2009 ESA Conference CFP: Projection – Speculating on Presence, Absence, and Nonsense

March 6, 2009

The Graduate Center of the City University of New York

English Students Association Annual Conference

Avaunt! and quit my sight! let the earth hide thee!
Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold;
Thou hast no speculation in those eyes
Which thou dost glare with.
— Macbeth (III, iv)

Deadline for submissions extended to January 1, 2009!


The projections before us possess lives of their own that are as stubbornly resistant to our control as Banquo’s ghost. This conference aims to investigate the ways in which projection blurs the line between presence, absence, and nonsense, with consequences–though based on “mere speculation”–resounding on individual, social, and global scales. At a moment gripped by projections of economic and ecological catastrophes, and in a tradition shaped by the projections of Plato’s dark cave, the camera obscura of the Enlightenment, and Freud’s turbulent psyche, this conference invites papers that offer innovative, engaged, creative, and/or humorous approaches to projection.

Submit abstracts by January 1, 2009 of 250 words or less to projection.conference@gmail.com.

Panel submissions are also welcome.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

(1) Projections of the Self

  • Astral Projection
  • Avatars
  • Autobiography and Self-Construction
  • The Double and the Doppelganger
  • Anthropomorphism
  • Freudian Projection
  • Object Narratives and Animal Autobiographies

(2) Projections of the Other

  • Orientalism and Occidentalism
  • Imperial, Colonial, and Global Projections
  • Subjects and Objects
  • Sexual Minorities and Queer Studies
  • The Power of the Gaze
  • Ghosts and Ghost Stories
  • Sympathy and Antipathy
  • Gods and Men
  • Aliens and Mythical Creatures
  • Transference and Envy
  • The Uncanny

(3) Projections of the Past

  • Revisionist Histories
  • Constructing National/Historical Narratives
  • Interpretive Archaeology
  • Myths and Mythology

(4) Projections of the Future

  • Speculative Fiction
  • Dystopia and Utopia
  • Worlds without Men
  • Millennialism and Apocalypse
  • Prophecy and Prophetic Vision
  • Financial Projections
  • Predictions of Ecological Disasters

(5) Projections of the Body

  • Gendered/Raced/Classed Bodies
  • Prosthetics
  • Phantom Limbs
  • Projectile Vomiting

(6) Science and Technology of Projections

  • Magic Lanterns
  • Optics and Astronomy
  • Photography
  • Camera Obscura
  • Film
  • Cartography
  • Holograms
  • Shadow Plays

(7) Pedagogical Projections

  • Transference and Counter-Transference
  • Teacher Narratives
  • Pedagogical Relations
  • The Phenomenology of PowerPoint

(8) Theories of Projection

  • Plato’s Cave
  • Descartes and Locke’s Camera Obscura
  • Bentham’s Panopticon
  • Freud’s Psyche
  • Benjamin’s Angel of History
  • Heidegger’s Phenomenology
  • Barthes’s Camera Lucida
  • Kristeva’s Abjection