Negotiating Aesthetic Hierarchies: the Creative Tension between High and Popular Culture April 11-12 2014

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Graduate Association of French and Italian Students (GAFIS)
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Throughout modern history, the labels "high" and "popular" culture have come to denote two categories which are most often hierarchical and polarized. Yet these categories are never truly stable or impermeable. Many authors and artists have found inspiration in transgressing, resisting, or rejecting the supposed boundaries between high and popular culture which in turn calls these very labels into question. They create hybridized genres, revolutionize traditional forms, and experiment with multimedia forms of expression in order to push their audiences to reconsider their own preconceptions about aesthetic categories and hierarchies.

In selecting this topic for the 2014 GAFIS Symposium, we hope to encourage an investigation into the essence of the terms "high" and "popular" culture and to explore the creative tension which many artists and authors perceive between them. How do these conceptions come into artistically productive conflict in literature, cinema, new media, and the arts? How do they relate to each other within the socio-cultural contexts to which they belong? How might such labels influence our own responses to the texts, artworks and films to which they are applied?

We welcome papers that analyze a precise moment in the history of culture, a particular author, or a work of art that raises questions about the relation between high and popular culture, whether marking the distance between them more strictly or blending the two. We also encourage the submission of papers which examine these categories within philosophical and theoretical discourses, as well as papers aiming to investigate the socio-political implications of hierarchical cultural forms.

We welcome submissions from any related fields (e.g. Art History, Gender and Women's Studies, History, Film Studies, Comparative Literature, etc.) We invite abstracts in English between 200 and 250 words. Please include your name, email address, academic affiliation, and AV requests.

Papers will be limited to 20 minutes and must be presented in English.

Please address inquiries and abstracts to Kelsey Roy and Eleonora Lima at Abstracts must be submitted no later than January 18th 2014.