PANEL 1: THEORIES OF TRANCE AND TRANSCENDENTAL CONSCIOUSNESS
1) Gregory Kalyniuk (Trent). “The Entranced Subject of Transcendental Empiricism.”
Intensity can be said to consist of the energetic and/or affective reality that continually produces the common world of phenomena, which can be vaguely intuited under the conditions of ordinary experience, and which overwhelms the senses and does violence to our cognitive faculties under the conditions of more extraordinary forms of experience. Deleuze’s transcendental empiricism is concerned with drawing on the conceptual resources of Western philosophy in order to schematise the relation of what he would broadly describe as “schizophrenia” to such age-old questions as, “What does it mean to think?” For Deleuze, the answer to this question has less to do with the discovery of universal truths, than it does with understanding how all truths are produced through a process of perspectival falsification, as Nietzsche would have called it. The sort of distortions of the phenomenal world that bring experience into direct contact with intensity are what drive this process on in its construction of new images of thought. These images of thought map out reality, and name the zones of intensity that animate our experience of reality. But such distortions also threaten to plunge thought into a hidden world of confusion and madness, a bottomless depth in which the animals that we once were are reborn without the advantage of any instinct to guide them. In the absence of the familiar worldly structures that had domesticated these animals and repressed their urges in the depths of our bodies, the familiar question surfaces again: “What does it mean to think?”
2) Matthew Lilko (Trent). “The Art of Rave: Mixing Sense and Sound.”
The paper adopts the instruments provided by the language of Deleuze, Guattari, and Foucault as a way of engaging the human body as a non-representational object of theory. In doing so, the discourse articulates modes (moods) for encountering the evolving effect of humanistic subjection to biopolitics/power. This theoretical project offers itself as an attempt to energize vitalist investment in particular social practices. Specifically: the relationship existing between rhythm and dance, pulsation and assemblage, contact and community.
3) Dylan Vaughan (Western). “The Ecstasy of Language: Transport and the Longinian Sublime.”
The aesthetic experience of the sublime has had a long association with the notion of ekstasis, or ecstasy. Translated as a being-beside or being-outside of one’s self, ekstasis is a state of being that brings us to the very limits of subjectivity. This state of being and the advent of the sublime find their fullest convergence in the origins of the sublime itself: the first-century CE treatise by Longinus entitled Peri Hypsous, or On the Sublime. However, returning to Longinus, we find that ekstasis doesn’t appear in its nominative form as ecstasy; rather, it appears in its verb form. Longinus writes: the effect of the sublime “is not to persuade the audience but rather to transport (ekstasin) them out of themselves” (163 trans. Fyfe). It is this translation from ekstasin to transport that will provide the frame for my exploration of the sublime. The sublime experience, as transport, provokes a number of questions. What are the means of travel? What is the destination? Who (or what) are the passengers? Both commentators on the treatise, such as Stephen Halliwell and Michel Deguy, and Longinus himself attempt to answer to these questions, and my proposed conference paper aims to consider these answers and to put forth my own. As an experience of language that is beyond the finality of “persuasion,” the sublime constitutes a transport without a determinate destination, and the tekne, or technique, undergirding the sublime obscures the very vehicle delivering us to the dark space beyond the cosmos itself (Longinus 275). It is here, in Longinus’ treatise, where we can begin to see both the ecstasy and the potential violence that lie at the heart of the sublime experience.
4) Margherita Papadatos (Western). “A Space Without Memory: the Transcendent and the Sublime.”
According to Immanuel Kant, if the transcendent is that which compels us to pass beyond the limits of experience then the sublime is the very limit itself. Consequently, the sublime as the limit of experience points to the failure of presentation. In Kantian terms the sublime is a failure because it is a result of the inability of the imagination to present the Idea to the faculty of reason. Using the Kantian notion of the sublime as the failure of presentation or the acknowledgement of the unpresentable, Jean François Lyotard argues for the recognition of the sublime as the ever present and yet, always absent: the that that experience cannot account for. Concentrating solely on two artworks, Opera For a Small Room (2005) and The Killing Machine (2007) by Canadian installation artists Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, I redevelop Lyotard’s concept of the sublime as presented in his The Inhuman: Reflections on Time, in order to ask how Cardiff and Miller give shape to the unpresentable in their work. Following Lyotard, the question of this investigation becomes: how can we create an aesthetics of the sublime through material means when presentation itself is impossible?
