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March 2006, Week 5


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Meers Philippe <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 29 Mar 2006 17:06:08 +0200
text/plain (135 lines)
Could you please distribute the following call for papers?
With apologies for cross-posting.
Many thanks,
Philippe Meers (Ph.D)
Assistant Professor
Research Group Visual Culture
Department of Communication Studies
University of Antwerp - Belgium
e-mail: [log in to unmask]

University of Antwerp, 23-25 November 2006

Paul Vanden Berghe, Johan Taels (Centre for Ethics)
Arthur Cools (Centre for Philosophy and Literature)
Kurt Vanhoutte, Thomas Crombez (Aisthesis: Centre for Theatre Studies)
Philippe Meers (Research Group Visual Culture/ECREA)

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:
Simon Critchley (New School of Social Research, New York)
Dennis J. Schmidt (Pennsylvania State University)
Jos de Mul (Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam)
Karen de Boer (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen)

Ask for the tragic and Europe will answer. 

Leaving behind the philosophers' enthusiasm of the 19th century, and the
theatre directors' excessive performances of the 20th century, 'tragedy'
and 'the tragic' now seem little more than vague containers. However, it
appears that we still discover a tragic essence in our personal lives.
Time and again tragedy is being registered, written down and staged.
First of all, the colloquium wants to open a philosophical perspective
on the tragic. What is the locus of tragedy? Does it relate to
metaphysics, the gods, destiny, and chance? Or is it a matter of ethics,
of the Law and its transgression? Does man himself occupy the locus of
tragedy, because of his unreasonable and boundless desires, as many
philosophers have suggested? Is man today still able to account for his
tragic condition?
Additionally we have to discuss the dominant reception history of the
tragic, which, especially in the vein of the christian tradition, has
deemed tragedy an untimely genre along with other 'grand narratives'.
The opposite proposition must also be considered: suppose that
christianity generates a unique and perhaps even more pronounced vision
of the tragic?
Or do we locate the tragic first and foremost in the esthetic
imagination? Is not the theatrical genre of tragedy the locus
authenticus of all things tragic? Is there more to the tragic than drama
and play? What about the uncanny pleasure of the audience watching human
suffering? Does tragedy help people in dealing with the tragic
experiences of everyday life? How far does this performative enactment

Perhaps unsurprisingly, when these philosophical questions are posed at
the turn of the millennium, the move is into the realm of the media.
Contemporary media keep confronting us with tragic situations, in a
variety of genres and formats: reality tv, news shows, blockbuster
movies, etc. But how tragic are these spectacles? Does the mediatisation
in television and film not multiply the suffering in a way that reaches
a degree of absurdity? Are the effects of these multiple representations
not just as comical as they are tragical? And how are these tragic
representations constructed in the signifying practices of audiences? In
short: is the contemporary mediascape the locus par excellence for the
experience of contemporary tragedy or do media merely perform false
representations of the tragic? 
Finally, media theory urges us to focus on the technological conditions
of these representations. Does the use of technologies engender a
specific awareness of the tragic? What are the similarities and the
differences between ancient techne and contemporary technology in the
wake of tragedy? And how does today's multimedia environment necessitate
a return to tragedy?
Hence the need for more precise questions and understandings: how can we
grasp the place that media and technology assign to the tragic? How does
this relate to the other arts, such as the theatre, birthplace of


Contributions for "The Locus of Tragedy" may be submitted to the
organizers as listed below. Papers could possibly but not exclusively

Ethical, psychoanalytical, and metaphysical approaches of the tragic
Tragedy and narrative (e.g., the modern novel)
Film, representation and tragedy
Media, reality and discourses on the tragic
Technologies of the tragic
Mimesis and theatricality
The tragic sovereign in drama (e.g., the early modern period)
The tragic body


Please submit abstracts (500 words) to [log in to unmask]
<mailto:[log in to unmask]>  before 22 May 2006.
Speakers will be notified of acceptance by 7 July 2006.


"The Locus of Tragedy" is funded by the Research Foundation - Flanders
(FWO - Vlaanderen).

The media/film sessions are sponsored by the film studies section of
ECREA (European Communication Research and Education Association).

Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite