CFP: U.S. Icons
(Workshop 24; European Association of American Studies 2008 Conference; Oslo, Norway, May 9-12, 2008)
US cultural icons (from the flag to Michael Jackson) form an essential part in the discourses of US culture. They may be seen as normalizing agents in attempting to foster a “Pluribus Unum” against tendencies of pluralism and atomism. In this perspective, they are an attempt to focus and anchor the sliding of signification. Fostering social cohesion by placing consensus over conflict, they can be seen as agents of hegemony, as central elements in the manufacturing of consent by freezing historical situations and relationships into mass-mediated (and often mass-marketable) forms.
However, icons are deeply rooted in popular culture and in their making or their historical existence are often contested or converted by socially active groups. Moreover, since the public is a body of strangers, public discourses do need symbols of central values and issues. One could therefore argue that icons are not so much hegemonic tools as democratic elements in the media age, symbolizing popular interests and epistemological shifts.
The workshop will trace the role and function of U.S. icons, understanding them as a contested popular area. Contributions are invited which draw on typical examples of US icons in order to theorize their cultural functioning.
If you are interested in participating in this workshop please send a paper proposal (including a 150-200 word abstract) to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Deadline for the paper proposal: September 1, 2007
Date and Place of Conference: May 9-12, 2008; Oslo, Norway
Further conference information (at present relatively thin) can be found in the EAAS newsletter (pages 11-20): http://www.eaas.eu/newsletter/ASE58min.pdf
Hotel costs are still being negotiated (between € 50 and 100?). Budget airlines serve Oslo (see www.norwegian.no for flights, as well as Ryan Air).
Department of American Studies; University of Graz;
Attemsgasse 25 / II; A-8010 Graz; Austria / EU
Phone: +43-316-380-8201 or -2465
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