PANEL 2: (GENDERED) MONSTERS LURKING BENEATH
1) Erica Barton-Muller (Western). “Desubjugation and the Welcoming of Montrosity: A Critical Rejoinder of the Constructed Double.”
In this paper I look into the ways that our relationships with others and the way we are welcomed by others into the world has a direct effect on our embodiment and on how at home we feel in our bodies. Jim’s experiences as an individual born with atypical sex anatomy are helpful in understanding how one’s being welcomed in the world is related to how one relates to grids of intelligibility in dominant imaginaries. While being rendered unintelligible, bodies and subjectivities that do not “fit” within dominant logics experience shame, psychic mutilation, and physical violence as an alleged “problem” is located within their body and being. These harms are a direct result of regulatory regimes that seek to maintain a systematic control of bodies and fit them into the dominant conception of what counts as a subject. I argue that dominant logics and grids of intelligibility need to be deconstructed as a matter of doing justice as their construction represents epistemological, ontological, and political decisions. I discuss Irigaray’s conception of grids of opposites as well as the constructed double as a transcendent all-knowing subject to help provide a deeper analysis of the origins of these grids of intelligibility and in turn what I take to be critical contributing “anxieties” to their development and maintenance. Sonny Nordmarken experiences as transmasculine can teach us about the conditions of and everyday effects of these constructed concepts. I build on the concept of the constructed double and argue that it is not only constructed to fool ourselves of our ability to know all about ourselves, others, and the world, but also as a means of invoking the illusion of transcendence, as we distance ourselves from the animal, natural, and mortal aspects of our subjectivity as well as the multiplicity and complexity of the living. With an understanding that “shards” are left behind through the signification of the subject I end by arguing that desubjugation, an embrace of a fear of death, and monstrosity are important epistemological and political tools to do justice and deconstruct hierarchies of oppression and thus allow for more bodies to be welcomed as they extend into space.
2) Julia Patek (Western). “Trances and Devils: the Liminal and the Demonic in Satan in Goray.”
Misogyny has a long history in Europe; Aristotle saw the female body as fundamentally abnormal, a grotesque deformation of the male body. With the arrival of Christianity and Judaism, the character of the demon appeared, and there is a possible connection between the misogyny of traditional European culture and the demonic characters of European fiction, who by definition reside in liminal spaces. My project explores this question through a semiotic reading of Satan in Goray, a Yiddish novel by Isaac Bashevis Singer which focuses specifically on a marginalized culture (that of Yiddish-speaking Jews in a small town in Poland in the early twentieth century), and written in a nearly-dead language. (It was later translated to English by Singer himself.) This paper asks about the degree to which misognyny informs the demonology of the novella, specifically the misogyny of the characters portrayed by the work. In this book, the character of Rechele starts out as a slightly eccentric girl, and over the course of the novel she becomes (seemingly) a prophetess and, later, a Lilith figure and a woman possessed by a demon. She also spends a large section of the novel in a trance while undergoing exorcism. I argue that, despite the misogyny that pervades the work, Singer ultimately uses the transformations of Rechele to make a larger theological point. She is an outcast in her society, but the protagonist of the novel. He creates a mythology that departs from traditional monotheism and, in doing so, suggests an alternate view of reality that incorporates the outcast in a fundamental and irreplaceable role.
3) Saralyn Russell (Western). “Mirror Scene, Mirror Seen: Trans/Gender Dysphoria and the Uncanny Visual.”
