Luxuries of the Literary Mind: Readings of Commodity and Privilege - March4-6th, 2011

full name / name of organization: 
McGill University
contact email: 
mcgillconference2011@gmail.com

Luxuries of the Literary Mind: Readings of Commodity and Privilege

“Literature is a luxury; fiction is a necessity.” G. K. Chesterton, Defendant (1901)

The McGill English Department’s Seventeenth Annual Graduate Conference on Language and Literature will take place in Montreal from March 4 to 6, 2011. The conference will centre on issues of luxury, commodity, and consumption in literature, and other texts and cultural artefacts.

Potential areas for study include, but are not limited to the following:

-class and social standing

-wealth and poverty, images of excess and need

-human rights (sexual freedoms, disability rights, etc.) versus social privilege

-the racialization of wealth and status

-iconography, brands and branding, labels, and commodity fetishism

-consumer behaviour and identity

-binaries of public/private, high/low, male/female, and
consumer/producer central to markets and marketing

-literary depictions of shopping, markets, fairs

-imperialism, colonialism, trade, and their effects (e.g., environmental degradation, exploitative labour)

-gift-giving, treasure, hoarding

-gender, the body, cosmetic technologies and practices

-camp, ostentation, glamour, performance and performativity

-cultural and aesthetic decadence

-literature as a luxury (e.g., book-making expenses and practices, middle- and upper-class education as privilege)

-How has literature shaped or complicated our sense of luxury and commodity? (e.g., American Psycho, Confessions of a Shopaholic)

-How has literature responded to economic or financial fluctuations?

-Gastronomy, Epicureanism, connoisseurship, and urbanity

-Luxury goods and taxes

-Lifestyle porn (e.g., luxury travel, culture, or celebrity narratives)

Conference presentations should not exceed twenty minutes. Proposals will be blind-vetted, and must include a double-spaced, 250-word abstract plus a cover sheet with your name, university, contact information, and a brief biographical paragraph about your academic interests and achievements. Please send your proposal as an email attachment in .doc or .pdf format to mcgillconference2011@gmail.com by December 13, 2010.

cfp categories: 
african-american
american
bibliography_and_history_of_the_book
childrens_literature
classical_studies
cultural_studies_and_historical_approaches
ecocriticism_and_environmental_studies
eighteenth_century
ethnicity_and_national_identity
film_and_television
gender_studies_and_sexuality
graduate_conferences
interdisciplinary
international_conferences
medieval
modernist studies
poetry
popular_culture
postcolonial
professional_topics
religion
renaissance
rhetoric_and_composition
romantic
science_and_culture
theatre
theory
travel_writing
twentieth_century_and_beyond
victorian