CFP: Pop Theory: Criticism's Relation to Television and Popular Culture (7/1/04; collection)

full name / name of organization: 
Michael Eberle-Sinatra
contact email: 
michael.eberle.sinatra@umontreal.ca

*POP THEORY: CRITICISM'S RELATION TO TELEVISION AND POPULAR CULTURE*

EDITED BY MICHAEL EBERLE-SINATRA AND DINO FELLUGA

CONTRACTED FOR PUBLICATION BY WILFRID LAURIER UNIVERSITY PRESS

This collection will examine the fraught relationship between =20
critical theory and popular culture, examining not only the recent turn=20=
of theory to mass entertainment (thanks to postmodernism, cultural=20
criticism, and Lacanian criticism) but also those instances when=20
popular entertainment addresses high theory (from the Matrix=92s=20
conversation with Jean Baudrillard=92s Simulacra and Simulation to=20
Buffy the Vampire Slayer=92s consistent implementation of Freudian and=20=
Lacanian theory). In what ways, we will ask, do such crossings affect=20=
assumptions between =93high=94 and =93low=94 culture or between the=20
avant-garde and mass-market kitsch?

Here is the challenge of this collection: we have been conditioned not=20=
to think seriously about popular entertainment. Such fare is designed =20=
to offer up easily consumable packages: direct narratives, transparent=20=
cinematography, unchallenging scenarios. This fact has led earlier=20
critics to dismiss pop culture altogether, sometimes attacking it for=20=
its enervating effects on an unsuspecting and easily misled public=20
(eg. Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Walter Benjamin, Jean=20
Baudrillard, and Fredric Jameson). Of course, much of that criticism=20
is correct in its assumptions. It is clear that most Hollywood fare,=20
whether on television or the big screen, follows extremely rigid and=20
unthreatening general parameters: 1) a reliance on highly conservative=20=
principles of compositional unity, character motivation, sequential=20
linearity, and narrative closure; 2) a transparent presentation of =20
scenes that does not interrupt the mimesis of a story line or call=20
attention to the technology of the medium; 3) an acceptance of=20
masculine hierarchies and values (conservative gender roles, the=20
objectification of women=92s bodies, the conferral of agency to the male=20
gaze). However, it is also a fact that pop culture represents a=20
fantastically varied field of study, one that, because of the=20
financial rewards, has attracted all sorts of very smart writers and=20
directors. The question we will explore in this collection is not only=20=
how theory might help us to make sense of the conservative bulk of=20
cinema and television but also how we might make sense of those=20
moments in pop culture that resemble, or at least invoke, the=20
avant-garde.

A fuller description of the collection is available online at:

http://www.mapageweb.umontreal.ca/eberlesm/projects/pop_theory.html

Please send completed essays (5000-8000 words; prepared to the Chicago=20=
  Manual of Style) by 1 July 2004 to Michael Eberle-Sinatra or Dino =20
Felluga. Potential contributors are encouraged to approach the editors=20=
with an outline of their essays. The MS will be submitted to the press=20=
  for evaluation in September 2004, with an expected publication in=20=
2005.
_____________________________________
Dr. Michael Eberle-Sinatra
Director of Graduate Studies
Departement d'etudes anglaises
Universite de Montreal
CP 6128, Station Centre-ville
Montreal, Quebec H3C3J7 - Canada
_____________________________________
Editor *Romanticism on the Net*
http://www.ron.umontreal.ca
_____________________________________
michael.eberle.sinatra_at_umontreal.ca
Tel: (514) 343-6149 - Fax: (514) 343-6443=

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Received on Thu Feb 19 2004 - 01:55:11 EST

cfp categories: 
film_and_television