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2019 MLA Convention
Special Session CFP
Fragile Sovereignty, Precarious Transactions
The promise of becoming in mediated transactions is fragile and unpredictable. Such transactions
might act as an instrument of interpellation that produces sovereign subjects, on the one hand,
and precarious objects, on the other hand. Or, as is often the case, mediated exchanges allow for
the emergence of complex identity positions that are simultaneously objects and subjects, whose
sovereignty shades into precarity, and vice versa. Such transactions are also inherently dependent
upon various states of mediation and the transactions of media, across material, aesthetic, and
political strata. Joanna Zylinska has suggested that new attention to the transactional power and
particulars of mediation might intervene in the rhetorical excesses of non-human and post-human
discourses in the interest of a “media-ecological perspective.” If precarity emerges, as Judith
Butler contends, in the failure of interpellation, it is nonetheless, as Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing
argues, the condition of vulnerability.
In response to the MLA’s 2019 Presidential Theme, “Textual Transactions,” this session invites
papers to consider forms of sovereignty, precarity, and fragility as effects and producers of
mediated transactions: textual, material, digital, visual, and aural. All approaches and periods
welcome. 250-word abstract by 10 March 2018; Jen Boyle (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Wan-
Chuan Kao (email@example.com).
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