UPDATE: [Cultural-Historical] Tenth Annual Conference of the Marxist Reading Group

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Michael Mayne
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The Tenth Annual Conference of the Marxist Reading Group

March 27-29, 2008

Whither Culture?: Toward Histories, Futures, Theories, and Productions of
the Social

Keynote Speakers: Michael Denning, Paula Rabinowitz, Andrew Ross, and
Sergio Vega

University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida
March 27-29, 2008

"Culture" is just as vexing today as it was in 1976 when Raymond Williams
wrote that the term "is one of the two or three most complicated words in
the English language." Challenged by a disciplinary backlash in a
literary field that turns from cultural orientations to aesthetics and
formalism, in studies of history where the term is often perceived as
ahistorical and reductive, in anthropology departments where it is
frequently associated with Western biases, and in still other fields
where it is perceived to be vague to the point of emptiness, "culture"
now faces a future as uncertain as its definition is ambiguous.

The Tenth Annual Conference of the Marxist Reading Group investigates
culture from a Marxist perspective and challenges Marxist scholars to
clarify and explore such questions as: How might we, or do we want to,
revive or refurbish "culture" after the turn away from it? How can we use
cultural studies methodologies after the critique? What is the value of
preserving "culture" in different disciplines? What are the consequences
of mobilizing concepts of culture around discursive subjects? What are
the limits of political agency in cultural productions?

This conference seeks papers that investigate "culture" from a Marxist

Michael Denning is William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of American Studies at
Yale University. His 1996 book, _The Cultural Front: The Laboring of
American Culture in the Twentieth Century_, argues for the centrality of
the Popular Front in twentieth-century American culture. His most recent
book, _Culture in the Age of Three Worlds_, studies the prominence of the
culture concept as a symptom of the Cold War years. In addition to his
scholarship and teaching, Denning works as a labor activist.

Paula Rabinowitz is the University of Minnesota College of Liberal Art's
Samuel Russell Chair in the Humanities. Her department affiliations
include English, Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, American
Studies, and Feminist Studies departments. Her research and teaching
interests consistently combine film, literature, painting and
photography. Rabinowitz's _Labor and Desire: Women's Revolutionary
Fiction in Depression America_ reconsiders the role and production of
women during an era famous for its male actors in the radical left. Her
current projects include an analysis of pulp fiction and American
modernism, modernist women painters, and women's time-based art since the

Andrew Ross chairs the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at New
York University. His work on popular culture and technology has
established him as one of the leading figures in cultural studies in the
U.S. More recently, his work has focused on class and labor in the
context of globalization, notably in _No Collar: The Humane Workplace and
Its Hidden Costs_(2002), _Low Pay, High Profile: The Global Push for Fair
Labor_ (2004), and _Fast Boat to China: Corporate Flight and the
Consequences of Free Trade_(2006).

Sergio Vega received an MFA in sculpture from Yale University in 1996. He
has been a professor at the University of Florida since 1999, and
currently teaches in the photography and sculpture departments. He has
participated in numerous international exhibitions, including the 51st
Biennale di Venezia, the 5th Biennal de Lyon, Soonsbeek 9, Arnhem, the
5th Gwangju Biennial, the 1st Yokohama Triennale, and the 2nd
Johannesburg Biennale. Vega's artistic project involves a range of media,
including text, photographs, videos, sculpture-objects, dioramas, scale
models and installations.

Possible topics include but are not limited to the following:

Histories and theories of the culture wars
Culture and globalization
Culture and commodities
Appropriation of radical culture by the mainstream publics
Interdisciplinarity after the backlash against cultural studies
Disciplinarity and boundaries of "culture"
Culture in the context of literature, film, and other media
Culture and new media
Immigration, migration, and culture
National identity and culture
The politics of cultural actors
Studies of popular culture
Studies of subculture
The culture industry in the age of globalization
Rhetoric of culture in electoral politics
The Subversive
Hegemony and culture
Academic cultures

Please submit a 250-word abstract (and some key words) for a 20-minute
presentation along with a short bio and contact information at the link
below. We have extended the deadling to February 15, 2008. Authors of
accepted papers will be notified by February 18, 2008.

More information on the Marxist Reading Group and our previous
conferences can be found here: http://www.english.ufl.edu/mrg. Questions
about the conference may be directed to 2007mrg_at_gmail.com.

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Received on Thu Jan 31 2008 - 20:15:15 EST