CFP: [20th] Rethinking Genre: The Politics of Cultural Form (UK) (01/31/08; 06/26-27/08)

full name / name of organization: 
Elizabeth English
contact email: 



Royal Holloway, University of London, UK
26-27 June, 2008

This conference aims to rethink the category of ‘genre’ from the
perspective of recent work in cultural theory, seeing in a vehicle for
wider cultural developments. We wish to detach understandings of genre
from formalist literary history, and to see it as implicated in such
issues as the sociology of culture, race, and gender, the history of
publishing and the rise of new media.

Our thesis is that the current conception of genre owes much to the
emergence of mass culture in the mid-nineteenth century â€" to the
establishment of cultural hierarchy in its modern form, the codification
of pulp, the professionalization of authorship â€" but that those forces
problematize the notion of genre as it is inherited from the classical

While there is an emphasis on literary studies of any period between the
mid-nineteenth century and the present, we also welcome submissions from
such fields as media and film studies.

Submissions may wish to consider any aspect of the following:

Genre and mass culture
The emergence of ‘genre literature’ â€" western, detective, romance,
speculative, and science fictions; pulp magazines; fandom â€" linked to the
proliferation of cheap literature in the nineteenth century. Changing
definitions or reading and writing in this context. Genre in film and
other mass media.

Cultural politics and genre
Popular genres used to mediate the overlapping issues of political,
sexual, racial, and gender identities. Do genre texts offer instructive
analogues for political and identitarian critiques; does generic
convention facilitate the articulation of politics and identity; or do
such problematic concepts as race, gender, and sexuality
become ‘flattened’ or banalized by the ideas of familiarity and
reproducibility on which genre turns?

Genre and modernism / post modernism
The exclusion of popular genres from ‘modernism’ and their function
in ‘postmodernism’ as cultural ciphers. The academic discourses â€"
modernism, postmodernism, queer theory, cultural studies, etc. â€" by which
texts are grouped.

Genre, time, and history
Genres considered as genuinely historical or temporal structures; genre
in (and as an expression of) historical change. The theory of genre in
this context (Moretti).

Changing genres
The status of literary genres in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries
century; the ‘death’ of genres.

Pedagogical approaches to genre
The implications and status of genre in the classroom; questions of how
to teach genre.

To propose a paper, email a brief bio and 500 word abstract to Professor
Tim Armstrong, Oliver Belas or Elizabeth English (see details below). The
deadline for submissions is 31 January 2008.

Department of English
Royal Holloway, University of London
TW20 0EX

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Received on Sun Oct 14 2007 - 09:14:20 EDT