Organizers | Hector J. Feliciano Soto, yashka, Michael Aaron Mason

Summer School Tacet ad Libitum! Towards a Poetics and Politics of Silence

Graduate School Practices of Literature

University of Münster

The Summer School 2022 “Tacet ad Libitum! Towards a  Poetics and Politics of Silence”, organized by doctoral students of the Graduate School Practices of Literature,  aims to question silence, its logics, poetics and politics, in contrast to those of speech (logos), with a view toward “silence” as tacere (or Schweigen) and secondarily as silere or Stille. Considering the global panorama of active participation in socio-political movements (of both oppression and insurrection), we intend to forefront silence’s political dimensions within each panel. We want to disengage the topic from aesthetical views which focus mainly on the concept’s negativity, the ‘unsayable’, or the insufficiency of language. Thus, perspectives which especially highlight silence’s ethical and political interactions will be given preference. Moreover, we are interested in how, on the one hand, totalizing mechanisms of power which sustains complete namability and visibility among their populations (as in surveillance states) cannot tolerate silence and concealment. It is in these contexts that the renouncement of speech can potentially amount to an act of insurgency. At the same time, we are also interested in its corollary: how totalitarian acts of speech are based on a logic of exclusion producing margins, i.e. marginalized individuals (e.g., the subaltern) which are banned to muteness and desubjectification. Thus, we want to investigate the research field of silence which departs from the aporias between absolute revelation / concealment, withdrawal / appropriation, complicity / subversion, knowledge / ethics, and identity / post-identity. Can a new understanding of silence bring new impulses against thetical and teleological forces that effectuate an “interminable marginalization” by reinterpreting temporality, ethics, politics and (post-)identity? 

The Summer School will open with the Münster Lectures which seek to combine the merits of theoretical and literary insight of renowned scholars, prominent writers, and cultural activists to discuss current debates, both scholastic and social. The Münster Lectures are open to doctoral candidates, post-doc researchers, humanities students, and the general public. The Münster Lectures aim to strengthen not only the interdisciplinary exchange among members of the university, but also bridges the gap between the university and the city of Münster.