Call for Papers & Participation: Engaging Boredom Symposium @ Queen's University, April 2015
ENGAGING BOREDOM CFP
April 26, 2015
Wallace Hall, John Deutsch University Centre
Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario
Boredom can be perceived as both stifling and liberating: as an emptiness to be avoided or else as a overflowing of time and space. In this view boredom is monotonous, repetitive, and dull, but it is also a potential source of insight and creativity - a pause that gives perspective or an empty space to be filled.
This symposium seeks to engage boredom and to explore the dangers and potentials it represents in a way that moves beyond the confines of traditional academic conferences. We welcome proposals for participation of the following types:
1. Academic papers (10-20 minutes)
2. Presentations from community organizations (10-20 minutes)
3. Workshops or activities (30-75 minutes)
4. Performances (10-30 minutes)
Academic Keynote: Dr. Michael E. Gardiner (Western). Dr. Gardiner is Professor of Sociology at Western University, where he researches theories of affect, especially boredom, in relation to political economy. He will be speaking on the sociology of boredom.
Community Keynote: Nathan Townend (Kingston). Townend is interim-President of the Kingston Greens and Green Party candidate for Kingston and The Islands in the 2015 federal election. He will be speaking on boredom and political apathy.
Please send proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 1st 2015 and include the name(s) and university affiliation(s) and/or other relevant affiliation(s) of the presenters. Please specify the amount of time required as well as audio, visual, and space requirements.
* For academic presentations, please send a publication-ready titled abstract of 200-300 words.
* For presentations, workshops, and performances, please send an outline (~1 page) of the proposed presentation, workshop, or performance, including a description of the organization(s) involved (if applicable) and a brief explanation of the ways the proposed presentation, workshop, or performance engages boredom or related themes.
For more information visit engagingboredom.wordpress.com
Apathy - eg. activist interventions into political apathy
Art - eg. artworks or studies of art history and visual culture that thematize boredom (eg. John Baldessari's "I will not make any more boring art") employ repetitive mark-making (eg. pointillism), rely on algorithms (eg. Jorinde Voigt's schematic line drawings), or explore extreme formal reduction (eg. minimalism).
Attention - eg. boredom as unfocused attention; neuroscientific studies on the perceptual effects of attention and focus, for example, the role of attention in the "binding problem"
Boredom and Modernity - eg. boredom as social alienation; historical studies on the affective consequences of the shift from rural to urban life in the industrializing West; phenomenology of factory line labour
Choice - eg. choice overload in our options as consumers; debates around the secularizing or disenchanting effects of ideological and religious pluralism
Creativity - eg. artist talks or practitioner anecdotes on boredom as either a stifle or a boon to creativity; philosophical, psychological, or sociocultural studies on the relationship between boredom and creativity; writer's block or creative block vs. flow (re: Mihály Csíkszentmihályi's theory of "flow")
Depression - eg. psychological studies of how lack of interest, flat affect, and psychomotor retardation figure in diagnosis and treatment of depression
Emptiness - eg. from existential emptiness in movements and ideologies like nihilism or Dada, to spatial emptiness in theories of the sublime
Leisure/Play - eg. the loss of distinction between leisure and labour activities as the same information communication technologies are used in both work and play; the changing forms of children's play and imagination in the context of digital overstimulation or "information overload"
Literature - eg. literary works or studies that have thematized or reproduced boredom (mid-century conceptualists' "uncreative writing," Kenneth Goldsmith's concept of the "unboring boring," the Russian genre of "boredom novels" (lishni chelovek), David Foster Wallace's novel The Pale King)
Meaning - eg. boredom as a spiritual or philosophical affliction, from acedia in The Desert Fathers to ennui as a bourgeois distinction
Meditation/Contemplation - eg. the differences between "superficial" and "profound" boredom; boredom as a meditative state; workshops on enduring or embracing boredom in meditative practices
Morality - eg. boredom as the root of evil - the connection between boredom and anxiety, boredom and cruelty, boredom and antisocial tendencies - in philosophical and theological thought (Baudelaire, Kierkegaard, etc.); contemporary depictions of boredom as a moral failing in an overdeveloped world
Procrastination - eg. boredom from an educational or managerial perspective - strategies on how to find interest in rote tasks
Repetition - eg. boredom as predictability, or repetitiveness (Benjamin on boredom and the cycles of fashion in The Arcades Project; Nietzsche's concept of the eternal return; Deleuze's concept of difference and repetition)
Time - eg. boredom characterized as an experience of time slowed, stilled, or warped in theories of time consciousness (Heidegger, Husserl, Bergson)