Normalization, Exclusion, Excess Conference 2005

Normalization, Exclusion, Excess Conference Program for October 7th & 8th 2005

Conference Program

Friday Sessions:

2:00 pm:
Jeffrey Powell (Marshall University)
"Hegel, Madness, and Moral Excess"

4:00 pm:
Kalliopi Nikolopoulou (University of Buffalo)
"Elements of Experience: Bataille€™s Drama"

Group Dinner: 6:00-7:30pm

Plenary Lecture 7:30pm:
Alphonso Lingis (Penn State University, emeritus)
"The Outsiders: The Search for Authenticity"

Saturday Sessions:

11:00 am:
Ben Pryor (University of Toledo)

Group Lunch: 1:00-2:00pm

2:00 pm:
Andrew Mitchell (Stanford University)
"Torture and Photography: Abu Ghraib"

4:00 pm:
Karmen MacKendrick (LeMoyne College)
"Sharing God€™s Wounds"

Plenary Lecture 6:00pm:
Charles Scott (Vanderbilt University)
"Normalcy and Exclusion"

All sessions will take place in the Main Hall of the John Rogers Faculty Development Center

Conference Abstract

Normalization reflects practices by which thought, behavior and values are formed, so as to ensure the cohesion or possible agreement of private and public interests. Normalizing activity produces and maintains stable identities only by excluding other modes of thought, behavior, and values. Everything that is excluded remains in principle inaccessible, incomprehensible, and thereby excessive to the systems and values that require and maintain these exclusions.

The seven presentations featured in this conference on "Normalization, Exclusion, Excess" aim to address the revaluation of excess remainders lodged outside the boundaries of normalized life. Some concrete examples to help situate this nexus of questions include: the status and meaning of mental illness; alternative sexualities; immigration and assimilation; gang activity; and socio-political resistance. At stake in the conference is how to understand such phenomena given the influence of our normalized investments. In this respect, the conference seeks to ask how excluded thought, behavior, and values acquire meaning other than that imposed upon them by normalized practices, and how we might better assess or understand those meanings.

"If existing and accepted conventions of universality constrain the domain of the speakable, this constraint produces the speakable, marking a border of demarcation between the speakable and the unspeakable.... In this instance and through this strategy of relying on established conventions of universality, do we unwittingly stall the process of universalization within the bounds of established convention, naturalizing its exclusions, and preempting the possibility of its radicalization? The universal can be articulated only in response to a challenge from (its own) outside. What constitutes the community that might qualify as a legitimate community that might debate and agree upon this universality?"
-- Judith Butler, "Universality in Culture"

Normalization, Exclusion, Excess.pdf