Collecting and Collections: Objects, Practices, and the Fate of Things

full name / name of organization: 
David Banash and Kevin Moist
contact email: 
d-banash@wiu.edu; kmm104@psu.edu

Call For Papers
For the edited collection

Collecting and Collections: Objects, Practices, and the Fate of Things

Collecting continues to grow in popularity even as contemporary society becomes increasingly virtual. On the one hand, websites such as eBay simplify and speed up access to items of all sorts, new and old, profound and mundane, making objects more available than ever before. Meanwhile, collecting activities are moving into purely digital spaces, with users collecting everything from mp3 files to “friends” on social networking sites. In tandem with popular collecting passions, institutional collectors are also updating themselves for the new environment, as library catalogs move online and museums use new technologies to generate record attendance for exhibits of their more traditional collections. Of course, much of this activity is driven by the pressures and opportunities of a consumer economy; from the mass-manufactured to the niche-marketed, more “stuff” is produced than ever before, while collecting itself can generate significant income for its practitioners.

These changes in society, culture, and the economy have radically reshaped the meaning of things and our relationships with them. What do the practices of collectors, surviving collections, and new and emerging fields of collecting reveal about our contemporary world and our changing sense of the past? Collectors and their collections force us to reflect on our relationship to objects, as the collector's obsession, scope, practices, and care put into dramatic relief the role of objects in our lives.

“Collecting and Collections: Objects, Practices, and the Fate of Things” seeks essays that situate and articulate collectors and collections in our contemporary context; and conversely, discussions of older collections and collectors that show how our changing world finds new meaning in their legacy.

Possible topics include but are not limited to the following:

* collecting motives/motivations
* particular collectors and/or collections
* social and cultural aspects of collecting
* the practice of collecting
* theories of collecting
* collecting theory vs. collecting practice
* specific types of collectibles
* the psychology of collecting
* collecting in the mass media/the mediation of collecting
* collecting as a metaphor in (post)modern life
* collecting and/in contemporary art
* consumerism and collecting
* collecting and material culture
* collecting online
* virtual collecting (incl. gaming, the status of virtual “objects”, etc.)

Submissions Guidelines

Essays should be 18 to 30 double-spaced pages.

Send submissions in .doc format to:
Kevin Moist (kmm104@psu.edu) and David Banash (d-banash@wiu.edu)

Deadline: February 1, 2010

About the editors:

Kevin Moist is Associate Professor of Communications at Penn State Altoona. He teaches a range of courses in mass media and popular culture. His research on collecting, alternative media, and the music and popular culture of the 1960s has been published in a variety of scholarly journals, including American Studies and the Journal of Popular Culture. He also serves as the Collecting and Collectibles area chair of the Popular Culture Association. Email: kmm104@psu.edu

David Banash is Associate Professor of English at Western Illinois University. He teaches courses in contemporary American literature and popular culture. His essays and reviews have appeared in Bad Subjects: Political Education for Everyday Life, Paradoxa, PopMatters, Postmodern Culture, Reconstruction, Science Fiction Studies, and Utopian Studies. Email: d-banash@wiu.edu Website: http://faculty.wiu.edu/D-Banash/

cfp categories: 
cultural_studies_and_historical_approaches
humanities_computing_and_the_internet
journals_and_collections_of_essays
popular_culture
theory
twentieth_century_and_beyond