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Authenticities East and West
Princeton, March/April 2001

C A L L   F O R   P A P E R S

Authenticities East and West
March 30 - April 1, 2001


The call for papers for this conference is now available in Chinese and Japanese
translations. The URL for these new versions are:

    Simplified Chinese:
    Traditional Chinese:

The Society for Intercultural Comparative Studies is a newly formed
organization that seeks to foster the growing community of scholars in the
field of cultural criticism by providing an on-going and open forum for
discussion. One of the Society's first projects is the graduate symposium
"Authenticities East and West," to take place March 30 - April 1, 2001, at
Princeton University.

Common to much critical practice, notions of authenticity underlie various
units of study such as events, texts, and identities. To compare cultures
with no benefit of historical influence, the scholar must examine
assumptions of what is authentic from various angles: from its root
meaning of authority to representations of origins and authorship through
metaphysical ideas of truth. What constitutes an authentic text, event,
genre, subject, or author in disparate traditions? To whom is this
authenticity important? Are authenticities important at all? What do
authenticities mean in relation to accounts of historical moments across
cultures? How do authenticities relate to the material and ideological
implications of "different" cultural products? What practical and
theoretical difficulties for the comparatist arise in writing and reading
authenticities? These important issues are at the heart of our conference.

We invite papers from both graduate students and recent post-doctoral
scholars from all fields of humanities, ancient or modern. Papers may
engage with literary, cultural, political, and historical topics and
issues. The first restriction, however, is that they must address one
Western culture (of European tradition) and one East Asian culture (of
Chinese, Japanese, or Korean traditions). Second, we will exclude problems
of reception or influence (that is direct connections between two

Papers submitted should deal EITHER (1) with theoretical issues of
comparison, OR (2) with a comparative study of specific works that will
provide insight to such theoretical issues.

Some examples of potential areas of inquiry include, but are not limited

-- What constitutes authenticity in differing traditions at different
   moments? What constitutes authenticity for the comparatist? 
-- What, if any, are viable units of comparison? Genre, period, media,
   socio-political events, technology? Can one apply the problematics of
   one literary tradition or one culture to analyze another?
-- Why is such comparison necessary?  What does comparison achieve, with
   respect to, for instance, the politics of comparison, or the relation
   of subject to object?
-- Does the nature of historically and culturally unconnected comparison
   differ from other kinds of comparison?  If so, how and what are the
   implications? What is the role of the comparatist in creating this
-- How will East-West comparison not based on historical connections be
   useful to other comparative and  non-comparative studies?

Each paper will be allocated 20 minutes for delivery with generous time
for discussion, which designated respondents will initiate. We will offer
a travel fellowship to encourage international papers or papers from
distant institutions from the West Coast or Hawaii.

Rey Chow, Karatani K˘jin, and Robert Wardy will conduct workshops in their
areas of expertise. Brown's Rey Chow, a cultural theorist on modern China,
the author most recently of Ethics After Idealism, will be giving a
workshop titled "Asymmetry, Appropriation, Authenticity: Persistent
Problematics in East-West Comparative Studies." The complementary event,
"Inauthenticity: Some Examples," will be conducted by Robert Wardy, a
Cambridge Hellenist who recently published Aristotle in China: Language,
Categories and Translation. Finally, Karatani K˘jin, arguably the most
influential literary critic in Japan in the past twenty years whose latest
work in English is Architecture as Metaphor, will lead a workshop on
"Transcritique: Kant and Marx."

Abstracts of 500 words or two pages may be submitted by January 31, online

or by mail to:

	Society for Intercultural Comparative Studies
	Attn: Authenticities East and West
	318 East Pyne
	Princeton University
	Princeton, NJ  08544

For more information on the Society for Intercultural Comparative Studies
please consult the website in progress:

All questions and comments to the organizers of the Society, Jonathan Abel, Shion
Kono, and Kevin Tsai, at