Pre-Conference Rush-- Apocalyptic Meditations
Social Symtpoms in Life Under Post-Industrial Capitalism
Ultimately I would like to end with a brief discussion of Zizek's parallax, arguing that what these films represent is the impossibility of the social itself, or, rather, that the social is not one or the other (communitarian organic bonds versus collections of autonomous and self-determining individuals), but rather the very tension between these two conceptions of the social. Somewhere in there I plan to plug our discussions here in the academic blogosphere, but I really won't have the time or space to develop them as they should be developed.
Generally, I don't like to present at these sorts of conferences as I always feel a bit silly in my pop-cultural analyses, always finding them a bit facile (K-Punk, Jodi Dean, and Foucaultisdead are far better at this sort of thing), and feeling more at home in the arid world of theory. But a friend asked me to be on his panel and it's a chance to see Las Vegas, which I've never before visited. At any rate, I probably won't have much time to write over the next couple of days as I'm busily pulling all this together at the last minute. If any of you happen to be at this conference, drop by and have a gander. Our panel is entitled "Religious Appeal(s)" and is at 1:45 on Saturday... My paper was originally entitled "Secular Theologies" and I was going to argue that certain forms of religion are a structure of thought (it's necessary for me to defer to Anthony Paul Smith's claim that religion is not a univocal concept or that religion does not exist), not a set of ontological commitments to the divine, but rudely changed the topic at the last minute.
In the meantime, N.Pepperell has written a beautiful and challenging summation of where we're at in our ongoing dialogue over at Rough Theory, that is well worth the read. Hopefully I'll have more to say about this when I return. Siren's song indeed. I'd much rather be thinking of those issues than working on this paper.
* Picture shamelessly filched from K-Punks blog. My friend Melanie tells me that people like visual aids. The Platonist in me recoils.