[UPDATE]: The Battle of the Brows: Cultural Distinctions in the Space Between, 1914-1945 (Feb 15/June 16-18)

full name / name of organization: 
The Space Between Society: Literature and Culture, 1914-1945

The Battle of the Brows: Cultural Distinctions in the Space Between, 1914-1945

Keynote Speaker: Dr. David Savran, CUNY Ph.D. Program in Theatre

Deadline extended to February 15, 2011

McGill University, Montreal, Canada
June 16-18, 2011

With the massive growth in the production and consumption of literature, music and art in the period 1914-1945 came powerful anxieties about cultural authority and transmission. As audiences and artists increasingly came from middle or lower classes, critics tried to distinguish between the "serious" and the "popular." Cultural distinctions that relied, directly or indirectly, on attitudes toward hierarchies of gender, class, and race came under increasing scrutiny. It was a time of debate and radical change: new media and materials (radio, film, jazz, paperback novels) gained ground over traditional forms and venues (classical music, poetry, theatre); many arts became professionalized, rather than relying on inherited incomes; institutions such as the Book of the Month Club and the BBC formed new communities of cultural consumption.
How does recognition of these social and cultural conflicts impact our work as scholars of the space between the wars? Conversely, how does our work impact the vocabularies and values through which we access and understand the societies and cultures of this time period?
The 13th annual Space Between Society Conference, in cooperation with the Middlebrow Network, invites proposals that consider questions and problems related to cultural distinction in the years 1914-1945. Please send abstracts (no more than 300 words) along with a short biographical statement to spacebetween2011@gmail.com by 15 February 2011. Possible topics include:
• Middlebrow culture and the discourses of modernity
• Art in the marketplace
• Cultural capital and cultural minorities
• Documentaries, Hollywood film, art film, the woman's film
• Theatre, vaudeville, street theatre, group theatre
• Visual culture: photography, painting, advertising
• Music, soundtracks, opera, jazz, musicals
• Kitsch
• Working-class cultures
• Architecture, furniture, and interior design
• Historical crises and cultural responses: militarization, demobilization, civilian life
• Domesticity and domestic service
• Pleasure, entertainment, and audiences
• International popular cultures
• The avant-garde
• Genres and modes: melodrama, social realism, adventure fiction, spy thrillers, romances
• Movement across media: film, print, radio, gramophone
• Public radio and broadcasting: BBC, CBC, ABC
• Mass-Observation

Keynote Speaker, David Savran, is one of the leading theatre scholars in the United States. His most recent book, Highbrow/Lowdown: Theater, Jazz, and the Making of the New Middle Class, explores the twentieth century's first culture war and the forces that permanently transformed American theatre. Tracing the impact of jazz as a multi-cultural, cross-class phenomenon, Savran examines how playwrights, producers, and critics in the 1920s and 1930s rushed to distinguish the newly emerging literary theatre from its illegitimate cousins. The book ultimately argues that the efforts to defeat the democratizing influences of jazz and to canonize playwrights like Eugene O'Neill triumphed, giving birth to American theatre as we know it today.

Savran is a Distinguished Professor for the CUNY Ph.D. Program in Theatre; he also holds the Vera Mowry Roberts Chair in American Theatre.

Hotels have been reserved for conference attendees, with special rates ranging from $49 - $149 per night.