Appel à communication : « Taste » (New York, 13-14 avril 2017)

jan-brueghel-i-peter-paul-rubens-allegorie-du-gou%cc%82t-madrid-pradoGood or bad. Sophisticated or crude. Bitter, sweet, salty, sour…. Tastes are reflections of our moral register, aesthetic sensibilities, and sensorial regimes. From the Old French taster meaning to touch or to enjoy, “taste” is a faculty rooted in our sensory, aesthetic and imaginary encounters. For Théophile Gautier “le goût de l’exotisme” can develop “à travers l’espace” or “à travers le temps,” the desire for an unattainable, irretrievable past. Our tastes shape and structure our experience of time and our experiences through time, fashioning the way we see ourselves and others along scales of aversion and affection, rejection and appropriation. As Paul Valéry once remarked, in literature “the lion is made of digested lamb”: “Rien de plus original, rien de plus “soi” que de se nourrir des autres. Mais il faut les digérer. Le lion est fait de mouton assimilé” (Tel Quel, 1941). In a certain sense, taste fashions the reading and writing subject according to processes of ingestion and digestion; it is not only the tongue that is implicated, but also the throat, stomach and bowels. Furthermore, as the entry for “goût” in the Encyclopédie suggests, the faculty of taste itself, much like the flavors it senses and/or engenders, is inherently dynamic and can be honed and perfected, individually and collectively, to forge cultural determinations of value and canon formation. It is thus subject to social, cultural, and economic forces and norms, regulating and distributing cultural capital across social space.

This polysemy poses both theoretical and practical questions. Who and what arbitrates “taste”? What would be necessary to establish a historical sense of taste? What are its markers and traces?
How has the psychoanalytic approach to aesthetics shaped the modern taste for the abject, the obscene and the uncanny? Have recent challenges to the phenomenological primacy of the human sensorium altered the status of taste?

We invite papers that reflect upon the notion and applications of taste in its various forms. Potential papers might explore (but are not limited to) the following themes:

◊ abjection, affection, beauty/ugliness and boredom
◊ admiration, inspiration, intertextuality and critical theory
◊ aesthetics and ekphrasis
◊ affect theory
◊ camp and kitsch
◊ canon formation, culture wars and criticism
◊ disgust and distaste
◊ taste as distinction
◊ false perceptions and psychosomatic symptoms
◊ fashion and design in literature
◊ fear and the sublime/grotesque
◊ food studies and cultural studies
◊ gender and taste
◊ obscenity, vulgarity, censorship and counterculture
◊ phenomenology
◊ price, prizes, and quality
◊ taste as palimpsest, taste as performance
◊ translation as taste
◊ salons and markets
◊ spectatorship and performance
◊ the unheimlich and the abject in literature and psychoanalysis
◊ the universality of taste

Please submit a 300-word abstract to for a 15-20 minute paper (in English or French) by January 1st 2017.

Proposals should include the title of the paper, the presenter’s name, a 100-word bio including institutional and department affiliation, as well as any technology requests.

New York University Department of French
Graduate Student Conference

Dates : April 13-14th, 2017
Keynote speakers :
◊ Allen S. Weiss (NYU Tisch School of the Arts)
◊ Jennifer Tsien (University of Virginia)

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