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Call for Papers: “[...] The Secret in Contemporary Theory, Society, and Culture”

2014 March 3
by Skepsi

30th-31st May
University of Kent, Canterbury
Grimond Building, GLT3
Keynote Speaker: Prof. David Vincent (Open University)

With WikiLeaks and the Snowden case, the international newsreel has recently been increasingly concerned with revelations of secrets, allowing the confidential, private sphere to mix with the public, popular domain. In revealing the governmental practice of spying on millions of conversations, the Snowden case triggered a sudden upheaval in the definition of public and private spheres. It has also prompted us to question what constitutes a secret, and what function secrets have in society today.

This conference wishes to explore the structure and the conditions of the creation of a secret as reflected in contemporary theory and culture, as well as the role secrets play in society and in texts. Some of the questions in which we are interested include: How is a secret created? Which protagonists does a secret involve? Is there such thing as an absolute, as opposed to a relative, secret – in other words do secrets exist if others are unaware of them? Or do secrets only exist once they have taken on their structural position in relation to those who do and those who don’t know? How does the formation of a secret inform, and how is it informed by, the boundary separating the private from the public sphere? What ethical issues are involved in questions of transparency, concealment, and revelation? Does the conventional understanding of the secret – rightly or wrongly – presuppose a hidden ‘truth’ buried beneath the lack of meaning at the level of language? Is the secret itself a function of something like Derrida’s ‘différance’, and therefore an illusion or mere surface-effect of language?

Suggested topics include, but are not limited to, the following and their interrelations:

• Power relationships: what kinds of power relationships can exist between a secret holder and those who do not, or wish to, know it? Who does a secret alienate?
• Sociological and anthropological approaches to secrets: collective and individual secrets and the question of surveillance; how secrets vary across cultures.
• Language and communication: does interpreting a text reveal its secret(s)? Or is there a semantic void within any text, the lack of a fixed signified or ‘secret’, which nonetheless generates its apparent meaning(s)? What is a coded language?
• Secrets in Literature, and in the Visual and Plastic Arts.
• Secret Histories: subaltern and other marginalised histories; Nationalism, identity, and concealing or reinventing the past; the role of State secrets in history; how the definition and function of the secret has changed in history.
• Philosophical approaches to secrets (analytic and continental): do secrets exist? Are they logically possible? What relations are maintained between secrets, language, and intersubjectivity, and between secrets and the unconscious?
• Psychological and psychoanalytic perspectives on the structure and function of secrets. Emotional responses (guilt, shame, etc.).

Papers should last for 20 minutes and will be followed by 10 minutes of questions.

Abstracts (300 words) should be sent as a Word attachment to the conference organising committee at:

The email should include the name of the author, institution, and brief biographical details. You should also indicate in your proposal any audiovisual requirements you may have.

The deadline for submission of abstracts is 31st March 2014.

Funded by University of Kent, School of European Culture and Languages, and by K.I.A.S.H.

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Cradled in Caricature is now live!

2013 December 3
by Skepsi

It is with great pleasure that we announce the publication of Volume V, Issue 2 (Autumn 2013) of Skepsi, entitled Cradled in Caricature.

You can download the entire issue or individual articles at THIS ADDRESS.

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Conference Programme : ‘Ghosts in the Flesh’

2013 May 23
by Skepsi

Friday 24th May


9.00 -9.30: Welcome coffee and registration


9.30 -11.00 Panel 1 The other ghost: walking, talking deadchair: Nina Rolland

- Lucy Arnold ‘Mother always said that she would haunt’

- Veronica Frigeni ‘Dead man walking’

- Maria Dada ‘Tempo di Materiality’


11.00 -11.20: Coffee break


11.20 -12.30: Panel 2 Performance, Representation and Imagechair: Adina Stroia

- Alicia Spencer-Hall : “Spiritual Ghosts in the Digital Flesh? 13th Century Mystical Resurrection and the Modern “Spectre” of Tupac Shakur”

- Jack Webb ‘The Spectre of Haiti in Late Victorian Britain’


12.30 – 13.30: Lunch


13.30 -15.00: Panel 3 Ghosts and Literature. I chair: Mathilde Poizat-Amar

- Jeffrey Knaack ‘Ghosts as we are: Authenticity, Romanticism, and Books as relics in 19th century American Literature’ [in absentia]

- Doreen Bauschke ‘Solid Ghosts and Phantom Persons: The Notion of Somatic Hauntings in Shelley Jackson’s Patchwork Girl’

- Christopher Bond ‘Ghosts in the literature of War’


15.00 -15.30: Coffee break


15.30 – 17.00: Panel 4 Ghosts and Literature. IIchair: Krista Bonello

- Beatrijs Brouwer ‘Desire – divine or deadly? The Supernatural in Imperial Chinese Literature’

- Melanie Foehn ‘Out of joint’: The spectre of incommunicability in Hamlet, La Chute, and Beckett’s short plays’.

