European Journal of English Studies, Vol. 15 Matter and Material Culture 2011 | cfp.english.upenn.edu
by Jessica C. Murphy
European Journal of English Studies, Vol. 15
Matter and Material Culture
Deadline for proposals: 13 November 2009
Guest Editors: Maurizio Calbi & Marilena Parlati.
Cultural materialism has been adding much to our knowledge and understanding of the ways in which culture is informed by and conformed to and with matter, and so have the numerous analyses and histories of material culture from fields as varied as sociology, anthropology, museum studies, consumer studies, and so forth.
On a different plane, matter has recently been the focus, among others, of Bill Brown’s ‘thing theory’, according to which ‘things’ come into being when and where ordinary, narrative, or aesthetic objects stop functioning properly and thus become visible and obtrusive. Meanwhile, considerations of material and corporeal remainders of different kinds, from a variety of theoretical perspectives, have also emerged into the cultural landscape of our late modernity.
We encourage contributions from scholars working in this wide arena of cultural, literary and scientific discourses, and who are engaging with, developing, or, at times, challenging a ‘material turn’ or ‘turn to matter’ in their various fields of research. We invite papers that explore the discursive construction of matter, the circulation of objects and the ‘social life’ of things (cf. Appadurai), but also, from a different angle, things and the Thing(s) which may help us read matter beyond the paradigms of empiricism. We are interested in re-opening the question of the ‘matter’ of materialism.
The fertile interplay and mutual interpellation between materiality as ineradicable opacity and the ‘spectral dimension’ which can be seen (most notably in Derrida) as affecting matter could, in our view, be a fruitful site for a cultural debate open to specialists in the study of Anglophone literature, language, media and culture. Contributions are invited on a range of topics concerning matter and material culture, which might include, but are not restricted to:
• the ‘materiality’ of material culture
• the materialism of consumer culture
• systems, collections, and the display of material culture
• the poetics of the material fragment
• thing theory and its applications/applicability
• transience and durability
• waste/land(s), garbage, residues
• ghostly matters/bodies that matter
• objects and abjection
Detailed proposals (500-1,000 words) for articles of c. 5-6,000 words, as well as all inquiries regarding this issue, should be sent to both guest editors: Maurizio Calbi at and Marilena Parlati at .
The deadline for proposals is 13 November 2009, with delivery of completed essays by 31 March 2010. The issue will appear in 2011.