CFP: [Graduate] Madison Conference 2008

full name / name of organization: 
Erik Moellering
contact email: 

“Appropriation: Anxiety or Ecstasy?”

James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia
Department of English
Saturday April 19th, 2008

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Mark Facknitz, James Madison University

>From Elvis to Eminem, popular culture reveres “authentic” art and
artistic performance that inevitably, upon closer scrutiny, reveals a web
of symbolic and/or linguistic influence. Thus, contemporary discourse in
a variety of disciplines betrays a general anxiety regarding the
production and evaluation of “art” in all its manifestations.
Additionally, technologies (particularly the internet and its attendants)
of the past few decades have heightened the situation, multiplying the
number of “sites” conducive to this aesthetic cross-fertilization.
Jonathan Lethem’s, “The Ecstasy of Influence” (Harpers Feb. 2007),
examines the anxiety and “ecstasy” surrounding acts of appropriation.
Using Bob Dylan’s patch-work style as an example, he writes: “Dylan’s
art offers a paradox: while it famously urges us not to look back, it
also encodes a knowledge of past sources that might otherwise have little
home in contemporary culture…Dylan’s originality and his appropriations
are as one” (60).
The James Madison University English Graduate Organization seeks to
explore this aesthetic “paradox” at our annual Madison Conference held on
April 19th, 2008.
Our general queries: How do both artists and critics negotiate the line
between “originality” and “appropriation”? Specifically, how does the
tension between tradition and invention register in the early 21st
century? In this interdisciplinary conference we welcome presentations
that incorporate “performance” (i.e. fine art, music, and others) as a
vehicle of inquiry to these and other topical questions.

Possible paper topics include, but are not limited to:
~The reproduction and redefinition of cultural artifacts
~Historical considerations of aesthetics (local or global)
~Issues of appropriation and authorial voice in anthropological and
historical documents
~The tension between High and Low art in literature, fine arts, film,
music, etc.
~The impact of technology on aesthetics with possible focus on
  the psychological, sociological, or material.

We are also pleased to announce our keynote speaker, Dr. Mark Facknitz,
who will be addressing these and other questions in his lecture “Kitsch,
Modernity, and the Deathworks.”

Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words, noting any A/V needs,
to no later than March 21st, 2008. (No attachments
please.) Please direct all other inquiries to this address as well.

Contact: Erik Moellering
JMU English Graduate Organization
Harrisonburg, Virginia

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Received on Wed Feb 13 2008 - 09:08:06 EST