavellian Studies invite essays that tackle some of the implications of these formidable “excerpts from memory”, particularly now that some of the dust accompanying its initial reception has settled.

    We invite papers for the inaugural issue of Conversations that discuss and engage with Cavell’s autobiographic writings, not only Little Did I Know, but also his earlier autobiographical exercises A Pitch of Philosophy (Harvard University Press, 1996) and references to his personal history from other texts.

    Close readings that negotiate both the professional and personal ramifications of the many encounters Cavell so compellingly recounts are welcome – see, for example, James Conant’s recent essay “The Triumph of the Gift over the Curse in Stanley Cavell’s Little Did I Know” in Modern Language Notes. Articles may also address broader issues raised by the autobiographical elements in Cavell’s publications for the field of philosophy, and its approaches and traditions, through a less narrow engagement with his texts and philosophical contribution.

    We accept submissions from all theoretical perspectives and disciplines and encourage attempts to assimilate seemingly disparate (disciplinary) areas of Cavell’s thinking (or recounting). Possible topics include:

    • The use of “I” in philosophical writing (for rhetorical affect, or detraction, or both)
    • Philosophical and historiographical writing
    • Memory and affect
    • Structural analysis of autobiographical writing, including discussion of rhetorical devices
    • The ethics of autobiography
    • Overlap/divergence between earlier and later writings
    • Autobiographic elements of Cavell’s film criticism

    Papers should be no more than 6000 words, including footnotes, and must follow the notes and bibliography citation system described in The Chicago Manual of Style. We also welcome shorter, more intimate pieces addressing specific questions (800-1200 words). Proposals of around 500 words (for long articles) and 250 words (for short articles) should be sent by 1 December 2012 to both managing editors, but complete articles will be considered as well.

    Read more about CFP NO. 1