Archive for calls, May 2008

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[ecrea] CFP: conference on Fetishism

Fri May 23 10:48:23 GMT 2008

>CFP submitted on behalf of Tuna Erdem, (tunaerdem /at/
>Substitute Lack! / Accept No Substitutes!
>An Interdisciplinary Conference on
>26-28 November, Istanbul
>Fetishism is used in three distinct but, 
>arguably, interconnected ways: commodity fetishism,
>sexual fetishism and religious fetishism. From 
>voodoo dolls to Catholic sacraments, from latex cat
>suits to stiletto heels, from shiny i-pods to 
>red Corvettes the fetish is always an object that
>exceeds both its value and its function as a 
>mere object. The fetish, it seems, is never itself but
>always a stand-in for something else. This 
>conference aims to explore what this something else
>may be, how the substitution functions and the 
>possible connections between the three kinds of
>This is an interdisciplinary conference, 
>therefore, papers are welcome from disciplines that
>include, but are not limited to, cultural 
>studies, film studies, literature, art history, cultural
>anthropology, sociology, psychology, 
>psychoanalysis, political science, economics, queer studies,
>womens studies, TV studies and media studies.
>Proposals are invited for 20-minute 
>presentations. Panel proposals for up to three speakers are
>also welcome. _Please submit abstracts, no 
>longer than 350 words, by using the 'submission'
>button on the web site
>Deadline for abstracts: 11th of July 2008
>For inquiries, contact Tuna Erdem on (tunaerdem /at/
>Possible streams:
>Fetishism of Commodities: The significance of 
>Marxs famous/notorious concept, Fetishism of
>Commodities, is not that the commodities 
>themselves are fetishistic: it is rather us, who
>insistently believe that commodities mean 
>something else/more than what they are as
>physical/psychical objects, that are 
>fetishistic. In assigning fetishism to the presumed subject
>rather than the object itself, we are implicitly 
>saying that subjects living in a commodity economy
>are necessarily perverts, not as a result of 
>individual development or choice, but structurally. In
>this sense, Marxs Fetishism of Commodities 
>becomes, in a way, synonymous with what Freud
>called, some sixty years after Marx, 
>Civilization and Its Discontents (Das Unbehagen in der Kultur),
>that is, what is structurally problematic in 
>modern (capitalist) civilization. Papers and panels
>investigating the links, overlaps and 
>discrepancies between these two different senses of
>fetishism are welcome. What is the relation 
>between fetish as commodity and commodity as
>fetish? Is the Brand a phallic object? Could 
>commodity fetishism be regarded as a mass
>perversion? What is the relation between commodity fetishism and alienation?
>Psychoanalysis and Fetishism: According to Freud 
>fetish is a substitute for the mothers missing
>penis and a means of denying castration. In 
>Lacanian terminology this is rephrased so that the
>fetish becomes a substitute for lack, in order 
>to deny that we lack. More importantly, however,
>fetishism halts the chain of substitution. It is 
>the substitute that ends all substitution and cannot
>be substituted. Papers on Freudian, Lacanian, 
>Kleinian understanding of fetishism, are welcome,
>as well as papers that use such theories to 
>read cultural texts like films, paintings, music videos,
>performance art, body art, novels, advertisements, web sites etc.
>Fetishism and Spectacle: In his famous book The 
>Society of The Spectacle Guy Debord further
>developed Marxs concept of commodity fetishism 
>and elaborated on the similarity of the roles of
>contemporary mass media marketing and the 
>religions of the past. According to Debord, mass
>media facilitates the spread of commodity 
>images, which in turn gives rise to "waves of
>enthusiasm for a given product" resulting in 
>"moments of fervent exaltation similar to the
>ecstasies of the convulsions and miracles of the 
>old religious fetishism". Is spectacle the ultimate
>fetish in late capitalism? Papers and panels 
>investigating the links, overlaps and discrepancies
>between these two different senses of fetishism are welcome.
>Cinema and Fetishism The relation between 
>fetishism and cinema has been a widely discussed
