Genres and Historicity : Text, Cotext, Context

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Department of English, University of Bucharest, Romania

In the last few decades, the culturalist approach to literature has been an unavoidable and incontestable fact. The text – cotext – context relatedness in cultural-historical embeddedness is now a current measure of identity in matters literary and cultural. Indeed, the full historicity of the emergence, growth and establishment of such basic categories as writing and reading, representation, style, narrative, author and authority, canon and canonization, literary history and criticism, or, indeed, genres and generic identity have been uninterruptedly on the professional agenda. They are still at the head of heated debates, act as catalysts of intellectual endeavours and fertilize academic events geared on the same or similar topics.

Cultural institutions of the long and complicated process called modernity, these literary-cultural items of a consistent and consistently changing inventory open up generous avenues in the academe. We hope that our departmental conference on Genres and Historicity will bring to the fore a whole array of issues, which might include:

- the establishment of 'literature' in Western Civilization (with special focus on the British and American cases/spaces)
- the settlement of modern categories (genres and species, among others) and their relation with the traditional ones
- the accreditation of high vs. low genres; the canonical in-/ex-clusion mechanisms and apposite axiological effects
- generic separation, differentiation and specialization and the modernity discourse
- the institutionalization of 'literature', 'literary criticism' and 'literary history', function of generic and specific assertion
- literary history vs. the generic perspective approach: negotiations and (dis)agreements (the extrinsic vs. the intrinsic way)
- generic theory, its emergence, whys and wherefores
- continuity and discontinuity in literary-cultural history: ages, periodization, age dominants, the splendour and decadence of genres (from integrative primitive poetry to separated modern genres)
- historical silence and the question of reception: favoured/ite genres vs. genres of disrepute; the dialectics of genre (re)shuffle and epistemic rearrangements
- public vs. private genres and the historical/historiographic perspective (antiquarianism into 'philosophical' history, literature into 'literature', predisciplinary into disciplinary knowledge)
- pre-, novelistic and post-novel narratives and the victory of the modern genre par excellence

However this is by no means an exhaustive list. We look forward to receiving proposals for papers representing the full diversity of possible approaches to the topic, both theoretical and text-based.
Conference fee: 50 euro (conference documents, refreshments).
Presentations, in English, should be 20 min. long plus 10 min. for discussion. Authors are invited to submit abstracts, which may not exceed 300 words (including a list of keywords), and should be submitted in Word format. Proposals must include title of paper, name and institutional affiliation; mailing address, phone number, and e-mail address.

Deadline for receipt of proposals: 15 February 2010.
Please send proposals (and direct inquiries) to the following e-mail address:
Conference website:

A selection of papers will be published in University of Bucharest Review.

We look forward to welcoming you in Bucharest

Prof. Irina Pană
Chair of the Conference Committee

Prof. Monica Bottez
On behalf of the English Department's Literature Section