This paper draws upon trans scholarship and psychoanalytic theory to explore the classic “mirror scene” within transsexual narratives. The mirror scene occurs when a transsexual person looks in a mirror and does not identify with the sexed/gendered body that they see. This scene, a common plot device in trans autobiographies and films, is employed to convey severe gender dysphoria and bodily disassociation to the reader/viewer of the narrative. Drawing upon the works of Prosser and Keegan, I will begin by explaining the prevalence and significance of this mirror scene. I will then consider this scene in relation to Lacan’s concept of the mirror stage in human development, arguing that the scene represents a reverse mirror stage with implications for sexed/gendered subjectivity. Continuing this theme of psychoanalytic enquiry in a different vein, I will then illustrate how the mirror scene can be productively analyzed through Freud’s concept of the uncanny, or that which is simultaneously familiar and strange. I will specifically consider Freud’s emphasis on eyes and sight in his essay “The Uncanny,” in addition to his discussion of a particular monster (the Sand-Man) as an uncanny figure. I will then take up this phenomenon in relation to the transsexual body as monstrous, a concept that has been framed as subversive by several trans writers (e.g. Stryker, Nordmarken). Ultimately, I will demonstrate that despite the tumultuous history of psychoanalytic theory being used to pathologize trans identities, the mirror scene can be productively and ethically analyzed by carefully dialoguing the work of trans and psychoanalytic theorists.
4) Tristan Wicks (Western). “Maidenhood, Psychoanalysis and Narrative in Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound.”
In Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound, the maiden Io describes, in violent terms, the sexual overtures of the god Zeus which she experiences in a dream. Visited by such dreams nightly, her father asks the oracle at Delphi for advice the consequence of which is the oracle’s demand that her drive his young daughter from her home to wander aimlessly over distant lands. Though we see reflected in Greek literature a clear anxiety about the status of women, it is not obvious that a young girl, though haunted by sexual dreams, should be expelled from her home. Lacanian psychoanalysis, insofar as it emphasises the transition from childhood into adulthood, may provide us with a useful model for understanding Io’s expulsion. As a subject, Io’s experience seems to accord well with the Lacanian Imaginary. Specifically, the sexual language is both violent, making use of the language of the army and destruction, but the language is also a notably vague and and contradictory in stark contrast with other dream descriptions in Greek literature. Thus, Io’s dream and her consequent expulsion express both the unease of the Imaginary subject transitioning into the Symbolic and the anxiety that such a transition represented, particularly toward women, on the part of Greek society. Further, a Lacanian analysis suggests that Io’s forced expulsion is the necessary condition for the preservation of the Symbolic—the subject unable to integrate into and define itself in the context of the Symbolic, exists in opposition to the Symbolic and must be removed. However, the god Prometheus, depicted in the play as author of the Symbolic, intercedes and mediates Io’s transition into the Symbolic. Specifically, by means of narrative, Prometheus contextualises Io’s experience, making the confusion of her transition meaningful.
PANEL 3: TEXTOS QUE TRASCIENDEN FRONTERAS [TEXTS TRANSCENDING BOUNDARIES]
1) Ana Gonzalez (Western). “Representación de la transferencia generacional del stigma en el aborigen en La culpa es de los tlaxcaltecas.”
El propósito de este estudio es realizar un análisis del cuento “La culpa es de los tlaxcaltecas” de Elena Garro, que sugiere la existencia de un stigma en los nativos de la cultura mexicana con base en la teoría de Erving Goffman (1997). Éste explica que existen tres tipos de stigma, uno de los cuales se caracteriza como los stigmas de tribus, razas, naciones y religiones. La persona que posee un stigma será rechazado por la sociedad debido a las características que lo hacen diferente del resto que la conforma, porque éstas no cumplen con las expectativas de la comunidad. El stigma de los nativos en México, siguiendo la línea de la teoría de Goffman, ha sido transmitido de generación en generación desde la colonización, generando una actitud negativa o rechazo hacia los aborígenes. Esta transferencia tiene inicio con los tlaxcaltecas, un grupo indígena que existió antes de la conquista de México, los cuales son considerados culpables de que los españoles hayan logrado la colonización de su tierra. Michael Ernest Smith explica que fueron ellos los que se aliaron a Hernán Cortés, que bajo falsas palabras de paz y aprovechándose del conflicto que existía entre las tribus, les engaña tomando el poder poco a poco de las tribus indígenas (275). En el cuento de Garro se presenta un conflicto debido a la división de la identidad del personaje principal, Laura, ya que posee en su persona una parte indígena que pareciera que se desvía o se aparta de lo que es normal en su vida actual. Es posible asumir que una de las propuestas de la obra es plantear el detenimiento de la transferencia del stigma o des-estigmatización, dando lugar a la admisión, tolerancia y reconocimiento de los indígenas como parte de la sociedad mexicana.
