CFP: [Cultural-Historical] Whither Culture?: Toward Histories, Futures, Theories, and Productions of the Social

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Regina Martin
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Whither Culture?: Toward Histories, Futures, Theories, and Productions of
the Social

The Tenth Annual Conference of the Marxist Reading Group

Confirmed Keynote Speakers: Michael Denning and Paula Rabinowitz
Invited Keynote Speaker: Andrew Ross

University of Florida, March 27-29

"Culture" is just as vexing today as it was in 1976 when Raymond Williams
wrote that the term "is one of the two or three most complicated words in
the English language." Challenged by a disciplinary backlash in a
literary field that turns from cultural orientations to aesthetics and
formalism, in studies of history where the term is often perceived as
ahistorical and reductive, in anthropology departments where it is
frequently associated with Western biases, and in still other fields
where it is perceived to be vague to the point of emptiness, "culture"
now faces a future as uncertain as its definition is ambiguous.

The Tenth Annual Conference of the Marxist Reading Group investigates
culture from a Marxist perspective and challenges Marxist scholars to
clarify and explore such questions as: How might we, or do we want to,
revive or refurbish "culture" after the turn away from it? How can we use
cultural studies methodologies after the critique? What is the value of
preserving "culture" in different disciplines? What are the consequences
of mobilizing concepts of culture around discursive subjects? What are
the limits of political agency in cultural productions?

This conference seeks papers that investigate "culture" from a Marxist

Michael Denning is William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of American Studies at
Yale University. His 1996 book, The Cultural Front: The Laboring of
American Culture in the Twentieth Century, argues for the centrality of
the Popular Front in twentieth-century American culture. His most recent
book, Culture in the Age of Three Worlds, studies the prominence of the
culture concept as a symptom of the Cold War years. In addition to his
scholarship and teaching, Denning works as a labor activist.

Paula Rabinowitz is the University of Minnesota College of Liberal Art's
Samuel Russell Chair in the Humanities. Her department affiliations
include English, Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, American
Studies, and Feminist Studies departments. Her research and teaching
interests consistently combine film, literature, painting and
photography. Rabinowitz's Labor and Desire: Women's Revolutionary Fiction
in Depression America reconsiders the role and production of women during
an era famous for its male actors in the radical left. Her current
projects include an analysis of pulp fiction and American modernism,
modernist women painters, and women's time-based art since the 1970s.

Possible topics include but are not limited to the following:

Histories and theories of the culture wars
Culture and globalization
Culture and commodities
Appropriation of radical culture by the mainstream publics
Interdisciplinarity after the backlash against cultural studies
Disciplinarity and boundaries of "culture"
Culture in the context of literature, film, and other media
Culture and new media
Immigration, migration, and culture
National identity and culture
The politics of cultural actors
Studies of popular culture
Studies of subculture
The culture industry in the age of globalization
Rhetoric of culture in electoral politics
The Subversive
Hegemony and culture
Academic cultures

Please submit a 250-word abstract (and some key words) for a 20-minute
presentation along with a short bio and contact information by February
1, 2008 here:

Authors of accepted papers will be notified by February 5, 2008.

More information on the Marxist Reading Group and our previous
conferences can be found here: Questions
about the conference may be directed to

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Received on Mon Feb 04 2008 - 19:41:39 EST