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[Commlist] CFP Conference "Art & Action"
Thu May 30 18:41:46 GMT 2019
*Art and Action: Literary Authorship, Politics, and Celebrity Culture*
*20-21 March 2020*
The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH)
Radcliffe Humanities, Woodstock Road, Oxford
Writers and writers’ organisations have a long history of using their
public standing and cultural capital to promote causes that transcend
the literary sphere, from abolition and gender equality to free
expression, anti-war agitation, and environmental issues.This two-day
conference explores the intersections of authorship, politics, activism,
and literary celebrity across historical periods, literatures, and
media. It examines the forms and impact of authorial field migrations
between literature and politics and the ways in which they are situated
within, and shaped by, structural frameworks that include academic
institutions, prize-giving bodies, publishing industries, and literary
Authors have at all times been fiercely outspoken campaigners for a wide
range of socio-political causes. At the same time, debates have long
revolved around literature as a form of political intervention in its
own right, thus undermining the seemingly clear-cut distinction between
politics and poetics. This conference hopes to foster such debates and
address a wide range of questions: What are the strategies employed by
writers in the construction and performance of their public personae as
political office-holders, activists, and cultural critics? How do they
negotiate the tension between ethics and aesthetics in their public
interventions, the potential conflict between authorial and activist
selves? How have writers’ literary/political border-crossings been
perceived by their audiences and to what extent have they affected their
(posthumous) reputations? What are the risks faced by the politically
engaged and outspoken writer?
Interrogating the ideological dimension of literary celebrity and
highlighting the fault-lines between public and private authorial
selves, ‘pure’ art, political commitment, and marketplace imperatives,
this conference joins current debates on authorship and literary value.
It brings together writers, academics, literary activists, and industry
stakeholders to explore the wider implications of authors’ political
responsibilities and cultural authority in today’s heavily commodified
literary marketplace and age of celebrity activism.
Topics may include, but are not limited to:
·*Authors as political office-holders / activists / public
intellectuals*: forms, manifestations, agendas, challenges of, and
responses to, literary/political ‘double acts’ across historical
periods, literatures, and cultural contexts **
·*Literary celebrity and identity politics*: how are the intersections
of literary celebrity and politics inflected by categories such as
gender, class, and ethnicity? To what extent do they map onto different
national and cultural spaces? **
·*Writers’ organisations, cultural institutions, and their political
agendas*: how do writers’ organisations capitalise on the celebrity
status of particular writers and what are the potential pitfalls of this
practice? What is the relationship between individual and collective
·*The politics of market activism*: what is the role of industry
stakeholders (e.g. publishers, agents, translators, literary festivals,
etc.) in enabling or inhibiting authorial migrations between literature
·*Literary prizes and politics*: literary prizes as cultural
consecrating agencies; literary award ceremonies as platforms for
political intervention; (celebrity) prize judges as gatekeepers; the
impact of literary awards on the cultural capital of winning and
·*Authors’ political interventions and the media*: the impact of
transformations in media cultures, industries, and technologies (e.g.
digital media) on the articulation and dissemination of critical stances
and ideas within the public sphere
·*Literary celebrity, politics, and life-writing*: How is the interplay
of literary celebrity and politics negotiated and articulated across
different life-writing genres? In which ways does the genre (e.g.
memoirs, lectures, interviews, broadcasts, social media posts) shape
these interrelations and the construction of authorial personae?
·*Authorship and political responsibility*:What is the author’s
political responsibility and cultural authority in today’s
celebrity-driven media society? Is there a need for writers to step
outside the literary medium? How do they reconcile their activities with
a view of literature as political intervention in its own right?
*Keynote contributions: *
-Benjamin Zephaniah (performance poet, activist, Professor of Poetry and
Creative Writing, Brunel University London)
-Antjie Krog (writer and scholar activist, TORCH International Fellow)
-PEN roundtable discussion with Jennifer Clement (PEN International
President), Carles Torner (PEN International Executive Director), Margie
Orford (former South African PEN President), Rachel Potter (University
of East Anglia), Peter McDonald (University of Oxford)
Please send your proposal (no more than 250 words) for 20-minute papers
along with a short biographical note to (sandra.mayer /at/ univie.ac.at)
<mailto:(sandra.mayer /at/ univie.ac.at)> by *29 November 2019*; applicants
will be notified by *20 December 2019*.
Selected contributions will be considered for inclusion in a
peer-reviewed collection or special journal issue.
*For more information, and to register, please follow this link:
This conference is convened by Sandra Mayer (University of Vienna /
Oxford Centre for Life-Writing) and Ruth Scobie (Mansfield College,
Oxford) and supported by The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities
and the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) in collaboration with the Oxford
Centre for Life-Writing (OCLW).
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