UPDATE: Walter Benjamin (UK) (11/11/05; 4/6/06-4/8/06)

full name / name of organization: 
P. Allmer & J. Sears
contact email: 
sears@allmer.fsnet.co.uk

CALL FOR PAPERS - UPDATE

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CFP: Academic Session: "A Tremendous Shattering of Tradition": =
Reconsidering Walter Benjamin's 'The Work of Art in the Age of =
Mechanical Reproduction'

(AAH Annual Conference, University of Leeds, UK, 4/6/2006 - 4/8/2006)

Session convenors: Patricia Allmer, MIRIAD, Manchester Metropolitan =
University, Cavendish North Building, Cavendish Street,=20
Manchester, M15 6BG, sears_at_allmer.fsnet.co.uk

John Sears, Manchester Metropolitan University (Cheshire), =
Interdisciplinary Studies, Crewe Green Road, Crewe, Cheshire, CW1 5DU, =
J.Sears_at_mmu.ac.uk

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Session Abstract:

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This session will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the publication of =
Walter Benjamin's seminal essay 'Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner =
technischen Reproduzierbarkeit', translated into English by Harry Zohn =
in 1968 (year of revolutionary discontent) as 'The Work of Art in the =
Age of Mechanical Reproduction'.=20

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In 1936 the essay offered a challenge not only to Fascist appropriations =
of art, but also to conventional Marxist aesthetics as well as to =
phenomenological theorisations of art - witness its problematic =
reception by Adorno and others, its expressed discontent with what it =
sees as depoliticised modes of aesthetic engagement, and its analysis of =
"a world without aura" (Rodolphe Gasch=E9). These challenges are =
repeated in different ways in the essay's influence on the turbulent =
intellectual scene of the late 1960s. It has contributed significantly =
to the development of both Marxist and postmodernist theorisations of =
culture, as well as to the ongoing art-historical reassessment of the =
art work and its roles in contemporary media-dominated societies. In =
short, Benjamin's essay constitutes a major, if continually contested, =
contribution to debates about modernism and postmodernism that retain =
their currency in the age of digital reproduction, "a period when =
politics as spectacle has become a commonplace in our televisual world", =
as Susan Buck-Morss argues.

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The essay's perennial appeal to discontented Marxist and other modes of =
reading modern and postmodern art may constitute one line of enquiry. =
Papers are also sought that will explore the essay's continuing =
significance for contemporary theories, practices and histories of art. =
The essay has exerted a profound influence on the work of key theorists =
(eg October) and practitioners (Warhol, Burgin, Sherman); papers may =
wish to explore or assess aspects or examples of this influence. Other =
topics might include Benjamin's notions of the aura of the art work, of =
originality, of reproduction; changes in the significance for art =
history of mechanical and other forms of reproduction; the implications =
and consequences of accommodating photography and film (Benjamin's =
exemplary modern media) within the configurations of art historical =
practice, and the essay's contribution to current debates about inter- =
and trans-disciplinarity (the 'contents' of the discipline of art =
history); the essay-form itself as exemplifying politicised, =
interventionist aesthetic practices of modernist and postmodernist =
malcontents; the essay itself considered as a work of art, enacting its =
own arguments in fragmentary, inconsistent forms; and considerations of =
the various publication contexts and initial critical receptions of and =
responses to Benjamin's essay.=20

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Papers are invited that address these and other topics in relation to =
reconsiderations of Benjamin's essay.=20

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Details for Submission of Proposals:

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Papers must not exceed 30 minutes. Please email a 200 word abstract to =
the session convenors before the 11th November 2005. Include the title =
of your paper, your full name and contact details and institutional =
affiliation (if applicable).

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Please note that the call for papers for all the conference sessions has =
been published in the June edition of the AAH Bulletin and at the AAH =
website: www.aah.org.uk

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Received on Mon Sep 26 2005 - 17:36:36 EDT

cfp categories: 
theory