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Between Thing and Theory: Cultural Studies and the Crisis of Historicism
Birmingham, June 2000

Call for Papers: “Between Thing and Theory: Cultural Studies and the Crisis ofHistoricism” a panel to be held at the Third Crossroads in Cultural Studies Conference Birmingham, England, 21-25 June 2000
Proposals ought to address the theoretical and methodological questions sketched out in the following description: Cultural Studies has been transformed by the development of sophisticated methods of historical analysis. Whether going by the name of New Historicism, Cultural Materialism, or the Sociology of Culture, these diverse methods have both provided insight into heretofore underexamined or underexplained cultural objects and practices and offered a counter to a previous scholarly generation's perceived excesses of ahistorical theorizing. However, it is time to question whether this once-insurgent critical paradigm has, in its new dominance, begun to elide the practical gains won in the process of theorizing the study of cultural history. Specifically, we seek papers that question the increasing tendency toward positivism in all fields, periods and locations of Cultural Studies. What sorts of questions go unanswered when the archive is constructed as the arena of all knowledge? To what extent can a historically minded "return to theory" complement cultural analysis? What role might a category like the aesthetic play in a form of analysis that mediates between thing and theory? The panel will consist of five twenty-minute presentations. Send abstracts of approximately 300 words by 31 January 2000 to either of the following (regular mail and e-mail submissions will be accepted): James A. Knapp Department of English 612 Pray-Harrold Hall Eastern Michigan University Ypsilanti, MI 48197 USA jaknapp@ONLINE.EMICH.EDU or Jeffrey Pence Department of English Rice Hall 130 Oberlin College Oberlin OH 44074 USA jeffrey.pence@oberlin.edu For more information, visit the conference website: http://www.crossroads-conference.org/