Conference CFP: “Levinas, Law and Literature” (Antwerp)

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CFP: ‘Levinas, Law and Literature’, International Conference, January, 20–22, 2016, Antwerp, Belgium

Institute of Jewish Studies (University of Antwerp)
Center for European Philosophy (University of Antwerp)

January, 20–22, 2016, Antwerp

Abstract submission deadline: 20/09/2015

One cannot effectively approach Emmanuel Levinas’s philosophical works without recognizing the importance modern literature plays in his writings. From Baudelaire to Dostojevski, from Blanchot to Celan, and from Kafka to Grossman, the references to major modern and contemporary writers are manifest throughout Levinas’s reflections. Whether as a source of inspiration or as metaphoric expression of his thoughts, these references mark a constitutive element of the articulation and development of his own philosophy. This is all the more astonishing given that Levinas has many reasons to distrust the ambivalences of literary works. Indeed, his entire philosophy intends to overcome the tragic model (with its origins in Aristotle) so as to understand being; moreover, he rejects the idea that mimetic representation constitutes a modality for adequate description of the human condition. Levinas states that the meaning of the ethical commandment exceeds all metaphoric and poetic expression, and, at crucial moments in his philosophy, he quotes Talmudic verses as if they are philosophical arguments.

It would seem that Levinas is, in his own way, challenging the Western concept of literature. It may be that he agrees with Jacques Derrida’s idea of the Biblical origin of this concept, yet questions remain as to how Levinas understands this idea and how his philosophy transforms the concept of literature. Answering these key questions will be the general aim of a three-day conference to be held at the Institute for Jewish Studies in collaboration with the Center for European Philosophy.

Special attention will be given to the poems, novel fragments, and reflections on metaphor and literature in the recently published volumes of the Oeuvres Complètes.

Call for papers

The organizing committee welcomes submissions that address the role and the meaning of literature as it can be discovered in or derived from Levinas’s philosophy.

Proposals may address themes such as the following:

  • What is the place of literature in Levinas’s philosophy?
  • How does Levinas read a specific literary work or writer?
  • What is the concept of literature that Levinas implicitly addresses?
  • How does the ethical commandment, so central in his philosophy, relate to literature?
  • How do the Talmudic references in his texts contribute to a specific (Western?) understanding of literature?

Please submit your abstract, in either French or English, of approximately 500 words (including the paper’s title, the author’s name, institutional affiliation, mailing address, and email address) together with a short bio-bibliography to ijs@uantwerpen.be BEFORE 20/09/2015. Notification of acceptance will be given by 20/10/2015.

Regular fee: 40 € (includes reception, two lunches, coffee breaks and conference map)
Student fee: 30 €
Conference dinner: 40 €

Further information about the conference available on the site: www.uantwerpen.be/ijs

Organizing committee: Prof. dr. Vivian Liska (Institute of Jewish Studies, University of Antwerp), Prof. dr. Arthur Cools (Center for European Philosophy, University of Antwerp), Dr. Michaël de Saint-Cheron (Histara/Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris 3), Prof. dr. Luc Anckaert (KU Leuven)

Scientific committee : Prof. dr. Vivian Liska (Institute of Jewish Studies, University of Antwerp), Prof. dr. Arthur Cools (Center for European Philosophy, University of Antwerp), Dr. Michaël de Saint-Cheron (Histara/Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris 3), Prof. dr. Luc Anckaert (KU Leuven), Prof. dr. Eric Hoppenot (ESPE, Université Paris-Sorbonne), Prof. dr. Johan van der Walt (Université de Luxembourg)

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish though and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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