Friday, July 13, 2007

"Why Am I Me? On Being Born in the Middle Ages"

Call for Papers, Kalamazoo 2008

The arbitrariness of identity, the ever-present absence of an explanation for why one happens to be oneself, is a fundamental feature of human life. It is an aspect of what Heidegger calls geworfenheit or the thrownness of existence, a kind of invisible, impossible originating of the individual that is always there, demanding to be recognized, negotiated, forgotten. On this arbitrariness rests both our strongest claims to self-knowledge and our profoundest desires for escape, which is, as Levinas says, “the need to get out of oneself, that is, to break that most radical and unalterably binding of chains, the fact that the I [moi] is oneself [soi-meme].” How was the arbitrariness of identity understood and represented during the Middle Ages? Proposals are sought for papers that address this question from any discipline and with regard to any related theme (individuality, origin, lot, birth, embodiment, et al). Sponsor: Medieval Club of New York. Please email proposals to Nicola Masciandaro ( by September 15, 2007.

Nicola Masciandaro
Associate Professor
Department of English
Brooklyn College, CUNY
2900 Bedford Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11210
tel: 718-951-5784
fax: 718-951-4612


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