CfP: Popular Culture in East-Central Europe before WWI

Filozoficka falkulta_Karlova univerzitaPopular Culture in East-Central Europe before WWI

Prague, Czech Republic
October 24, 2014
Deadline for submitting abstracts: September 10, 2014

The aim of the workshop is to discuss the development of early mass-mediated popular culture in the East-Central European region and its significance for revealing fundamental social and political changes that took place at the turn of the 20th century.

During the 19th century industrialization and urbanization contributed to profound changes in the development of culture. Improvement in printing technology allowed the emergence and rapid development of mass media. Urbanization came accompanied by the fast movement of people from the countryside to the big cities, which disrupted many cultural traditions and thus left a new mass of people in need of a new culture to match their new lives. A significant portion of the new urban masses were able to profit from the Industrial Revolution and formed a new stratum demanding a new culture that the new economy alone provided them with the means to pursue. The democratic revolution helped ensure an increase in education and leisure time, which were equally necessary. Another important factor became a heightened interest in public affairs due to people’s changed political roles. Culture ceased to belong to the elite alone and gradually became accessible to other classes. This led to a democratization of culture during the 19th century. Mass media formed a channel which enabled the expansion and extension of popular culture from its earlier forms.

Existing studies, such as those by Fritzsche (1996), Kulmiński (2009), Short (2003) and Wood (2010) indicate that these processes developed in Central Europe at the turn of the 20th century, when global patterns of mass mediated popular culture were adapted to address the Central European audience, its specific local beliefs, values and desires.
Eligible topics
We are looking for papers addressing various aspects and phenomena of production, distribution, reception as well as different forms and contests of popular culture during the Fin de Siècle period (or earlier) in East-Central Europe.

We would like the papers to touch upon processes of adaption and the blending of global patterns, the creation of new forms, the comparison of local forms, production case studies as well as the reception or content analysis of local popular phenomena. Topics of proposed papers can include the discussion of various media, forms, genres and consumption practices such as those regarding popular newspapers and magazines, dime novels, popular theatre and varietés (music halls), brass music and other forms of popular music, music records, film screenings, sport events, leisure activities, consumption patterns and others.
Keynote speaker
Nathaniel D. Wood, University of Kansas
Guidelines for submission
Working languages of the workshop will be English and Czech
Please send your abstract (no more than 150 words) and a short bio to: Jakub Machek, by 10.9.2014.

Accommodation will be arranged and paid for by the workshop organizers.

Conference proceedings will be published on a project-related website (authors will be remunerated for their contribution).
Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague
Information & contacts
Jakub Machek
Department of Czech and Comparative Literature, Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague

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