Organization: University of Verona
CFP: In-between “pop-” and “post-”: contemporary routes in English culture
University of Verona, 18-19 December 2020
Since their first appearance in the 1970s, Cultural Studies have aimed at proposing a new approach for the investigation of different fields of knowledge, far from any kind of boundaries and categorizations. This approach is also connected to the denunciation of arbitrary definitions in terms of class, gender, ethnicity, and sexuality in a post-modern society, as well as to any kind of cultural and identity value expressed, not only but also, by pop-culture. In this context, the relevance given to the post-modern deconstruction of narrations and identities, emphasised by many scholars, has led to a plurality of different readings and a multiplicity of discourses.
The concept and the role of the prefix “post-” has been discussed and developed in a huge variety of diverse scenarios of meanings. The Cultural Studies perspective insists on its positive value as producer of knowledge and meaning in a de-centred panorama, as already asserted by Stuart Hall.1 On the other hand, the concept of “pop,” introduced by the work of Raymond Williams, Stuart Hall, and John Fiske, is more concerned with “how meanings, such as those drawn from popular culture offerings, are interpreted and used in everyday life.”2 The reference is to a culture that comes from the people, but which can, at the same time, influence and intertwine with the so-called “high-culture.”
In the latter period, indeed also a new perspective on culture has been introduced. The clear-cut division between high and low has started to fade away and a new form of hybrid culture has been born from the interaction of different cultural productions. Intertextuality, multimediality and the influence of the World Wide Web have made this phenomenon possible. The Cultural Studies perspective frees popular culture from ideological constraints by making it a liberating practice in which meaning is not imposed but continually negotiated: “Meaning is constructed – given produced – through cultural practices. […] We map new things in terms of, or by extension or analogy from, things we already know.”3 At the same time, also the current post-modern, post-national, and post-human society is conforming to those practices in order to create new paradigms and forms of cultural exchange and debate.
The conference aims at investigating the evolution of English culture and literature in contemporary society through a Cultural Studies perspective. Through the analysis of literary texts, plays, movies, comics, advertisements and commercials, and the depiction of their connections to the global cultural scenario, a picture of the evolution of the English cultural production of the last decades will be proposed. The conference is open to the following areas of research: literature, philosophy, linguistics, history and anthropology, art, old and new media, sociology.
1 (1992) “The question of cultural identity”, in Hall S. - Held D. - McGrew T. (eds.), Modernity and its futures, Polity Press - The Open University, London.
2 Fowles, Advertising and Popular Culture, xv.
3 Paul du Gay, “Introduction” in Doing Cultural Studies, ed. Paul du Gay, (London: Sage Publications, 1997), 14.
We invite contributions which study, discuss, and promote - among others - the following issues:
• English Literature from the Early-Modern to the new Millennium and its re-writings
• Comparative Literatures
• Literature and (post-)culture: post-colonial, post-modern, post-human, post-national
• Popular culture and popular literature and their possible interactions
• Philosophy and mass culture
• Art and Aesthetics in the contemporary era
• Old and new mass-media in contemporary society (cinema, radio, photography, social media, etc.)
• Advertising communication
• Literary and linguistic analysis of movies, TV-series, documentaries, biopics, etc.
• Historical, anthropological, sociological analysis of contemporary society and its constructs theoretical constructs
• Presentation and analysis of artistic installations
The Conference is addressed to scholars of any institution, as well as to independent researchers, PhD students, and students from MA and BA courses.
The time limit for individual presentations is 20 minutes. In addition to 20 minutes papers, we are also inviting BA and MA students to submit for a round-table session, where they will be able to discuss research ideas and work-in-progress related to the themes of the conference.
For round-table discussion, please submit abstracts of no more than 50 words. For individual papers please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words (title included). All proposals have to be sent in .pdf format by September 25, 2020 to the following address:
All submissions should be written in English and will undergo anonymous review. Name, affiliation, and research field should appear only in the text of the e-mail.
Acceptance will be communicated by October 5, 2020. A registration fee (50 euros, including coffee breaks, lunches, and conference folder) will be requested to scholars, independent researchers and PhD students. Mode of payment details will be shared after the communication of acceptance.
Further information regarding the accommodation will be posted on the conference website and sent to participants once abstracts have been accepted.
Alessia Polatti (University of Padova/Bologna)
Roberta Zanoni (University of Verona)