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Call for Papers
7th Annual Critical Studies Graduate Student Conference
“Picturing the Popular”
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, April 13, 2013

Submission Deadline: Monday, January 14, 2013

The graduate students of Critical Studies at the University of Southern
California’s School of Cinematic Arts seek presentations from fellow
graduate students that examine the relationships and tensions between
popular culture and academia.

In engaging with popular objects, scholars, critics, and consumers must all
negotiate the potential discontinuities between popularity and cultural or
artistic merit.  “Picturing the Popular” turns critical inquiry back onto
the scholar to explore how our own intellectual and pedagogical praxes
impact, and are impacted by, the study of popular culture.

This conference poses two sets of questions.  One: what does academic
scrutiny and critical inquiry reveal about our criteria for defining and
evaluating popular culture?  Does academic attention always recognize the
depth and cultural significance of a work, or is there a risk of
artificially inflating the importance of a work that is otherwise
unremarkable?  How does academic thinking define our understandings of what
is popular or unpopular?

Two: How is our very understanding of the popular informed by the functions
of academia?  To what extent is academic inquiry determined by popular
trends, accessibility of media objects, accepted wisdoms, and academia’s
own tastes and biases?  How does the specialized set of intellectual
parameters employed by academics impact our professionalization?

We welcome papers, creative projects, and other non-traditional
presentations exploring the roles that popular, mainstream, or hegemonic
media (and their opposites) play in our scholarship and our classrooms.
Presentations may address popular culture in connection to the widest
possible range of social, cultural, political, and economic phenomena.
Possible topics may include, but are not limited to:

fandom and user-generated media
star studies
genre studies
industry research
issues of taste, value, quality
canonicity
popular or "accepted" histories, identities, political narratives
populism and social movements
popularity across national boundaries, issues of translation, adaptation
alternatives to mainstream popularity (avant-garde/art cinema, trash cinema)
“disreputable” media, such as reality television or pornography
“aca-blogging” and other forms of popular culture production by academics
academic practice, pedagogy, professionalization

Please submit your proposals to Lorien R. Hunter ([log in to unmask]) and
Mike Dillon ([log in to unmask]) by Monday, January 14, 2013. Submissions
should include a 250-300 word abstract and a brief bio. Please feel free to
contact us with questions.

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Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite
http://www.ScreenSite.org