Call for Papers: Middlebrow Cultures
University of Strathclyde, Glasgow
Tuesday 14th, Wednesday 15th July 2009
Plenary speakers: Professor Ann Ardis, University of Delaware and Professor Phyllis Lassner, Northwestern University
The Network was launched at the “Historicising the Middlebrow” conference at Sheffield University in July 2008, and we now invite papers for the second conference.
The study of middlebrow culture matters because it illuminates a set of tastes, institutions and social practices associated primarily with the aspirational middle class in the early to mid-twentieth century, and because it helps us understand the relationship between elite, popular and ‘intermediate’ cultural production. It matters especially now because the emergence of middlebrow cultural products in the decades following the First World War was, primarily, a result of technical innovations in printing, distribution, recording, and broadcasting. This relates directly to trends in our own time, since the internet has not only resulted in a vast renaissance of textual production, but has also generated new
internationalised audiences and interpretive communities which echo the
middlebrow cultural formations of the early twentieth century. Examples include electronic book clubs, new bohemian web magazines, and diaries and blogs which recall the Mass Observation project.
We invite proposals which focus on any aspect of middlebrow culture, and on any period from the later nineteenth century to the present. In particular, we welcome papers or panels on our two priority themes:
- material cultures
- postcolonial cultures
The “material cultures” theme encompasses technologies of the middlebrow, broadcasting, book history, reception studies, and related topics. The “postcolonial” theme invites consideration of geographies of the middlebrow, travel, and the cultural production of formerly colonised countries.
We also plan to include in the conference:
- a special session on resources for researching the middlebrow
- a Middlebrow Network meeting to plan future activities
- dinner at the famous Glasgow art deco restaurant ‘Rogano’
- a visit to the Britannia Panoptican Music Hall (not normally open to the public). To be confirmed.
Proposals of 400 words for 20-minute papers, or up to 1200 words for panels (three papers, or two papers and a respondent), should be sent to Erica and Faye at firstname.lastname@example.org by 31 January 2009 .