2) Thania Munoz (University of California—Irvine). “Salvación y prisión: La colindancia en ‘La ciudad de los hombres’ de Cristina Rivera Garza.”
En la “Ciudad de los hombres”, que forma parte de la colección de cuentos La frontera más distante (2008), Cristina Rivera Garza presenta el tránsito de una reportera por un espacio selectivo y aislado. El rechazo de un grupo de personas (en este caso las mujeres), la extrema división entre la ciudad y la selva que la rodea, la vigilancia, las menciones de la ciudad como “proyecto” aluden a la oposición “civilización y barbarie” propuesta en el siglo XIX por Domingo Faustino Sarmiento (1845), pero también a La vorágine (1924) de José Eustasio Rivera. Estas referencias además de ser una estrategia intertextual, son un cuestionamiento de la continua presencia en el siglo XXI de oposiciones binarias y violentas. Propongo el término colindancia como una mirada crítica heterotópica para analizar los desafíos al control, las divisiones y la oposición a discursos discriminatorios planteada en el relato. Un análisis de este tipo también permite explorar los espacios “colindantes” de la “La ciudad de los hombres”: “anti-ciudades”, chozas en constante movimiento en la selva, entre otros. Estas propuestas y espacios responden a un proyecto discriminatorio cuyas víctimas más obvias son las mujeres y su escritura.
3) Juan Rios-Campillo (Western). “Un Quixote Transatlantico (A Transatlantic Quixote).”
La adaptación al drama de la obra de Cervantes Don Quijote de la Mancha realizada en 1970 por el director y dramaturgo francés afincado en Canadá, Jean-Pierre Ronfard integra la historia en nuevos contextos geográficos. Jean Pierre-Ronfard vio en Don Quijote un vehículo eficaz para expresar y canalizar los movimientos políticos y sociales que se venían sucediendo en Quebec desde la segunda mitad del siglo XX. La sátira contenida en la novela de Cervantes se ajustaba a los intereses del autor a la vez que su naturaleza caricaturesca conjugaba perfectamente con su idea de hacer crítica social a través del humor, fusionando de esta manera la ficción y la historia con la intención de aportar nuevos significados y utilizar la fábula para denunciar problemas actuales. Don Quichotte es una amalgama de referencias culturales que viajan a través del espacio y el tiempo para jugar con la historia, la política, la sociedad, la literatura y el arte y abordar temas que identifican a la comunidad quebequense con su tiempo e historia. Ronfard utiliza Don Quichotte como herramienta unificadora de la memoria colectiva constituida por multitud de identidades geográficas e históricas convirtiendo la obra en un palimpsesto transcultural. Su representatividad actual demuestra una vez más la intemporalidad y universalidad de la obra de Cervantes. La extrapolación del marco quijotesco a nuevos contextos no deriva en una pérdida de significado sino que se integra en una nueva realidad social. La considerada primera obra de la literatura moderna amplía su espectro cultural mediante el desplazamiento geográfico erigiéndose como la obra contenedora del discurso del hombre y la historia occidental. Cervantes estableció al héroe en los campos de La Mancha pero lo dotó de ideales universales transfronterizos que sin duda demuestran que “ancha es Castilla”(1) .
(1) Juego de palabras. Originalmente expresión que indica despreocupación grande
4) Dago Caceres- Aguilar (Western). “Unceasing Transfer of Realism: From Novel to Critical Reception.”
