The Ph.D. Program in History

at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York


IDIOSYNCRASY – A Graduate Conference by the Ph.D. Program in French at the CUNY Graduate Center

A Graduate Conference by the Ph.D. Program in French at the CUNY Graduate Center
March 1, 2013

CFP -Submit proposalscontaining an abstract of no more than 250 words, your name, affiliation, and contact information to by December 15, 2012. Keynote speaker TBA. Conference website :
« On ne peut être normal et vivant à la fois. »
–E.M. Cioran
« On n’est peut-être pas fait pour un seul moi. On a tort de s’y tenir. Préjugé de l’unité. »
–Henri Michaux
The notion of idiosyncrasy is inextricable from the history of cultural production. In the humanities, this is attested by the twentieth-century obsession with deconstructions of the self, from the fragmented modern self to the empty self of existentialism, the constructed self of poststructuralism, the dissolved postmodern self, and the hybrid, creolized, and cosmopolitan selves of postcolonial theory. The social sciences have also investigated idiosyncrasy, from Gaston Bachelard’s notion of the epistemological rupture that breaks through common sense to Edwin Hollander’s idea of “idiosyncrasy credit,” Pierre Bourdieu’s critique of taste, and the “binding problem” in cognitive science. Yet the twentieth century was not novel: we may also cite Rabelais’s neologisms, the familiarization of strangeness in Montaigne, and the grotesque according to Victor Hugo. Nor does the question of the self exhaust the problem, for we may also consider the idiosyncratic work, the idiosyncratic medium or materiality, idiosyncratic hermeneutics, and the nexus of idiosyncrasy and technology, from print cultures to digital communities.
This conference invites graduate researchers and theorists to examine idiosyncrasy in French-language culture from a wide variety of philosophical and disciplinary perspectives. We welcome contributions not only in literary and media studies but from any and all neighboring disciplines where idiosyncrasy is an important subject, including but not limited to history, philosophy, linguistics, archeology, architecture, psychology, sociology, cognitive science, and computer science. Below is list of potential themes that is of course not exhaustive:
– the idiosyncratic self
– the idiosyncratic artwork
– disability theory and the idiosyncratic body
– cultivating idiosyncrasy as self or style
– idiosyncrasy and the human/animal nexus
– idiosyncratic mediums and materialities
– the Deleuzian anomal
– taste, class, and idiosyncrasy
– language and poetic idiosyncrasy
– cinematic auteurism
– idiosyncrasy in pop culture: cult cinema, underground comics
– idiosyncrasy in linguistics: exceptions, idioms, colloquialisms
– genre conventions and idiosyncrasy
– collecting, curating, and idiosyncrasy
– idiosyncratic hermeneutics
– postmodernism, pastiche, and idiosyncrasy
– A.I. and computational idiosyncrasy
– the avant-garde and idiosyncrasy as ideal
– postcolonial hybridity as idiosyncrasy
– individual and group idiosyncrasies
– Darwinian idiosyncrasy and genetic norms
– paradox as conceptual idiosyncrasy

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