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Whither Culture?: Toward Histories, Futures, Theories, and Productions of
The Tenth Annual Conference of the Marxist Reading Group
Keynote Speakers: Michael Denning, Paula Rabinowitz, and 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 womenâ€™s time-based art since the 1970s.
Andrew Ross chairs the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at New
York University. His work on popular culture and technology has established
him as one of the leading figures in cultural studies in the U.S. More
recently, his work has focused on class and labor in the context of
globalization, notably in _No Collar: The Humane Workplace and Its Hidden
Costs_ (2002); _Low Pay, High Profile: The Global Push for Fair Labor_
(2004); and _Fast Boat to China: Corporate Flight and the Consequences of
Free Tradeâ€”Lessons from Shanghai_ (2006).
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
Hegemony and culture
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,
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: http://www.english.ufl.edu/mrg. Questions about the
conference may be directed to 2007mrg_at_gmail.com.
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Received on Wed Dec 05 2007 - 14:25:10 EST