The purpose of this work is to determine how the production of realism continues through the contemporary criticism of novels that allude to socio- political conflicts in Colombia. My hypothesis is that the presuppositions made by critical reception on the relations between literature and society, beyond establishing some objective explanations, depict a registry of her realist reading of narrative texts. Although the realism continuum has been appropriated as a label, style or literary school, it should be treated and understood as a spontaneous response through which readers intertwine their empirical worlds and models of reality with narrative universes. Unlike “common” receptors, the practice of realism becomes more complex in academic criticism by the superposition of intricate conceptual networks on novels. By integrating literature with other theoretical worlds, overlapping with cultural, political, national, transnational or ethnic paradigms, these readers are involved in a dynamic negotiation of meaning that they feel is necessary to explain or justify their own experiences of space and identity. Thereby, on a sophisticated level, behind the instrumentation of text, appear the camouflaged emotional ties that bind to the receptor with his worldview prejudices. This constriction then becomes rationalized in the reading process. In this sense, the critical reception is essential, not only as a testing of framework that mediates their approaches to narrative, but also to generate epistemic changes and build new socio-cultural knowledge. Through the analysis of both the novel and its criticism, from the contributions of Darío Villanueva, this paper provides a better understanding of assigned meanings by literary communication on Colombian social contexts.
PANEL 4: TRANSFORMING BODIES
1) Parastoo Alaedinni (Western). “The Modern Zal: A Beast Transformed into a Human.”
The case of feral children has been a popular subject in both psychology and literature. While scientifically, feral children can never fully integrate into the human society and have difficulty communicating with people, literary texts depict them as heroes with mental capacities higher than normal people. Therefore, it is only in the realm of literature that feral children can fit into the social context of human civilization quite well. In The Last Illusion by Porochista Khakpour, the feral protagonist is not depicted as a supernatural and heroic figure, but a boy coming of age in New York in the 21st century. He is named after Zal, meaning albino, the legendary Persian warrior in the epic of Shahnameh. Despite struggling with all the problems scientifically associated with feral children, he manages to surpass all these difficulties much to the surprise of the people around him; mainly his adoptive father who is a child psychologist and his therapist. It seems that he acquires a human identity through transferring his bestial characteristics to others. As the people around him receive his bird-like features, he gradually turns into what can be perceived as a normal human. In this paper, I argue that Zal’s transformation from a bird boy to a human boy is achieved through his identification with some characters, while simultaneously projecting his inner and outer bird-ish impulses and desires unto others, thus transforming them into his Doubles.
2) Dijana Savija (Buffalo). “Orlando’s metamorphosis of gender and textual transfigurations; Violence of bios graphe.”
Virginia Woolf in her biography Orlando unfolds a mysterious male to female sex change intertwined with experimental textuality. Due to the narrative disconnections that Woolf elaborates in her book, Orlando, the androgynous protagonist undergoes unexplainable transformation from a man to a woman as the reader turns from one page to the other. To justify this unnatural sex alternation of humankind, Woolf embraces Ovid’s concept of metamorphosis that comes from his book of the same tittle. Ovid’s implication of this concept is simple as it applies to the change of a human body to a particular Nature’s form. However, in this investigation I will focus on a modern interpretation of metamorphosis that focuses not only on the physical transformation, but it also emphasizes gradual unfolding of inside characteristics of a changed figure. I will analyse here ways in which textual modification is submerged to the protagonist’s gender and psychological metamorphic process, as both, the text and Orlando’s gender are unstable. Further, I want to examine how this rickety construction of the text and Orlando’s character Woolf uses with intention to elaborate on parody and violence in textual and gender transformation. As book written in a form of a biography, this book calls to explore the parodic shifts in narration as it violates the bios graphe.
3) David Mongor-Lizarrabengoa (Western). “Afro-Brazilian and Transgender Identity in Madame Sata.”
