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European Summer School in Cultural Studies, University of Copenhagen, 18-22 June 2019

Detail Summary
Start date 18 June 2019
End date 22 June 2019
Time 00:00

An object causes passion, as in the figurative notion of a loved object. “The Afterlife of the Object” 2018 summer school will contemplate how we establish narratives of the past and the self through objects.

We will view objects, not only loved, but also hated, ignored, collected, thrown away, performed, written, rewritten, translated, lost and found. The “object” of our study will be considered broadly, including but not limited to art, books, collections, fetishes, poems, letters, song, and beyond.

For example, in “The Daughters of the Moon,” Italo Calvino imagines the afterlife of earth’s only permanent natural satellite when she has she become too old and worn to be seen as “full.” Calvino’s story is a troubling allegory on consumerism, ecology, gender, destruction and desire, written in the ripe year of 1968. 

In Slaves and Other Objects (2004), the classicist Page duBois looks at our erasure of slaves as an idealization of the afterlife of ancient Greece, resulting in a collective blind-spot (a de-realization) that has fed and still feeds troubling views on race, including America’s nostalgia for the antebellum South.

Han Kang's 1997 short story "The Fruit of My Woman" takes the afterlife of animals as objects of food as entry into becoming plant.

Lee Edelman’s No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive puts a stop to mortgaging our future through the body of the child in an acceptance of the death drive through the afterlives of Hitchcock’s films.

The summer school week will feature keynote lectures (to be announced) as well as short papers presented by PhD candidates and other young scholars and a series of seminars in which we will closely examine the texts mentioned above, along with other works, including Dan Chaisson’s book of poems, entitled The Afterlife of Objects and Michael Ann Holly’s The Melancholy Art.

The ESSCS is an annual network-based event offering interdisciplinary research training in the fields of art and culture. The network comprises the University of Amsterdam, Leiden University, University of Copenhagen, University of Giessen, Goldsmiths College, Université de Paris VIII, the Lisbon Consortium, Ljubljana Institute for Humanities, University of Trondheim and Catholic University Rio de Janeiro. Organizers: Frederik Tygstrup, Rune Gade and Carol Mavor.