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The Art and Politics of Irony

12-14 April 2012 | Montréal, QC

An interdisciplinary conference hosted by the Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas, in collaboration with Improvisation, Community and Social Practice (SSHRC-MCRI), the Centre de recherche en éthique de l’Université de Montreal and the Département d’études anglaises, Université de Montréal

Keynote Speakers
Shoshana Felman (Emory University)
Peter Goodrich (Yeshiva University)
Pierre Schoentjes (Universiteit Gent)

Special Session Leaders
Brigitte Adriaensen (Radboud Universiteit, Nijmegen)
Jill Stauffer (Haverford College)
Sara Villa (Université de Montréal)
Christina Tarnopolsky (McGill University)

“The ironist does not have the new within his power . . . he destroys the given actuality by the given actuality itself.” Søren Kierkegaard

Irony makes the world new by putting the world that exists in question. Its strength lies in its destabilizing power—it is the politics of art, the art of politics, and the language of dissent. By enabling critical representations of the world as it is known, but from within and against the familiarity of our own expectations, irony gives art and discourse special kinds of access to the public sphere, especially by mining beneath the given, the actual, and the known.

In politics, philosophy, art and literature, across post-modernism, post-colonialism, and globalization, the question of irony is of expanding relevance to a range of fields of cultural formation and inquiry. Yet it remains insufficiently noticed, understood, or theorized; ironically powerful and silent at once.  What is the meaning of irony? What does it accomplish and exactly how and with what effects?  Is irony impoverished or indispensable, disenchanted or enchanting, world-breaking or world-making?

Registration fees:  $100 Faculty; $50 Students (Fees will be waived for students at McGill University and the Université de Montréal.) This link will provide a secure page for online registration and payment of fees.  Please register before 15 March 2012.

A reduced rate ($119+tax) for conference participants is available at the Holiday Inn Midtown (for the nights of 11, 12, 13, 14 April). To make a booking that takes advantage of the discount, please use this link.  Bookings must be made by April 10, 2012.  (Please refer to hotel policy concerning cancellations, room charges, etc.)

Updated April 2012.  The full program provided to registered participants will include paper abstracts.