Conference: November 17th – 20th, 2016 (Nov. 17th: kick-off with a first keynote in the evening)
Confirmed Keynote Speaker: Alessandro Ferrara
While in academia the notion of authenticity has been increasingly discredited, it thrives as a label within popular discourses and for the marketing of cultural artefacts. Considering both practice and theory of cultural production, the planned conference aims at analyzing the paradoxical status of authenticity as well as its role for the construction of collective identities in a globalizing world of ever-increasing cultural flux.
On a very basic level, the label of the authentic suggests that a cultural product or artefact truthfully reflects the context from which it originates. Depending on the applied context, the emphasis might lie on the expression and reflection of an artist’s unique creativity, a culture’s supposedly historically evolved exclusive traits, or a collective’s shared experience. Recent approaches within the humanities have tended to be rather suspicious or downright dismissive of the concept. Especially feminist, deconstructivist, and postcolonial debates point out that the label of the authentic always is predicated on, and to some extent serves to mask, the construction of social realities, often reflecting hegemonial discourses and ideologies.
Scholars from all disciplines of the humanities and social sciences are invited to submit proposals which tackle issues either related to the following key questions or to other aspects pertinent to the study of the notion of authenticity.
- Under what conditions, by whom, and for whom is the concept of ‘authenticity’ deployed, rejected, or debated, and who profits from it?
- How can the lasting power of authenticity in cultural practice be explained?
- How do notions of authenticity differ regarding objects, subjects, and collectives?
- What might be the cornerstones of a cross-disciplinary methodology for examining the social function of the notion of ‘authenticity’ in both theoretical and pragmatic terms?
Please submit your proposal (300 – 500 words) as well as a short CV to Dr. Christina Cavedon at the University of Berne (email@example.com) by March 31st, 2016.
Center for Global Studies, University of Bern