While the study of popular culture has proliferated, its objects of study are still primarily based in the twentieth century. This panel will explore popular culture and its relationship to the working class in nineteenth-century America--a time when working-class culture began to receive attention from middle-class critics and reformers who feared "certain dangerous tendencies" were emerging among the laboring classes.
Papers are invited which examine nineteenth-century popular culture, such as serialized fiction, melodrama, broadsides, and the popular press, through multiple methodologies, but interdisciplinary approaches are particularly welcome. Suggested questions to discuss include what role did popular culture play in changing gender ideologies and discourses? How did consumers respond to the increasing availability of commercialized culture? How were genres developed or reformatted as a result of new technologies and audience demands? What role did regional variations play? How were class issues articulated in popular culture? How did writers and producers represent genre in popular culture and in what ways did these representation differ from proceeding genres, high art, or middle-class culture? In what ways was popular culture contested? What role did middle-class concerns play in shaping working-class culture?
Send a 1-2 page abstract, a brief C.V., and affirmation of MLA membership by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or to the address below. Abstracts are due by March 15th, 2002. Presenters must be MLA members by April 1, 2002 and can appear in the program as a speaker, chair, or respondent only twice.
Cultural Studies Program
George Mason University
4400 University Blvd
Fairfax, VA 22030 Email: email@example.com
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