ERODING CAPITAL: VALUATION, DEVALUATION, AND EVALUATION OF GENRES AND FORMS

full name / name of organization: 
ACLA 2013, New York University, March 20-23 2013
contact email: 
jonathan.cayer@yale.edu

Nietzsche asks us to consider the values of values, Bourdieu the capital of capital. This seminar asks: What is the residual value –cultural, social, political, economic—of a genre, form or medium that has lost (or that is losing) its cultural capital?

How do we, with our late-modern bias for innovation and revolution over tradition and continuity, assign value to genres and forms that are produced at the end of a movement: the late medieval epic, the post-Enlightenment philosophical treatise, the modern pantomime ballet, network television? Are these specimens still relevant (were they ever?) and are we (ir)relevant for studying them?

We are particularly interested in submissions that directly address the problems of eroding capital of specific genres, forms, and media.

Possible lines of inquiry include:
What is the relationship between cultural capital and epistemological shift?
(How) do these “past-their-prime” objects testify to a misapprehension of the current zeitgeist? Can they be read, paradoxically, as indexes of change?
Are they remnants? Reactionary? Conservative?
How do we reconcile how voraciously some of these forms were consumed, with their absence from the canon? Can we understand these objects in a matrix of cultural capital, consumption (marking economic, social and/or political capital) and canonization?
What is at stake in studying these testaments of eroding capital; how does their cultural capital (or lack thereof) relate to the capital of our scholarship? If they were not cool, do we suffer the same fate in studying them?

Please submit abstracts online before November 1: http://www.acla.org/submit/

cfp categories: 
cultural_studies_and_historical_approaches
eighteenth_century
interdisciplinary
medieval
modernist studies
renaissance
rhetoric_and_composition
romantic
theory
twentieth_century_and_beyond