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Reading Material: Textual and Cultural Objects // March 4-6 // Proposals due 1/10
full name / name of organization:
University of Wisconsin-Madison English Graduate Student Association
Reading Material: Textual and Cultural Objects
University of Wisconsin-Madison Conference in Language and Literature (MADLIT)
The Graduate Student Association at the University of Wisconsin-Madison English Department is pleased to announce the 6th Annual MadLit Conference. This year’s conference, “READING MATERIAL,” engages the intersections between literature and material culture.
The rise of material culture studies in the last decade has begun to move us away from questions about how ideology shapes the world and towards a serious consideration of how our material world makes us. Given its roots in the physical world (as opposed to language and discourse), this emergent critical methodology brings several urgent questions to the doorstep of literary studies: What is the role of the material object in the world of the text? How do we apply reading practices to objects? What are the implications of reading texts themselves as objects? And what does a methodology rooted in “things” mean for the future of literary study?
While grounded in literary studies, these considerations cannot help but engage fields related to literature, including history, art history, theater, paleography, consumer studies, and anthropology, and how these fields produce their own forms of “reading” objects. To this end, we hope this conference will invite a discussion of how literary studies is or should be inherently inter-disciplinary.
Keynote Speaker: Elaine Freedgood
Professor of English at New York University, Elaine Freedgood is a scholar of critical theory and Victorian literature and culture. She has been a foundational voice in the study of objects and things. Her 2006 book, The Ideas in Things: Fugitive Meaning in the Victorian Novel, is no less than a standard in the field and has been called “a manifesto for a new way to read fiction.”
We are currently soliciting proposals for 15-20 min. presentations and three-person panels on any aspect of objects, things, and literature Possible considerations might include:
➢ What is the importance of distinctions between “objects,” “things,” “material goods,” etc.?
Please submit a 250-word abstract to UWMadLit@gmail.com by January 10th, 2010. Accepted papers will be announced by January 25th.