Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism


The Centre sponsors a variety of seminars, conferences, publications and an active program of lectures and colloquia by both internal and external faculty.

CSTC Sponsored Conferences


Sponsored by Modern Languages and Literatures | The Centre for Theory and Criticism

Trans- and Trance at Western University

March 5-7, 2015 

Trans- and trance are ways of life: from transcendentalist impulses in the Epic of Gilgamesh, to Freud’s discussion of the phenomenon of transference, to the rise of transnationalism in modern times, the conceptual import of “trans-“ has always lied in its ability to denote mobility against and across frontiers, positionality along multiple axes, and shifting modes of territoriality within agonistic horizons. Trance almost always followed.

“Trans-” as a concept has steadily grown in importance as a way to inform critical thought and study in many intellectual fields and disciplines. In her 2014 report on “trans-” as one of the American Comparative Literature Association’s “ideas of the decade,” Jessica Berman notes how “‘trans-’ is not a substantive but rather an ‘orientation’ of critical approaches, attitudes, and habits of reading or experiencing”.

The Comparative Literature, Hispanic Studies, and Theory and Criticism programs at Western University invite you to problematize the concepts of “trans-“ and trance at the 17th Annual Graduate Student Conference to be held from March 5-7, 2015 in London, Ontario, Canada. The conference invites papers that engage critical notions of transit, change, and tumult in multidisciplinary contexts, especially those that highlight “trans-“ as a paradigm of dynamic subjectivity negotiating potentially violent domains. As trance culture seeks to reach the elusive state that lies Beyond, so too do the organizers hope that the conference will provide insight into possible conciliatory modes to the disruptions that the “trans-” phenomenon precipitates.

We encourage interdisciplinary submissions, including but not limited to literature, critical theory, cultural studies, digital humanities, linguistics, film studies, visual arts, music, popular culture, architecture, history, and philosophy. Suggested areas of interest may include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. Transformation: metamorphosis, posthumanism, science fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, rhetoric, semiotics of architecture, performativity

2. Trance and the Transcendent: the sublime, the oneiric, the orphic, aesthetics of trance, “the music of the Spheres”, euphoria, consciousness studies, hypnotext and literary mesmerism

3. Transgression in its various forms: proletarian literature, resistance and subversion literature, agitprop, the artist as Revolutionary, experimental literature, the Avant-Garde, the Gothic, queer theory

4. Transit and Transitions: immigrant literature, displacement, exile, postcolonialism, cosmopolitanism, urban culture, travel literature, border poetics, intersectionality, fluidity

5. Transsectional figures: the diasporic writer, the queer, the new feminist, the post- and transhuman, the academic as public intellectual, the digital humanist

6. Transference: creativity and trauma, psychoanalysis, ecocriticism, literature and epistemology, catharsis

7. Transfusion: language acquisition and development, digital humanities, normcore culture, cultural transmission, medical humanities, new media, pop culture Transtemporal: post-war, post 9/11, literature in an age of terrorism, nostalgia, memory, ephemerality, interruptions, trends, waves, pop-ups

8. Transculturalism and Transnationalism: hybridity, identity, appropriation, selfhood, folk culture, memes

9. Transactions: economies of exchange, reader response theory, reception theory, encounters with the Other, linguistic exchange

10. Translating the trance of the original: translation, transmedial art, photography, Benjamin, Barthes

We are asking those interested in delivering 15 to 20-minute presentations to submit abstracts of no more than 300 words to https://www.tfaforms.com/348456 by 07 January 2015. You can also email your abstract, name, paper keywords, institutional affiliation, technical requirements, and a 50-word biography to transtrance17 [at] gmail [dot] com. Abstracts and presentations in both English and Spanish are welcome, and selected papers will be published in an online academic archive post-conference. For more information, please check our Facebook page at Transtrance Seventeenth.

For inquiries contact the organizers: Sarah Warren (swarre8[at]uwo[dot]ca), Jamil Afana (mafana2[at]uwo[dot]ca), and Christian Ylagan (cylagan2[at]uwo[dot]ca)




Apps and Affect
October 18-20, 2013

Futures of Schelling Conference
August 29-31, 2013

Nietzsche Workshop @ Western: Tunnels, Tightropes, Net-&-Meshworks
April 13, 2013