Linguistic encounters: the performativity of active listening

24 June 2016, New Conference Room, Sofia University

Beata Stawarska University of Oregon

image1 In my talk, I examine social encounters in language by combining an inquiry into individual saying acts (otherwise called speech-acts) with a reflection on how the enabling and constraining social conditions impact the success of such acts in the present. In other words, I propose to work at the intersection of a micro-sociology of social encounters with a larger structural focus on historically contingent social positions. Yet my overall task is not only diagnostic but also emancipatory, and I seek resources for resisting the received and sedimented social relations of power, including at the level of the individual sayings themselves. I therefore recover Bourdieu’s central claim that language mirrors social conditions of power operative in our not-solely-linguistic lives but emphasize, in agreement with Butler’s conception of linguistic performativity, that an ongoing linguistic practice does not solely reflect but can also resist and revise dominant distributions of power by enacting novel social relations through the saying acts. I argue that both Bourdieu’s and Butler’s understanding of the language-power structure will benefit from integrating additional insights from speech act theory, specifically regarding the importance of the hearer’s uptake for a successful or felicitous performance of a speech act. Speech is typically thematized in terms of the vocal production made by an individual speaker or a group but I will argue, drawing on Austin and in agreement with Hornsby and Langton, that the hearer’s uptake, which includes at least minimal receptiveness to what the speaker is saying, constitutes an integral and active element of the total speech situation. Defined in this way, uptake belongs to the language and power structure since granting the speaker minimal receptivity can enable a speech act to function as such (for example, an attempted order to become an accomplished one) while withdrawing minimal receptivity can make the speech act flounder. I turn to Irigaray’s philosophy of dialogue across sexual difference to make a case for active listening as an emancipatory strategy that can re-authorize speakers who have been socially disempowered on account of their gender. Throughout, I seek to both recognize the weight of inherited social conventions in language and to recover the capacity for sociolinguistic renewal within the partially unscripted and potentially innovative interactions between language users in the present

June Readings of the Sofia Literary Seminar with the Participation of Beata Stawarska

624th June, New Conference Room, University of Sofia,

19:00. Beata Stawarska.  Linguistic Encounters: the Performativity of Active Listening

25th June,  Sofia University Central Library

12:00~13:00. Miglena Nikolchina. Will You Stay Here: Commons Ex Machina

13:00~14:00. Enyo Stoyanov. Kristeva and Deleuze on the Notion of Process

14:00~15:00.  Darin Tenev. Theory and Modeling. Lévi-Strauss, Badiou, Kristeva and the Modeling Activity

15:00~16:00. Radosvet Kolarov.  Hesitation, Undecidability, and Desire for the Other

16:00~17:00. Kamelia Spassova.  Mimesis and Modeling: Lotman’s Double Structures

17:00~18:00. Discussion: Lotman, Kristeva, and the Question of Theory

Галин Тиханов. Современная литература: цезуры восприятия

Беседа редакции с приглашенным профессором ИГИТИ НИУ ВШЭ Галином Тихановым.
Социальные ниши современной литературы и эволюция литературного процесса: возможен ли в нынешнюю эпоху революционный переворот в представлениях о функциях литературы и ее творцах?

Разговор за „Елин-Пелин“ от Радосвет Коларов

IMG_1797С участието на Бойко Пенчев, Дарин Тенев, Еньо Стоянов и Сирма Данова

Нова конферентна зала на СУ „Св. Кл. Охридски“, 2 юни 2016, 19 ч.

„Елин-Пелин“ (Просвета, 2016) на Радосвет Коларов събира нови и стари изследвания, съсредоточени основно около наблюдения върху ефектите на творческата памет за изграждането на художествения свят на разказвача. Акцентът върху автореминисценциите (и дори автопародиите) обвързва тези анализи с теоретичните предложения от предходната книга на Коларов „Повторение и сътворение“ . Очертаването на продуктивна междина в отношението между старо и ново, памет и творчество, повторение и сътворение тук е обозначена именно от неочаквано припомнения дефис в псевдонима на разказвача. Доколкото включените в  „Елин-Пелин“ текстове сами първоначално се появяват и преди, и след експлицитното разгръщане на  проекта за автотекстуално осмисляне на процеса на литературното  творчество, бихме могли с немалко основание да предположим, че  те указват към една креативност на паметта, свойствена и на работата на изследователския поглед.

The Sofia Literary Theory Seminar : 100 years of Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis

kafka_posterFranz Kafka’s Metamorphosis was published for the first time in 1915, in the October issue of Die Weißen Blätter, so October 2015 is being celebrated worldwide as the 100th anniversary since the appearance of the uncanny story of Gregor Samsa. This also makes 100 years of theoretical tackling of the Metamorphosis, which drew the attention of numerous outstanding philosophers, literary theoreticians and writers of the 20th and 21st century including Alain Badiou, Albert Camus, Alenka Zupančič, Catherine Malabou, Georges Bataille, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Giorgio Agamben, Jacques Derrida, Jean-Paul Sartre, Judith Butler, Jorge Luis Borges,  Julia Kristeva, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Blanchot, Merab Mamardashvili, Michel Foucault, Mladen Dolar, Slavoj Žižek, Theodor Adorno, Tzvetan Stoyanov, Tzvetan Todorov, Walter Benjamin, etc. Certain paradigmatic interpretations of Kafka’s work forcefully delineate the interpretative fields of the 1960s and 1970s. We might even say that they provide a red thread in discussions regarding the status of the short story and of the space of literature per se.

The Sofia Literary Theory Seminar dedicated a year of collective effort to the careful reading of Kafka’s Metamorphosis. Through the prism of this history, at a colloquium which took place on October 21 at the Sofia University “St. Kl. Ohridski”, its members offered their own perspective to the heterogeneous trends in contemporary debates. Their approach was open to the spheres of philosophy and literature as the grid for analysing Kafka’s work, but also to political science, political economy, sociology, and other areas of thought. Central to the discussion was the concept of metamorphosis in its potential for a constructive approach to the problems of fiction and fictional modelling. A more general wager of the discussion was the question of the status of literary theory today.

In the program:

Radosvet Kolarov, Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis:  Transfigurations of Alienation

Darin Tenev. Modelling, Metamorphosis: Kafka’s Formal Indications

Miglena Nikolchina. Metamorphosis and Subtraction: from Kafka to Lem with Deleuze and Mamardashvili

Kamelia Spasova and Maria Kalinova. Negative Anagnorisis. A Series of Negations in Kafka

Enyo Stoyanov. Die Umkehr: The Chiasmic Transformations of Gregor Samsa

Boyan Manchev. Beyond the Work:  Metamorphosis