CFP: Subculture and the Humanities (Edited Volume)

full name / name of organization: 
Morgan Shipley, Co-editor
contact email:

Is subculture a universal category that discloses itself in similar ways, irrespective of differences in historical moments or cultural geographies? Or is subculture inextricably linked to these specificities? This edited volume seeks to engage these questions (amongst others) through a particular scope. Specifically, in what ways can the humanities helped us to understand subcultures during three distinct eras: the Lost Generation, the 1960s and today’s digital age?

Hardly a static category, subculture can be described broadly as an aesthetic rebellion against a classical orthodoxy, which nevertheless seeks implicitly to restore social order. In this sense, subculture is Janus-faced: both a challenge to, and yet affirmation of, the dominant culture. As Dick Hebdige (1979) notes, subculture is thus always mediated — inflected by the context in which it is encountered and posited upon a specific ideological field which gives it a certain life (Szeman and Kaposy, 2010).

The past fifty years of subculture theory provides no shortage of methodologies for engaging this dialectic. Nick Bentley (2005), for example, traces a paradigmatic shift from readings in the 1950s/60s that focused on “the sociological” as a determining factor in the study of subculture (specifically youth culture) to the Marxist and ethnographic approaches of the 1970s. The late 1970s and early 1980s experienced a shift to semiotic readings, which culminated with the postmodern declaration of “post-subcultures.” This collection seeks to understand the changing face of the subcultural within the diverse frames of the humanities. What roles can the humanities—both pedagogically and as an analytic tool—play in helping us to rethink, re-engage and reformulate notions of subcultures? How do literature, art, architecture and media participate in, adjunct to, contest, or provide alternatives to the mainstream? How might historians, critics and educators re-assess these relationships in the current cultural climate?

Chapter proposals should:
1. In 500 words (or less) define the focus and argument of the chapter. Abstracts should address specifically how their theme relates to the CFP in terms of historical resonance and humanities-focus.
2. Be submitted as a pdf or word document. Proposals should be double-spaced, with Times New Roman, 12- point font, and Chicago style citations.

3. Include a copy of the author’s CV and a 50-word biography

Proposals and questions should be sent to Dr. Michael Blouin and Dr. Morgan Shipley at by October 1. Decisions will be emailed by no later than November 1 with drafts expected by March 1st.

cfp categories: 
modernist studies