“States of Suspension” happens this Thursday and Friday!

Look for these posters (designed by the wonderful Naomi Patschke) on the UChicago campus, and join us in Classics 110 on Thursday, November 15, and in Classics 110 and CWAC 140 on Friday, November 16. Hope you can make it!

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Conference Locations — Getting to Classics 110 and CWAC 157

The Classics Building is located at 1010 E. 59th Street, in the southwest corner of the University’s main quadrangle. The quad stretches between E. 57th and E. 59th Streets and between University Ave. and Ellis Ave. A map of the Classics Building’s location can be found here.
The Cochrane-Woods Art Center (CWAC) is located at 5540 S. Greenwood Ave., just across the courtyard from the Smart Museum of Art and a short walk north of the quad and the Regenstein Library. A map of CWAC’s location can be found here.

Hyde Park is served by a few local bus routes–maps and schedules can be found here.

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Keynote Addresses

Below are times and titles for the conference’s two keynote lectures:

Thursday, November 15, 2012
5:15-6:30 p.m.
Classics 110
Molly McGarry, Associate Professor of History, UC Riverside
“Escape Artists: Suspended Masculinities and Queer Grift”

Friday, November 16, 2012
4:00-5:30 p.m.
CWAC 157
Elina Gertsman, Assistant Professor of Medieval Art History, Case Western Reserve University
“A Form Suspended Between Forms: The Shrine Madonna’s Mutable Body”

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Conference Schedule

Thursday, November 15, 2012

9:00-9:30 a.m.           Breakfast / Registration

9:30-9:45 a.m.           Opening Remarks & Thanks

9:45-11:15 a.m.         
PANEL 1: Making Waves in Sound and Space
[Co-Sponsored by UChicago New Media Workshop]

Patrick Morrissey, University of Chicago, PhD student in English
“Birds on a Wire: Ezra Pound’s Songs of Suspension”

Steven Swarbrick, Brown University, PhD candidate in English
“Toward an Archaeology of Noise: Sound and Unsound in Shakespeare and New Media”

Samuel Jacobson, MIT, Master’s student in the history, theory and criticism of architecture and art
“White Space City: Disconnecting Architecture and its Other Spaces”

11:15-11:30 a.m.         Break

11:30-1:00 p.m.
PANEL 2: Suspended Lives

Chalcey Wilding, University of Chicago, PhD student in English
“§: ‘Listen while I tell you all the time’: On Gertrude Stein’s Blood on the Dining-Room Floor and Stanzas in Meditation

Katerina Pantelides, Courtauld Institute of Art, UK, PhD student in Art History
“Heterotopian schemes: Russian émigré ballet and the body in 1920s Paris”

Michael Jones, University of Sussex, PhD student in Modern and Contemporary Literature and Thought
“Suspension and Pure Presence in Postmodernist Writing”

1:00-1:45 p.m.               Lunch

1:45-3:15 p.m.
PANEL 3: Suspended Bodies: Interruptions and Apparitions

Roger Maioli, Johns Hopkins University, PhD candidate in English
“Hume’s Suspension of Skepticism”

Benjamin Parris, Johns Hopkins, PhD candidate in English
“The body is with the King, but the King is not with the body: Sovereign Sleep in The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

Elizabeth Greeniaus, Mills College, MA English
“Air Swarmed with Characters: Victorian Texts and Suspended Presence”

3:15-3:30 pm.              Break

3:30-5:00 p.m.
PANEL 4: Technologies of Suspension: The Photographic Medium and Literary Studies
[Host Presentation by UChicago English Graduate Students]

Jose Antonio Arellano, University of Chicago, PhD student in English:
“The World Suspended: Daguerreotypes and Edgar Allen Poe’s Aesthetics”

Matthew Sims, University of Chicago, PhD student in English:
Pierre’s Extended Exposure: On Portraiture and Photographic Time”

Megan Tusler, University of Chicago, PhD Candidate in English:
“Snapshot, Caption, Subject: Allen Ginsberg’s Images of Suspension”

5:00-5:15 pm.              Break

5:15-6:30 p.m.             Molly McGarry (Associate Professor of History, UC Riverside)
“Escape Artists: Suspended Masculinities and Queer Grift”

6:30 – 7:30 p.m.          Reception – Classics 110

Friday, November 16, 2012

9:00-9:30 a.m.                         Breakfast / Registration

9:30-11:00 a.m.
PANEL 5: The View from Now: Time’s Supreme Fictions

Roland Betancourt, Yale University, PhD candidate in Art History
“On the Proleptic: The Apocalyptic Futurity of the Now, East and West”

