Call for Panels: »Populäre Kulturen« / »Popular Cultures«

 8th annual conference of the Kulturwissenschaftliche Gesellschaft (KWG)

Saarland University, 27–30 September 2023

Deadline: Octover 15, 2022

A serious interest in academic research on the ›popular‹ arose probably mainly out of the crit- ical consciousness of the »Cultural Studies«, when from the 1960s onwards, ›other‹ aesthetics and practices increasingly caught the attention of scholars. It was particularly the search for cultural artifacts which reproduce social norms and hierarchies in the (mass) media sphere that promoted a first critical examination of advertising or soap operas, of ›trivial‹ literature or comics, of television series or pop music.

The fact that popular products—especially since the beginning of modernity—have been more widely received than the supposedly ›high-quality‹, intellectual works of art supported by elitist bourgeois institutions, had until then been pushed into the background by an uncritical canonization and the one-sided aggrandizement of high culture. Yet the skepticism and even rejection of the ›popular‹, often accused of a schematic, innovationless culture industry (»Kulturindus- trie«) following capitalist principles, is countered by a multiplicity of different aesthetics, media, and practices: Pop art and pop music, for example, also (self-)critically reflect their mass char- acter; pop literature writing creates a comprehensive archive of everyday life and brands; and fan fiction or cosplay enable the participation of the otherwise passive recipient.

In the meantime, the academic debate of popular aesthetics and practices—already institu- tionalized at universities as »Popular Culture Studies«—has become an integral part of Kultur- wissenschaften/Cultural Studies in its broadest sense.

The focus of the conference will be on cultural studies questions both from historical and con- temporary as well as from synchronic and asynchronous perspectives. Possible topics for panels and papers include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Theories of the ›popular‹ as well as methodological approaches to the study/analysis of popular culture(s)
  • Issues of race, class, gender, and diversity as they relate to popular culture(s)
  • Analysis of specific media, materials, practices, or aesthetics of the ›popular‹
  • Examination of the relationships, influences, and interdependencies between the ›pop- ular‹ and the ›high-brow‹ or ›subcultural‹
  • Manifestations of the ›popular‹ outside European and North American cultures

How to apply:

The duration of a panel is 120 minutes and should include 3-4 talks/papers. The talks can be either in German or English.

Panel proposals can be submitted to the organizers by 15 October 2022 and should include an abstract (approx. 300-500 words) as well as a short biobibliographical note of the organizers. Feedback on your abstract can then be expected promptly.

For organizational reasons, the list of presenters within the panels as well as the abstracts must then be received no later than 31 January 2023, so that we can seek (partial) travel funding for participants from outside of Germany.

There will be separate time-slots reserved within the program for KWG section meetings; like- wise, a student section is planned within the annual meeting.

Organization:

Astrid M. Fellner (fellner@mx.uni-saarland.de)

Jonas Nesselhauf (jonas.nesselhauf@uni-saarland.de)

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