(In)Visible Subjects: Bodies, Spaces, Disciplines

An interdisciplinary conference sponsored by the Graduate Program in Visual and Studies at the University of California, Irvine

March 31-April 1, 2011, Irvine, California

The Visual Studies Graduate Conference at UC Irvine is seeking submissions on (In)Visible Subjects. We welcome work that addresses invisibility, visibility and hyper-visibility, in terms of  current social and political discourses surrounding immigration, borderlands and cultures, marginalized communities, subject production, gender issues, queer identities and urban art.

While our conference will deal with invisibility as a political and cultural position and production, our theme also reflects the problem of Visual Studies as a “visible” (i.e. counted, established) discipline in academia, and the problem of the Humanities as underfunded, publicly undervalued, and potentially disappearing from universities. By bringing these issues into the forefront of academic discourse, our conference aims to establish a dialogue on the difficulties of navigating the binaries, nuances, and idiosyncrasies of a discipline as elusive and ubiquitous as the study of visual culture. Thus while the work presented at our conference is normally comprised of related visual humanities fields such as film and media studies and art history, we hope to receive submissions from across the humanities, arts, and social sciences, which are engaged with similar issues, such gender and women’s studies, critical theory, and cultural studies.

Potential topics include:

  • Manifest invisibility and marginalization of subjects: disability; medical subjects;  legible trauma; war victims.
  • Actual invisible subjects: minorities, emigration; political subjects, religious subjects.
  • Invisible/hyper-visible spaces: urban planning, ephemeral art; negative space/out of frame space; squatting and poor theory.
  • The act of becoming visible: mourning and trauma; masquerade and gender performativity; ghostliness and temporality; technological bodies and subjects; Internet, avatars, gaming, social networking; interfaces and screen culture; surveillance imaging.
  • Phenomenological aspects of invisibility: borders, memorials, disappeared monuments and icons; decay and materiality; pictorial anthropomorphism; perishable documents.
  • Visual Studies as an “invisible” subject and/or discipline.

The deadline for submissions is January 15, 2011.

Please email your 200-250 words abstract to: invisibleconf2011@googlegroups.com. Final presentation length is 20 minutes.