Emily Laskin, Berkeley University, PhD student in Comparative Literature
“Or, or, Or: Thoreau and Dickinson Choose”

Marissa Grunes, Harvard University, PhD student in English
“‘Such Stuff as Dreams Are Made On’: Wallace Stevens and the Theater of the Real”

11:00-11:15 a.m.         Break

11:15-12:45 p.m.
PANEL 6: Museumification: Between object and institution

Reed Gochberg, Boston University, PhD student in English
“Portraiture and Preservation in Peale’s Philadelphia Museum”

Phoebe Springstubb, Princeton University, M.Arch
“The Raw and the Cooked: The French Meal or Its Transfiguration as Intangible Cultural Heritage”

Tristan Bates, University of Chicago, PhD student in Comparative Literature
“‘her initial dangling at its tip’: Suspended Between Wor(l)ds in Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence”

12:00-1:00 p.m.           Medieval Studies Workshop

12:45-2:00 p.m.           Lunch
Vacate Classics 110 – move to CWAC auditorium

2:00-3:30 p.m.
PANEL 7: Wargames and Strategic Spaces

Joss Kiely, University of Michigan, PhD student in History and Theory of Architecture
“Disbelief, Suspended: Architectures of the Sky and the Transgressive Territorializations of Air”

John Blakinger, Stanford University, Doctoral candidate in Art & Art History
“Radar Vision: Aerial Bombardment, Camouflage Research, and the Militarization of the Image”

Hadji Bakara, University of Chicago, PhD student in English:
“Siberia USA: Cold War Culture between Brainwashing and World Government”

3:30 – 4:00 p.m.          Break

4:00-5:30 p.m.             Elina Gertsman (Assistant Professor of Medieval Art History,
Case Western Reserve University)      
“A Form Suspended Between Forms: The Shrine Madonna’s Mutable Body”
CWAC 157

6:00-8:00 p.m.                Potluck Dinner – Nancy’s Apartment

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Keynote Speaker – Molly McGarry

We’re very excited that Dr. Molly McGarry, Associate Professor of History at UC Riverside, will be giving a presentation following grad panel presentations on Thursday, November 15th. A specific time for her lecture will be posted shortly.


Molly McGarry received her B.A. from Cornell University and Ph.D. from New York University.  She has worked as a curator and consultant for The New York Public Library, The Jewish Museum, The Museum of the Chinese in the Americas, and the American Social History Project.  Her exhibits have received curatorial awards from the American Association of Museums, the American Society for State and Local History, the International Association of Art Critics, and the Society of American Archivists. She is co-author with Fred Wasserman of Becoming Visible (Viking, 1999), co-editor with George Haggerty of A Companion to LGBT/Q Studies (Blackwell, 2007), and author of Ghosts of Futures Past (University of California Press, 2008).

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Keynote Speakers: Elina Gertsman

We’re honored that Elina Gertsman will be presenting her research on Friday, November 16th as part of our conference. The time and location of Dr. Gertsman’s lecture will be posted shortly.

Elina Gertsman is Assistant Professor of Medieval Art History at Case Western Reserve University. Her research interests include medieval theories of memory and perception; uncanny animation of inanimate objects; performance/performativity; multi-sensory reception processes; late medieval macabre; materiality and somaticism; and medieval concepts of emotion and affectivity. She is the author of The Dance of Death in the Middle Ages: Image, Text, Performance (2010); the editor of Visualizing Medieval Performance: Perspectives, Histories, Contexts (2008) and Crying in the Middle Ages: Tears of History (2011); and co-editor of Thresholds of Medieval Visual Culture: Liminal Spaces (2012). Her articles have appeared in numerous collections as well as in Gesta, Studies in Iconography, Religion and the Arts, and Mediaevalia, among other journals. Her new book project on late medieval Shrine Madonna imagery, tentatively titled Fragments, Ruptures, Imprints, Play, is under contract with Penn State Press.

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“States of Suspension” Participants

We’re in the process of finalizing a program order that works with participants’ and moderators’ schedule constraints, and those of our keynote speakers. The completed program will be posted as soon as possible.

Dr. Molly McGarry (UC Riverside, History) will be giving a presentation in the late afternoon/early evening of Thursday, November 15th.

