Event date: Wednesday 23 March 2016, 3 – 4.30 p.m.
Location: Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, Blandijnberg 2, Large Meeting Room (third floor)
“The Scales of Realism; Or, A Realism, but Not for Us”; given by Prof. Arne De Boever (California Institute of the Arts) as part of the Questions of Scale in Contemporary Literature and Criticism symposium
Starting from a reading of W. G. Sebald’s use of lists in Austerlitz, my talk examines the usefulness of “scale” as a term across the visual and literary arts. Moving through a discussion of scalar representation and literary realism’s supposed obsession with full, 1:1, or life-size scale, the talk argues that scale’s true referent when it comes to the realist novel is the human. Displacing the discussion of scalar representation to what I theorize (after Quentin Meillassoux) as the correlationist question of human scale, I consider various other-than-human realisms—already embedded, as I will discuss, in realism itself—, focusing in particular on what I call (following recent developments in critical theory) the vegetative realism of Michel Houellebecq’s The Map and the Territory: a realism, but not for us.
Arne De Boever teaches American Studies in the School of Critical Studies at the California Institute of the Arts, where he also directs the MA Aesthetics and Politics program. He is the author of States of Exception in the Contemporary Novel (2012) and Narrative Care: Biopolitics and the Novel (2013), and editor of Gilbert Simondon: Being and Technology (2012) and The Psychopathologies of Cognitive Capitalism: Part One (2013). He edits Parrhesia: A Journal of Critical Philosophy and the Critical Theory/Philosophy section of the Los Angeles Review of Books. He is also a member of the boundary 2 collective and an Advisory Editor for Oxford Literary Review.
All are welcome. Admission is free, and registration is not required. For more information, please contact Holly Brown.