Identity and Its Discontents

Conference to be held at the University of Melbourne

26-28 November 2008

Keynote speakers: Dr Tony Birch (University of Melbourne) Dr Debjani Ganguly (ANU) Professor Ghassan Hage (University of Melbourne)

Call for Papers:

What does it mean to speak of identity? Despite its popularity in academic discourse, identity is often insufficiently theorised. The purpose of this conference is to create the time and space to stop and think about identity, identities and their implications, effects and affects, their formation and performance, workings and failings, and the way in which identities intersect with our other analytical categories like gender, race and class, as well as nationality, religion, ethnicity, culture and sexuality. Our aim is to begin a conversation that explores, historicises and interrogates our concepts of identity.

Further questions we are interested in addressing include: How is identity materialised, articulated, embodied, lived and ritualised?

How does one live out the identity of the colonised? The coloniser? How does one rebel against their identities, and can they be escaped? What are the effects of interactions with other groups, forced or voluntary? Who has the power to define what constitutes an individual's or group's identity? Is there a power to living on the margins? How are identities shaped by emotions? How are identities shaped and lived on an individual and/or collective level? What roles do individual and collective memory play? What roles do language and representation play in shaping and reshaping identities?

We invite scholars with an interest in these or similar questions to propose a 20 minute paper. Proposals for sessions built around a theme are also welcomed.

Please send abstracts of 300 words, and a biography (max. 50 words) to by June 30.

Conference convenors: Matthew Klugman, Claire McLisky, Jordy Silverstein, David Slucki, Melissa Walsh. Supported by the School of Historical Studies, University of Melbourne.