Dr. Elina Gertsman (Case Western Reserve, Medieval Art History) will be giving a presentation in the late afternoon of Friday, November 16th.

Further details will be posted soon, but in the meantime, here is the (alphabetical) list of graduate students who will be presenting papers at the “States of Suspension” conference:

Hadji Bakara, University of Chicago, English

Tristan Bates, University of Chicago, Comparative Literature

Roland Betancourt, Yale University, Art History

John Blakinger, Stanford University, Art History

Christine Gardner, Courtauld Institute of Art (UK), Art History

Reed Gochberg, Boston University, English

Elizabeth Greeniaus, Mills College, English

Marissa Grunes, Harvard University, English

Samuel Jacobson, MIT, History, Theory, and Criticism of Architecture and Art

Michael Jones, University of Sussex (UK), English

Joss Kiely, University of Michigan, Architecture

Emily Laskin, UC Berkeley, Comparative Literature

Roger Maioli, Johns Hopkins University, English

Patrick Morrissey, University of Chicago, English

Benjamin Parris, Johns Hopkins University, English

Katerina Pantelides, Courtauld Institute of Art (UK), Art History

Phoebe Springstubb, Princeton University, Architecture

Steven Swarbrick, Brown University, English

Chalcey Wilding, University of Chicago, English

Thank you all in advance for your participation–we’re looking forward to meeting you and hearing your work!

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It was an exhilarating experience to read the proposals of those who replied to our call for papers. We received 137 submissions before our deadline of September 1st, reflecting a staggering variety of subjects, texts, artworks, and methodologies. We chose the best of what we read, based on the clarity, scope, and relevance of the claims made in the abstract, then met as a group for several hours of debate, haggling, and re-reading over the course of two sessions. We are delighted with the papers we have accepted and are only sorry we could not welcome every paper of extraordinary calibre that we received.

We wish to thank everyone who submitted to “States of Suspension” for their interest in the conference and for sharing their work with us.

The list of accepted participants will be made public once we have received their confirmation of attendance and permission.



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For Out-of-Town Visitors: Getting to UChicago & Hyde Park

We’ve put together some information and links here that might be helpful for your travel plans and your stay in Chicago.

The University of Chicago is located in Hyde Park, a neighbourhood on the South Side of Chicago that’s easily accessible from downtown. A quick summary of the neighbourhood can be found here, and here you’ll find a basic Visitor’s Map to the UChicago campus. Classics 110, the room in which the conference will be held, is located in the Classics building in the southwest corner of the Main Quadrangle.

The university is accessible by car or public transit from Chicago’s two airports, O’Hare and Midway. A taxi ride will take about an hour from O’Hare and cost $40-50 each way. From Midway Airport, it takes about 30 minutes to get to campus, setting you back about $20 each way.  Here’s a comprehensive page on getting to campus, including driving directions.

If you’re planning on taking public transit from the airport to campus, it’s simpler and easier to fly into Midway Airport; from the Midway bus loop, the 55 Garfield bus will drop you off a couple of blocks north of the campus after about a 45 minute ride along 55th. {Be aware that this route takes you through some of Chicago’s economically depressed neighbourhoods, so while it’s convenient and safe, it’s not a particularly scenic route.) Directions can be found here, including walking directions to campus from the bus stop.

If you’re taking transit from O’Hare, follow the airport signs to the CTA Blue Line train. (O’Hare is the north terminus station for the blue line, so any train you board will take you toward downtown, where you’ll transfer to a bus or a Metra Electric train to get to Hyde Park.) The ‘el’ runs underground for some of this route, but you’ll get a good view of the city when the tracks rise above ground. Get off the el train at Jackson station, walk one block east to State Street, and take the #6 Jackson Park Express bus south to Hyde Park. The bus runs along the highway once it leaves the Loop, then continues south on Lake Shore Drive and Hyde Park Boulevard. Get off at 57th or 59th and walk east under the train tracks toward the university. It’s about a 10 minute walk to campus from the bus stop. If you walk along 57th, you’ll pass a couple of good cafes, Z&H and Medici, where you can get a mean sandwich, a coffee, or a bowl of soup.

The CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) visitor page is here. You can either pay in cash (exact change needed) or buy and load a Transit Card at one of the vending machines within the station. If you use cash you won’t get a transfer, so you have to pay again if you change to another bus/train. A transit card deducts your fare automatically when you insert in train turnstiles or the bus fare machine. Fares on buses or the el are $2.25 for a single ride; if you have a transit card, your first transfer is $0.25 and your second transfer is free. There are also unlimited day and multi-day passes. Check out all CTA fare information here.

