UPDATE: New and Erratic Inquiries into the Nature of Pop (grad) (1/31/06; 3/3/06-3/4/06)

full name / name of organization: 
Jens Stephen Schellhammer
contact email: 


We have extended the deadline for the submission of paper proposals for the Cornell Graduate Student Conference hosted by the Department of German Studies, March 3-4, 2006, at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. All Pop enthusiasts are strongly encouraged to submit abstracts. The theme of the conference is

Amusement total …Sans regret?!
New and Erratic Inquiries into the Nature of Pop

With a keynote address by Dr. Eckhard Schumacher (LMU Munich)

“The only reasonable way to talk about Pop is to point, captivated, at the captivating, hey, super." So claims German Pop writer Rainald Goetz with apodictic aplomb in his 1986 essay collection “Brain”. What if this statement were literally true â€" this claim that the mode of blissful affirmation is the only appropriate register of speech regarding all matters Pop? Should we despair because there is no room for an analytical position â€" inside or outside of Pop? Or should we simply be content to celebrate that Pop is the most beautiful thing on earth? But what if Pop were only graffiti on a prison wall, as Dick Hebdidge famously insinuated? How could we verbalize such a notion? It seems as if we still lack the language necessary to vivisect Pop, as if to analyze Pop would mean killing its essence â€" thereby turning the word into a lifeless and meaningless shell. Part of the purpose of this Graduate Student Conference is to explore ways to overcome the position of ec!
 static incommunicability that Goetz seems to postulate â€" but without falling prey to dry theoretical reductionism either.

The concept of Pop has been pervasive throughout the 20th century and into the 21st â€" nonetheless all attempts at giving a concise definition of the term have been surprisingly futile. That might be because Pop knows no article â€" there is no such thing as “a” Pop or “the” Pop â€" and, consequently, we shouldn’t waste our time trying to invent what doesn’t exist. Instead we should play with the word, apply it, probe its promise and limitations. This conference is intended as a two-day journey in pursuit of the secrets that lie behind the veneer of Pop/art, /music, /literature, and /culture. Of course, at the end of that journey we might
find ourselves in the sad position of the child who cuts open and destroys a concertina in order to discover the source of its sounds, only to realize that there is nothing inside. Participants in this conference are warned that they should be willing to take this risk.

We invite graduate students from all fields of study to submit paper proposals exploring all aspects of Pop, in any of its national or international manifestations. Papers may address art, music, literature, or any other aspect of Pop culture.

The primary language of the conference will be English. Presentations should not exceed 25 minutes. Please send an abstract of 250-400 words in either English or German as a Word attachment by January 31, 2006, to <jss93_at_cornell.edu. On a separate cover sheet, please list the proposed paper title, author's name, affiliation, and e-mail address. Please
indicate whether you will require technological support (i.e., overhead, slide projector, etc.)

Conference participants may choose housing with Cornell graduate students or be referred to affordable hotel accommodations near the Cornell campus.

Please pay attention to future CFP update that will announce the URL of the conference website.

This conference is sponsored in part by the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly and the Departments of German Studies, English, Government, Music, and Theatre, Film, and Dance, Cornell University.

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Received on Sat Jan 21 2006 - 13:50:17 EST