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Genre Dynamics: Exchange and Transformation--A Seminar/Panel at ACLA 2010 (New Orleans April 1-4), subm. deadline, Nov. 13, 2009
full name / name of organization:
Mark A. Cantrell, Shepherd U; Chad J. Loewen-Schmidt, Shepherd U
As conceptual categories that both derive from and frame our understanding of particular works, genres are determined largely by what Ludwig Wittgenstein calls “family resemblances” rather than by particular qualities that all works in a given genre necessarily share. While ambiguities at the periphery of genres produce hybrid forms like the prose poem or collage, even works at the center of a genre are shaped by disputes at its edges. For example, one could argue that the growing popularity of the novel as a chief means of narrative expression at the end of the eighteenth century urged poets to re-conceive the fundamental features of their art, thereby shaping the conventions of Romantic poetry. Other examples include photography’s influence on the development of Impressionist painting and the effects that adaptations of a given work into other media might have on one’s understanding of the work in its original form. In this seminar, we propose to gather a diverse set of papers for a discussion of questions regarding the formation and maintenance of genres and other conceptual categories. How does an artist’s differential awareness of genre characteristics serve to blur such distinctions in cross-genre hybrids? How are the essential features of a genre defined for a particular moment in cultural history? How do genre boundaries relate to the formation and maintenance of other conceptual categories like those determining personal and national identities? We welcome proposals for papers that adopt an interdisciplinary approach or that address genre distinctions within a single discipline.