Cosmopolitanism: Thinking Beyond the Nation
February 1-4, 2007
Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida
In his introduction to Cosmopolitics, Pheng Cheah writes, "The main purpose is to explore the feasibility of cosmopolitanism as an alternative to nationalism." Indeed, ever since Kant, the concept of cosmopolitanism has been central to thinking about social relations, culture, and the problem of war outside of the relations of the nation-state. As the nation-state has organized the fields of literary and cinema studies as well as the broader field of culture, questioning such categorization is crucial, as it opens up new ways of thinking about literary and filmic production as part of a larger context of interaction. It can also account for novel ways of describing the field of contemporary knowledge and experience.
The question of the nation seems particularly important now because of two main transformations on the world scene: (1) economic globalization, in which the category of the nation-state is only one among many of possible identifications and sites of transaction, and (2) the growing inevitability of perpetual war (what Kant called "perpetual peace") and the endless expansion of global militarisms. Is cosmopolitanism just another form of elitism that re-inscribes social hierarchies, or does it provide an opening for new alliances? What new cultural formations, social networks, and institutional structures have arisen, both now and historically, in response to what Bruce Robbins called "the moral and cultural existence of non-citizens"? What resistances to global capitalism and global warfare might fall outside of such liberal solutions as the nationalized welfare state, nativism, or local communitarianism? In what ways do the current circulations of language systems, aesthetic orders, semiotic codes, national identities, and genres in film and literature transcend economics and politics formerly envisioned in national terms?
The deadline for submissions is October 15, 2006.