In his 2002 film, Madame Satã, director Karim Ainouz provides a fictionalized account of the life of João Francisco dos Santos, a well-known drag queen from Rio de Janeiro’s red light district in the 1930s. In this paper, I argue that instead of making a traditional biography, Ainouz attempts to create a human portrait of dos Santos by highlighting his Afro-Brazilian roots and homosexual identity; in doing so, João’s mythical status is lost. I specifically examine Ainouz’s framing of João’s body, which is often in a close-up, and thus forces the audience to identify him as a human figure as opposed to a mythical one. The shot composition, combined with the incorporation of samba music throughout the film, begins to construct the identity of a poor Afro-Brazilian man, scorned for being poor, black, and a homosexual. Ainouz’s focus on João’s malandragem lifestyle, which was associated with Afro-Brazilian antiheroes, further develops this identity. (The malandragem lifestyle opposed traditional manual labor in which workers were often exploited; instead, it focused on making a living through petty crimes and seeking constant pleasure). In developing a transgender identity, I observe how João reinvents himself as a drag queen upon his release from prison and upon learning that his white lover, Renatinho, had been murdered. Again, by using close-up shots of João dressed in drag, Ainouz achieves his goal of creating “an enigmatic figure that plays with masculinity and femininity”, one that cannot be defined using conventional terms. Despite being ridiculed for being both black and queer, João choices to live his life as a physically imposing man and a “fairy”. This ultimately presents him as a human figure whose decision to live as a queen does not make him any less of a man.
4) Katarzyna Jasinski (Ottawa). “Desire, Solitude, and Community: ‘Incestuous Love’ vs. ‘Outcestuous Love’ in Anna Karenina and One Hundred Years of Solitude.”
“Le mal est l’égoisme et le bien l’altruisme”.
(G. Bataille- “Discussion sur le péché”)
The conflict between the individual and society is reflected by the opposition between “Incestuous Love” and “Outcestous Love”. I will use parts of Bataille’s notions of “sommet moral” and “déclin” to establish the theoretical framework of my contextual terms. Narcissistic tendencies of the human psyche are expressed by “Incestuous Love” and curtailed by “Outcestous Love”. Whereas “Incestuous love” exists in moments of uncontrolled abundance, also known as “le Sommet moral”, “Outcestuous love” exists in moments of exhaustion, also known as “le déclin”. The latter transcend the self-serving incestuous passion in the interests of conserving the “self” and the “other”. This paper will examine Anna Karenina and One Hundred Years of Solitude as novels that warn against the dangers of “Incestuous love”, a love that occurs when passion does not serve the utilitarian purpose of producing a family, hearth, or home and is, as a result, destroyed by the boundaries imposed by society.
The relationships of Anna Karenina/Count Vronsky in Anna Karenina and Aureliano Segundo/Amaranta Ursula in One Hundread Years of Solitude are examples of “Incestuous Love” that test the boundaries of excess and introverted passion. In both cases, love’s very inability to grow into something that encompasses a home, children and country estate implies that it will end tragically, either through suicide (Anna), military exile (Vronsky), death in childbirth (Amaranta Ursula), or solitude (Aureliano Seguando). Whereas “Incestuous Love” is weakened by social interference and must exist in solitude, “Outcestuous Love” is strengthened by various social elements such as marriage, family and the care of a country estate.
In a desire to conserve and enrich the individual’s utterly exhausted self, “Outcestuous Love” thrives in an environment of individual sacrifice and various social duties. As an extroverted socially acceptable love, the relationship of Tolstoy’s Levin/Kitty relationship and that of Ừrsula Iguarán/José Arcadio transcend the “death wish” embedded in the tragic love stories in the respective novels. In Anna Karenina, Levin and Kitty prepare to raise their family on Levin’s estate. In One Hundred Years of Solitude, Ừrsula Iguaràn and José Arcadio become one of the founding families of Macondo.
PANEL 5: TRANSCENDING TRAUMA THROUGH MEMORY
1) Ayelet Ishai (Western). (TBA.)
2) Sheena Jary (Western). “A Transgression outside Space and Time: Creating the New World in Flaubert’s ‘A Simple Soul’.”