- Aaron Aquilina ‘Writing Afterlife – The Exhibitionism of the Dead’


17.00 – 18.00 Wine Reception


19.30: Dinner in town, everyone is welcome to join



Saturday 25th May:


10.00 -11.30: Panel 5 Physical Spaceschair: Titu Chakraborty

- John Sabol ‘The Ghosts of Place: The Acoustemology of Situated Past Presence’

- James Geary ‘The Holy Ghost made Manifest: How Bernini pinned down the Holy Ghost in Rome’

- Michał Sowiński and Katarzyna Trzeciak ‘Gdynia – city with(out) ghosts’


11.30 – 11.45: Coffee break


11.45 – 12.45: Keynote speaker: Esther Peeren, University of Amsterdam, ‘Fleshing out the Spectral metaphor’ chair: Guilaume Collett


12.45 – 14.00: Lunch

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Call for Papers: Ghosts in the Flesh

2012 December 22
by Skepsi

Skepsi is inviting proposals for papers for its upcoming sixth conference, Ghosts in the Flesh.

Read the full Call for Papers at THIS ADDRESS.

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Volume V Issue 1 (De)Parsing Bodies is here!

2012 November 6
by Skepsi

We are delighted to announce the publication of Skepsi Volume V Issue 1, entitled (De)Parsing Bodies. Read the issue at THIS ADDRESS.


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CALL FOR ARTICLES: Don’t Panic. the Apocalypse in Theory and Culture

2012 October 30
by Skepsi

Following the recent success of Don’t Panic: the Apocalypse in Theory and Culture, a two day postgraduate conference held at the University of Kent, we are calling for contributions to a future issue of Skeps,: the online interdisciplinary research journal, run by postgraduate students of the University of Kent’s School of European Culture and Languages, and now in its fifth year.


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Good Luck Fabien!

2012 July 14
by Skepsi

Skepsi would never have existed without all the efforts, passion and commitment that Fabien put into it.

Now, after having closely worked with the new team and having prepared them to the challenges and rewards of running Skepsi, he is ready to turn page and begin a new chapter in Japan. We can only say, dear Fabien, we will greatly miss you, and it was our honour and pleasure to work side by side with you on this adventure: together we saw Skepsi growing from a sketched note into the respected and well known graduate journal that it has come to be. On a side note though, I am glad you did not get to pick the name of the journal, which would have been Argos were it for you, engendering I can only guess how many misunderstandings with a slightly bulkier publication that many of us find in their mailbox…

Fabien, with all our hearts: Thank you and good luck in Japan!

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Skepsi Volume 4, Issue 2: Miscellanea

2012 March 30
by Skepsi

The editorial board of Skepsi is proud to announce the publication of Volume IV, Issue 2, Winter–Spring 2011–2012, Miscellanea.

You can download it at THIS ADDRESS.

COVER IMAGE courtesy of DON RELYEA © 2011

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Don’t Panic. The Apocalypse in Theory and Culture

2012 March 28
by Skepsi

We are pleased to announce that the programme of Skepsi‘s fifth annual conference, dedicated to the apocalypse in theory and culture is now available at THIS ADDRESS.


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Cradled in Caricature 2012

2012 March 24
by Skepsi


CiC event 27 April 2012


The Cradled in Caricature organising committee are delighted to announce that our second event will take place on 27 April 2012 at the University of Kent, Canterbury…

CRADLED IN CARICATURE : a multidisciplinary event

Friday 27 April 2012, COLT3, University of Kent, Canterbury

This one-day event will approach the notion of ‘caricature’ as an artistic and social practice, using it to prompt debate and discussion on exaggeration, stereotyping, representation, and characterisation. The multi-disciplinary event therefore intends to explore the following problems:

  • Why are societies framed by traditions of exaggeration and stereotyping?
  • To what extent does caricature disseminate didactic/polemical message?
  • What is the importance of media to the efficacy of caricature? How have print culture and the popular press played a role?
  • Under what cultural circumstances has caricature flourished in the past?
  • Where has caricature been located in the narrative of Western ‘art history’?
  • Are all societies and cultures (real, imagined; past, present) cradled in and constructed by caricature?


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