[UPDATE/Extension] Luxuries of the Literary Mind: Readings of Commodity and Privilege

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McGill Graduate Conference

The deadline for McGill's Graduate Conference has been extended to January 14, 2011. The theme is luxury, commodity, privilege, and consumption in literature, film, and other texts and cultural artefacts.

We are honoured to be hosting Dr. George Toles (University of Manitoba) as our keynote speaker and to have secured a faculty address from Dr. Allan Hepburn (McGill).

Please find the call for papers below.

McGill English Graduate Conference Call for Papers Luxuries of the Literary Mind: Readings of Commodity and Privilege

"Literature is a luxury; fiction is a necessity." G. K. Chesterton, Defendant (1901)

The McGill English Department's Seventeenth Annual Graduate Conference on Language and Literature will take place from March 4 to 6, 2011. The conference will centre on issues of luxury, commodity, and consumption in literature, and other texts and cultural artefacts. Potential areas for study include, but are not limited to the following:

class and social standing

wealth and poverty, images of excess and need

human rights (sexual freedoms, disability rights, etc.) versus social privilege

the racialization of wealth and status

iconography, brands and branding, labels, and commodity fetishism

consumer behaviour and identity

binaries of public/private, high/low, male/female, and consumer/producer central to markets and marketing

literary depictions of shopping, markets, fairs

imperialism, colonialism, trade, and their effects (e.g., environmental degradation, exploitative labour)

gift-giving, treasure, hoarding

gender, the body, cosmetic technologies and practices

camp, ostentation, glamour, performance and performativity

cultural and aesthetic decadence

literature as a luxury (e.g., book-making expenses and practices, middle- and upper-class education as privilege)

How has literature shaped or complicated our sense of luxury and commodity?

How has literature responded to economic or financial fluctuations?

Gastronomy, Epicureanism, connoisseurship, and urbanity

Luxury goods and taxes

Lifestyle porn (e.g., luxury travel, culture, or celebrity narratives)

Conference presentations should not exceed twenty minutes. Proposals will be blind- vetted, and must include a double spaced, 250-word abstract plus a cover sheet with your name, university, contact information, and a brief biographical paragraph about your academic interests and achievements.

Please send your proposal as an email attachment in .doc or .pdf format to mcgillconference2011@gmail.com by January 14, 2010.