Gustave Flaubert’s “A Simple Soul” is rich with innovation, and while often interpreted as ridiculous, the issue of the protagonist’s time-space continuum demands further attention. Félicité, Flaubert’s protagonist, appears as the title implies: simplistic. But upon closer analysis, one can discover a world where the imagined becomes the real, and a memory creates a world far beyond comprehension. I argue that Félicité’s time-space continuum—the plane of consciousness onto which Félicité projects the duration and flow of past into present—is interrupted by an involuntary memory, namely, the parrot, Loulou. The parrot signifies moments of Félicité’s past, one example being the loss of her nephew, who died in South America. Rather than facing her grief, Félicité begins to withdraw from the external, material world, and creates a realm that exists within her mind—a place where she exists almost as if she has stepped out of time. Loulou interrupts Félicité’s time-space continuum, and as she withdraws deeper into the structure of her internal world, readers witness a transgression: Félicité no longer prays to the Holy Spirit; rather she prays to the parrot, the object of involuntary memory that prompts her to release her mind from the pressures of exteriority in favour of the imaginary. This imaginary realm is transtemporal in that it transfers her mind from one space to another—her psyche, her spirit and essence, shift between two time-space continuums. I draw upon Henri Bergson’s theories of duration and involuntary memory to expand my argument that examines the span of two time-space continuums inside one sole mind. Félicité’s transgressions are many, but her mind remains simplistic. As a result, a dynamic protagonist arises from the very linguistic constructs that aim to dismiss her relevance.
3) Bruna Reis (Western). “Out of Trance: Awakening Jesus in José Saramago’s The Gospel According to Jesus Christ.”
In this controversial retelling of biblical events, Joseph is haunted by a guilt dream in which he marches with Roman soldiers to kill his own child, Jesus. Upon burying his father, Jesus also starts dreaming, repeatedly and with horror, that Joseph is marching to exterminate him. He then learns that the cause of Joseph’s nightmare was his past neglect to save innocent lives from Herod’s soldiers. Confused and angry, Jesus leaves his family but later returns home. Following the repetition of the nightmare in which he has “died a thousand deaths”, in the house of his childhood he dreams that he is floating down a river with Joseph and awakens “overcome with a feeling of exultation.” The dream of his father marching to kill him is never repeated. Jesus is finally awake.
This paper addresses Saramago’s call for an explanation of “the meaning of Jesus’ dream, which made it possible for father and son to be united even though the guilt of the one cannot be pardoned or the sorrow of the other relieved.” Although every (dream) interpretation is limited and questionable, I offer an examination of Jesus’ dream as wish fulfillment, his debatable emotional healing, and his out-of-trance awakening. Ultimately, this is a short inquiry into the transformative potential of dream-life, communicated experience, and awakening as both the site of trauma and a call to responsibility, as discussed by Cathy Caruth. It also dialogues with Jean-Bertrand Pontalis’ affirmation that every dream is a wish to return to the maternal body, and Thomas Ogden’s distinction between nightmares and night terrors. Some of the questions to be addressed are: what is the difference between being awake and being awakened? Who or what brings Jesus out of his trance? How? What constitutes his trauma and his awakening?
4) Chloe Wall (Western). “Memory as Testimony.”
Knowledge is transmitted in a variety of ways, one of which is through testimony pertaining to a certain subject. While the paradigmatic act of testimony is an interpersonal transaction, I explore memory—specifically, the act of remembering—to determine whether memory can qualify as epistemically transmissive. To accomplish this task, I explore Jennifer Lackey’s view of testimony (“the disjunctive view”) to explore whether, despite lacking the outward act of “telling” that we normally associate with testimony, remembering might constitute a testimonial act taking place between an earlier stage and a later stage of the self. Under Lackey’s view, an act of testifying only takes place when a speaker intends to express communicable content, and testimony must act as a potential source of knowledge for the hearer. If the speaker and hearer are taken to be the earlier and later stages of the self, respectively, then I think it is clear that remembering functions in both these capacities. On these grounds, I argue that memory can indeed satisfy the conditions to be considered testimony, and therefore it constitutes an epistemically transmissive act.