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Presented By: Comparative Literature

CLIFF 2019: Cartographies of Silence, 23rd Annual Comparative Literature Intra-student Faculty Forum

Keynote: Professor Irena Klepfisz

Poster Poster
Cartographies of Silence: A Conference for Readers and Writers
23rd Annual CLIFF Conference
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
March 15-16, 2019
Keynote Speaker: Professor Irena Klepfisz

It was an old theme even for me:Language cannot do everything– -- Adrienne Rich, “Cartographies of Silence”

Silence is not an absence, but is charged with meaning and action. To speak of silence means to speak of a multitude of paradoxes, as well as to enter an exciting avenue for literature, activism and interdisciplinary scholarship. Our conference interrogates what it means to plumb silences in the archive in search of unheard voices, and invites scholars to investigate the meanings of silence as a critical category. In particular, this conference is interested in mapping – across scholarly and creative disciplines – questions of translating silences in the archive, in the text, in the subject, and in activism. What are the possible ways of translating silence when events and experiences resist such translation? What challenges and possibilities does silence offer translators and scholars, who are tasked with making meaning of both the enunciated and the unsaid or untranslatable? How can we engage with knowledge that does not yield itself to current academic frameworks? In what ways can a focus on silence help to transform knowledge itself?

Professor Irena Klepfisz received her doctorate from the University of Chicago in Victorian literature, and later did post-doctoral work in Yiddish at YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. In addition to teaching in numerous universities around the country, Klepfisz taught for ten years in the college program at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, a women’s maximum security prison. Last year, she retired after 22 years of teaching Jewish Women's Studies at Barnard College. Klepfisz immigrated to the U.S. at age 8 and was raised among Yiddish-speaking, Jewish Labor Bundist (socialist) Holocaust survivors in the Bronx, where she attended public schools, a Yiddish shule, and mitlshul. She was an activist during the Second Wave, particularly in the lesbian/feminist movement, and addressed issues of anti-Semitism, Israeli/Palestinian peace, Jewish identity, and veltlekhe yidishkayt/secular Yiddish culture.

Klepfisz’s extensive publishing and performance record includes founding and co-editing Conditions magazine, serving as the Yiddish editor of the Jewish feminist Bridges, contributing to Nice Jewish Girls: A Lesbian Anthology, and co-editing The Tribe of Dina: A Jewish Women’s Anthology. She authored two performance pieces commissioned by the Jewish Museum (NY): Bread and Candy: Songs of the Holocaust and Zeyre eygene verter: In their own words (Yiddish women writers). She is the author of A Few Words in the Mother Tongue (poems) and Dreams of an Insomniac (essays), and most recently co-edited The Stars Bear Witness: The Jewish Labor Bund 1897-2017 and Koved zeyer ondenk: Honor to Their Memory (for the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising).

15th March, Friday
10 am - 10.30 am Breakfast
10.30 am -10.45 am Opening remarks
10.45 am - 12.15 pm
Panel 1: Justice and Activism
Respondent: Antoine Traisnel
Panel Papers:
Mina Khalil: “Presenting the Criminal Defendant in Nineteenth-Century Egypt: the Presumption of Innocence as Silence”
Elisa Corona Aguilar: “Fists up: Orchestrating Silence in Mexico City´s Post- Earthquake Rescuing Activities”
Seon-Myung Yoo: “The Deafening Silence of Comfort Women Survivors”
12.15 pm - 1.15 pm Lunch
1.15 pm - 2.45 pm
Panel 2: Untranslatability
Respondent: Maya Barzilai
Panel Papers:
Corbin Allardice: “Di Rayze Aheym: Yiddish Heteroglossia as State Critique in Sutzkever’s Gaystike Erd”
Aaron Coleman: “The Role of Literary Translation in Witnessing the African Diaspora: Neglected Legacies of Black USAmerican Poets translating AfroCuban Poets”
Elias Pitegoff: “What Remains; On the Memorial Addressed to Nothing in Particular”
2.45 pm - 3 pm Coffee Break
3 pm - 4.30 pm
Panel 3: Violence and Witnessing
Respondent: Tatjana Aleksić
Panel Papers:
Martha Henzy: “Real Violence” and Virtual Reality: Jordon Wolfson’s Theater of Cruelty
Nina Jackson Levin: The Worst Loss, Silenced: Problematizing the Social and Archival Silencing of Grieving Mothers”
Kristina Krasny: “Vertretung and Darstellung in the Poetry of Hester Pulter”
4.30 pm - 5.30 pm Reception
5.30 pm - 7 pm
Keynote- Irena Klepfisz “The 2087th question, or when silence is the only answer”

16th March, Saturday:
9 am - 9.30 am Breakfast
9.30 am - 11 am
Panel 4: Sounding Queer Desire
Respondent: Shira Schwartz
Panel Papers:
Benjamin Hollenbach: “Silent Faith: Mainline Protestants, LGBTQ Inclusion, and Religious Devotion”
Lars Stoltzfus-Brown: “Why White People Love the Amish: Settler Colonialism, Violence, and White Heteronostalgia”
Amanda Kubic: “‘Neither honey nor the bee for me:’ Silence and Desire in Fragment 113”
11 am - 11.15 am Coffee Break
11.15 am - 12.45 pm
Panel 5: Poetics
Respondent: Yopie Prins
Panel Papers:
Lisa Levin: Notes on Notes on Speechlessness
Jasmine An: “‘the model minority disability disability creation’ – a mixed media experiment in digital storytelling”
Sara Deniz Akant: “One Sea Leads to Another: Approaching Memory and the Unsayable in Meena Alexander’s Atmospheric Embroidery”
12.45 pm - 2 pm Lunch
2 pm - 3 pm A Reading and Conversation with Irena Klepfisz
3.15 pm - 4.45 pm
Panel 6: Silence, Address, Redress
Respondent: Liz Wingrove
Nathaniel Harrington: “Cànan a’ bhreithneachaidh (The language of criticism)”
Luiza Caetano: Contradiction as strategy: Germaine de Staël’s “Three Novellas”
Grace Zanotti: “Reading Through the Lacuna: Anne Carson’s Pinplay and Euripides’ Bacchae”
4.45 pm - 5 pm Closing Remarks
7.30 pm - 9 pm Student Creative Reading at Literati Bookstore

Grace Zanotti, Genta Nishku, Shalmali Jadhav, Shira Schwartz, Duygu Ergun
CLIFF 2019 Conference Organizers
Department of Comparative Literature
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
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