CFP: Savage Thoughts–Interdisciplinarity and the Challenge of Claude Lévi-Strauss

Savage Thoughts
Interdisciplinarity and the Challenge of Claude Lévi-Strauss

Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas
McGill University, Montréal
24-26 September 2010
Claude Lévi-Strauss was one of the great interdisciplinary writers of
the twentieth century whose influence has been felt far beyond his
home discipline of anthropology. His inquiry illuminated the border
lands between primitive and non-primitive, self and other, myth and
history, human and animal, art and nature, and the dichotomies that
give structure to culture. At the same time his method troubled those
borders and dichotomies, through the bricolage he adopted that
illuminated connections amongst literature, art, psychology, music,
religion, and law.
Our call for ‘savage thoughts’ seeks out new work influenced by this
inquiry and these methods, and reflections on Levi-Strauss’ legacy
across the whole range of the humanities and beyond, including-
1) Recent interdisciplinary research in the reception, critique, and development, of Lévi-Strauss’ work. How have these inquiries been transformed in recent years? Are the children of Lévi-Strauss as savage as he?
2) Consideration of Lévi-Strauss’ larger intellectual influence, explicit or otherwise, right across the humanities. Perhaps there is something savage at the heart of interdisciplinary thought itself-refusing to be tamed by the intellectual borders of a discipline, it forages at will. Where has Lévi-Strauss’ method spawned such wildness and hybridity?
3) Looking beyond the academy to consider how Lévi-Strauss’ ideas have embedded themselves in the culture, values, social organization, and framework of modern society. What is the public life and impact of these ideas? In what ways has our world been altered by his mode of apprehending it?
Conference organizers invite papers that address the borderlands
between a wide range of disciplines including, but not limited to
Anthropology, Architecture, Art History, Communications, History, Law,
Linguistics, Literature, Human Geography, Musicology, Philosophy,
Psychology, Religious Studies, Semiotics, and Sociology. Proposals
for single papers in English or French as well as for complete panels
are welcome. In either instance, abstracts for 15-20 minute papers
should be c.200 words, and accompanied by a brief (2-page) CV.
Proposals for complete panels should also include a short explanation
of the panel theme. Please send proposals as electronic files (in
.doc, .docx, or .pdf format) to
no later than 15 March 2010.
Conference website:
Conference registration will open 15 April 2010.
(For more information on registration and fees please see the website.)
The Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas at McGill
University is committed to understanding how the arts (literature,
painting, film, theatre, music, industrial and artistic design,
architecture) and new ideas come into being in a range of settings
(schools, the law courts, markets, the Web, the book trade, state
institutions) and in relation to social, cultural, and institutional
practices. It also strives to understand how art and ideas are able to
transform the private world of the individual, the greater world of
public matters, and the interactivity between the two.