"Working Toward Leisure": University of Calgary Free-Exchange Conference March 4-6 2011

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University of Calgary Free-Exchange Committee
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University of Calgary's Free-Exchange Committee will be hosting its annual, interdisciplinary graduate student conference March 4-6 2011 at the University of Calgary and is looking for contributors to critically engage with and explore this year's theme of "working toward leisure."

"We give up leisure in order to have leisure." —Aristotle

The 2011 Free-Exchange Conference aims to achieve an interdisciplinary exchange of ideas and perspectives on any interpretation of the topic of leisure. We seek papers on the human phenomenon of leisure as it is manifested in history, culture, art and literature, as a Classical pursuit, an aristocratic vocation, a contemporary commodity, or otherwise. As the conference title suggests, we are especially interested in the permeable boundary between leisure and labour, and how two seemingly opposing spheres can be conceived as interdependent, as suggested by such paradoxes as traveling for work, business parties, free time in the workplace, and leisure as a labour market.

Economists maintain that the advent of capitalism triggered an influx in leisure time, yet Juliet B. Schor argues that we are now in the midst of an unexpected decline of leisure as the length of our average workday increases. As our workday lengthens however, the workplace continues to be infiltrated by emerging technologies that make it easier to "waste time." We are interested in the effects these emerging technologies and media have had and continue to have on the way leisure and work are conceptualized.

How have certain leisure activities been conceived over time as both privileges and responsibilities? Has leisure always been defined exclusively in relation to work? Is leisure a means or an end: do we partake in leisure for its own sake or so that we may be more productive when we resume our work? Is leisure a site of consumption or production? Historically, has our identity been defined by what we do when at work or at leisure?

Historian Edward Thompson suggests that time is no longer something we "pass," but a currency which we "spend." Is the notion of "free time" still conceivable?

Submissions that explore "leisure" (and its obverse) from a diverse range of fields and disciplines are encouraged. We also welcome creative writing submissions for our creative writing panel and events.

Possible topics for panels or papers include, but are not limited to, the following:
-leisure activity in the form of vacation, travel and tourism, hospitality
-leisure in the form of media, the internet, social networking
-leisure as entertainment, performance art, and its manifestations in popular culture
-sports and recreation as a means of leisure
-commodification of leisure and the economy
-the comparison of leisure to other aspects of culture and society

Please send proposals (maximum 500 words) to the conference organizers at:

All submissions are to be submitted in an electronic e-mail attachment (preferably MS Word) and are due no later than January 7th, 2011.

Please contact Mike Webster (msjwebst@ucalgary.ca) or Hollie Adams (hadams@ucalgary.ca) if you have questions regarding the conference.