The Marginalised Mainstream seeks to discuss popular, or mainstream, culture of the late nineteenth to early twenty-first centuries, 1880–2010. Specifically, we seek to bring together postgraduate students, early career academics and established researchers working in the fields of Literature, Cultural Studies and elsewhere in the Humanities, to explore why mainstream culture and objects of mass appeal are so frequently marginalised by the academic community.
The conference asserts the academic importance of investigating the mainstream and wider cultural traditions, from cult followings (such as that of Rocky Horror and the works of Buster Keaton) to periodicalised ‘tales of terror’, from the regency romances of Georgette Heyer to the satirical wit of P.G. Wodehouse, from radio mystery theatre and musical revue to spy-fi and sci-fi, from food writing to fashion. We are not only seeking papers that offer a rigorous engagement with questions of marketplace, but that seek to explore the frequently overlooked.
We are especially interested in providing a space to discuss these under-valued and under-researched areas of the mainstream, in and of their own right. However, we do also encourage papers that investigate why and how culturally significant forms of popular fiction have been subject to critical marginalisation.
We invite proposals for papers, reports, work-in-progress, workshops and pre-formed panels from all disciples on themes that could include, but are not limited to, the following:
The changing conceptualisation of canonicity
Genres, subgenres and the process of genre-fication
Queer fictions and alien concepts
‘Low-’, ‘middle-’ and ‘high-brow’ literature
Critical acclaim vs. mass appeal
Cult classics and forgotten classics
Award winners, box-office smashes and bestsellers
Taking theory where it’s never gone before
Historiographies of gender, race and class
It goes without saying that writers, texts or topics need not be canonical and we actively encourage papers discussing writers, texts and visual media from around the world.
Abstracts of no more than 350 words are invited by 15 June 2012. They must include:
a brief biographical paragraph about your academic interests
any technical support requests
Please email abstracts to organisers Sam Goodman, Emma Grundy Haigh, and Brittain Bright at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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