More Visitor Information to come. Looking forward to seeing you!

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“States of Suspension” cfp – Abstracts due September 1, 2012

“States of Suspension: Politics and Histories, Aesthetics and Affects”
Graduate Conference –  Call for Papers
November 15 – 16, 2012
University of Chicago, Departments of English and Art History 

NEW DEADLINE FOR ABSTRACTS – SEPTEMBER 1, 2012 /statesofsuspension@gmail.com/

Guest Speakers:
MOLLY MCGARRY, Associate Professor of History (University of California at Riverside), author of ‘Ghosts of Futures Past: Spiritualism and the Cultural Politics of Nineteenth-Century America’ (2008)

ELINA GERTSMAN, Assistant Professor of Medieval Art (Case Western Reserve University), author of ‘The Dance of Death in the Middle Ages: Image, Text, Performance’ (2010)

“….the state of being suspended, a looking or listening so rapt that it is an exemption from ordinary conditions, that it becomes a suspended temporality, a hovering out of time…It implies the possibility of a fixation, of holding something in wonder or contemplation, in which the attentive subject is both immobile and ungrounded. But at the same a suspension is also a cancellation or an interruption, and I wanted here to indicate a disturbance, even a negation of perception itself…”  – Jonathan Crary, Suspensions of Perception

“We need to live in a state of suspended animation like a work of art, in a state of enchantment. We have to succeed in loving so greatly that we live outside of time, detached.”

– Steiner in La Dolce Vita, Fellini

Suspension is a state of exception, anticipation, or absorption. It hovers, pauses, interrupts, creating a liminal space often outside historical time and physical place. In political terms, suspension indexes the revocation of legal protections or rights of citizenship, the dissolution of recognized forms of governance, and the adoption of emergency measures during times of crisis. Since the 18th century, aesthetic encounters have been conceived of as a suspension of one’s understanding before the sensible experience of the artwork–a convention retained in the institution of the museum or gallery. While theatrical performances bracket reality for the duration of their staging, the photograph, like the ekphrastic moment in a text, enacts a suspension of time by isolating an image from its historical index. Scholastic practices like periodization, formalism, taxonomizing, etc. are means of extracting and suspending moments and objects under study. Religious discourses conceptualize states of liminality and the kinds of knowledge they can impart in terms of pilgrimage, purgatory, and penance. Affective experiences characteristic of everyday life–from boredom, deferment and waiting to captivation and anticipation–can be understood as sites producing forms of suspension.

This conference, to be held on November 15 – 16, 2012 at the University of Chicago, aims to query suspension in all its valences. We welcome submissions from disciplines across the humanities that treat states of suspension located in any time, place, or medium of study.  Please send 250-300 word abstracts to statesofsuspension@gmail.com by SEPTEMBER 1, 2012. Presentations should be no longer than 20 minutes in length (8-10 double-spaced pages).

Examples of possible topics include:

  • Christ on the cross; Narratives of purgatory, pilgrimage, or confession; Epistemologies of conversion
  • The Virgilian or Dantean underworld; archaeology of necropoli and tombs
  • Periods of political and cultural change (eg. decolonization; the transition in late Antiquity to a Roman Christian majority)
  • Wartime; the state of exception; rights discourses; law and citizenship; the Polis and the public sphere; geopolitical states of occupation; occupation as a suspension of discourse
  • Literal suspensions of the work of art; the frame; the institution of the museum or academia; the discourses of criticism and art history; the formalization of the tableau
  • States of immersion, trance, spiritualism, hypnosis, or mass identification; mobs and crowds; suspended animation; Frankenstein
  • Media of/as suspension (eg. photography, theatre, cinema, performance etc.)
  • Trauma; the space of the psychoanalytic encounter; ruins and memorials
  • Ekphrasis; temporalities of image and text; graphic narratives; narrative theory
  • States of suspense; boredom; waiting, attentiveness; narrative expectation; continuation; duration; endurance art
  • Suspensions of disbelief; the genre of the pastoral; utopias; the theatrum mundi
  • Quotation, anachronism, commentary, exegesis, marginalia, annotation, and white space
  • Architectures of suspension; the blueprint; urban planning; the suburbs; utopias
  • Immersive new media; gaming; arcades; shopping malls; the archive; networks; the Cloud
  • After the crash; recession and recovery; states of perpetual crisis
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