>topic, especially, since the publication of 
>Laura Mulveys infamous article Visual Pleasure and
>Narrative Cinema. Feminist film theorists 
>ranging from Kaja Silverman to Gaylen Studlar have
>investigated the possible relations between 
>cinematic pleasure and fetishsim. Papers that deal
>with such theories or their applications to 
>specific texts are welcome. On the other hand,
>mainsteram cinema has always been a treausre 
>trove of fetisihsitic imagery. From the western
>genre with its cowboy hats, spurs and six 
>shooters, to the scinece fiction genre with its futuristic
>catsuits and sleek starships, every genre seems 
>to have its own brand of fetishism. Papers that
>investigate the fetishistic usage of iconography in films are welcome.
>Religion and Fetishism: One thinks automatically 
>of tribal religions and totems when religious
>fetishism is invoked. However, if such fetishes 
>were defined as an inanimate object worshiped for
>its supposed magical powers then one would have 
>to include all religious icons. Papers may
>explore the fetishistic values of religious 
>icons such as crucifixes, statues of the Madonna, the
>turban, evil eyes, etc. As well as the their 
>further fetishization in films, music videos, paintings etc.
>Papers dealing with fetishism in the context of 
>new age spirituality are also welcome. How would
>superstitious behaviours such as wearing 
>something old, something new, something borrowed,
>and something blue at ones wedding enter this discussion?
>Fashion and Fetishism: In the late 80s Gianni 
>Versaces scandalous collections of bondage couture
>and Madonnas appearances in Jean Paul Gaultier 
>corsets and bustiers started a flow of fetish
>iconography into mainstream-popular culture. As 
>Valerie Steele points out in Fetish: Fashion, Sex
>& Power, since than catwalks have been saturated 
>with fetish imagery, such as shiny stilettos,
>black leather boots, corsets, etc. Certainly the 
>80s is not when clothing became fetishistic. How
>much further back could one go in exploring this 
>bond? Do fetishes change with fashion? Or how
>is fashion shaped by fetishes? Some feminists 
>argue that fetish couture is sexists, exploitative,
>even mysogynistic? Is it?
>Body Modification and Fetishism: What is the 
>realtionship between fetishism and pracatices such
>as dieting, body building, plastic surgery, 
>tattooing, piercing, branding, circumcition, gender
>reassignment surgery? What is the relationship 
>beetween these prcatices and other areas of
>fetishistic focus like fashion and religion? 
>What is the relationship between body art and body
>modification practices on the one hand and 
>fetishism on the other in the works of such artists like
>Sterlac, Orlan, Bob Flanigan, Ron Athey etc. How 
>does Anzieus theory of the Skin Ego shed light
>on the skin as an ultimate fetish? Papers that 
>focus on one or more body modification practice as
>a form of fetish is welcome, as well as papers 
>that analyze the representation of such practices in
>literature, film, video etc.
>Fandom and Fetishism: Lorraine Gamman and Merja 
>Makinen claim that fandom is a form of
>religious fetishism. When pieces of clothing 
>of stars can be sold in Sothebys for astronomical
>prices, when e-bay is filled with memorabilia 
>for fans, no doubt fandom is an important part of
>commodity fetishism. Both fan fiction and the 
>fantasies that fans share about their idols prove the
>sexual nature of the fetishistic aspect of 
>fandom. Papers that explore the link between fandom
>and any, or all, types of fetishism are welcome.

Nico Carpentier (Phd)
Vrije Universiteit Brussel - Free University of Brussels
Centre for Studies on Media and Culture (CeMeSO)
Pleinlaan 2 - B-1050 Brussels - Belgium
T: ++ 32 (0)2-629.18.56
F: ++ 32 (0)2-629.36.84
Office: 5B.401a
Katholieke Universiteit Brussel - Catholic University of Brussels
Vrijheidslaan 17 - B-1081 Brussel - Belgium
Facultés Universitaires Saint-Louis
Boulevard du Jardin Botanique 43  - B-1000 Brussel - Belgium
Sponsored links ;)
European Communication Research and Education Association
ECREA's Second European Communication Conference
Barcelona, 25-28 November 2008
E-mail: (Nico.Carpentier /at/

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