>***CALL FOR PAPERS**********************************************
>VOX POP: Locating and Constructing the "Voice of the People"
>6th Annual University of South Carolina Comparative Literature Conference
>26-28 February, 2004
>Columbia, SC, U.S.A.
>Building from a millennia-old maxim--the voice of the people is the
>voice of God--the desire to locate, fabricate, and appropriate the
>vox populi has been especially pervasive for at least the last two
>centuries. What defines this voice of the people? Is it a voice
>charged with lore from the ancient past or one as new as today's
>poll numbers? How is it mediated: who speaks on behalf of the
>"grass roots," "the American people," the "Arab street"? The
>concept can challenge authority, promoting populist subversions of
>hierarchy (carnival, protest, revolution), yet it also feeds an
>age-old temptation to construct a monologic Voice of a monolithic
>People, silencing heterogeneous, dialogic voices. Whether sought in
>man-on-the-street interviews, the "voices of the People in song"
>(for Herder these included everyone from Homer, to Shakespeare, to
>Ossian), or contemporary advertising trends, the consensus of
>popular sentiment remains as elusive (and deceptive) an ideal as
>The VOX POP conference will consider the multitudes of peoples and
>voices that have come under the heading of vox populi, from the
>ancient populus or hoi polloi to the various "Peoples" of modern
>nationalism (das Volk, le peuple, narod), and from folksong to
>political discourse to "the writing on the wall." The conference
>invites a wide-ranging interrogation of the idea of the voice of the
>people by scholars from a range of fields.
>A few possible points of orientation and approaches:
>* populisms: literary, political, religious, etc.
>* lines of transmission: "through the grapevine," via writers,
>politicians, and prophets, or--if the voice is
>silent/silenced--through transformations into other forms of
>expression (literature "written for the drawer," graffiti, visual
>* national and ethnic identity; heritage as tradition or invention
>* issues of (dis)enfranchisement, literature and democracy,
>representation in government
>* questions of power and authority: what gives the vox pop legitimacy?
>* information technologies and the ways they have inflected ideas of
>* relations between ideas of "gender" and "the people"
>* "pop," folk, and country music, jazz and blues, "world" music, etc.
>* modalities/tone/intonation of the vox pop: appealing, commanding,
>* orality/literacy, national epics (authentic or fabricated)
>Keynote Speaker: Russell A. Berman is Walter A. Haas Professor in
>the Humanities at Stanford University (German Studies and
>Comparative Literature). He specializes in the study of German
>literary history and cultural politics and is the author of numerous
>articles and award-winning books, including Enlightenment or Empire:
>Colonial Discourse in German Culture, The Rise of the Modern German
>Novel: Crisis and Charisma, and Cultural Studies of Modern Germany:
>History, Representation and Nationhood.
>Plenary Speaker: Morag Shiach is Professor of Cultural History in
>the School of English and Drama, Queen Mary, University of London.
>Her research is interdisciplinary, drawing on theoretical approaches
>and research methodologies from literary studies, cultural studies,
>history, and political theory. Her publications include Modern
>Labour: Modernism, Labour and Selfhood in British Literature and
>Culture, 1890-1930; Hélène Cixous: A Politics of Writing; Discourse
>on Popular Culture: Class, Gender and History in Cultural Analysis
>1730 to the Present; several edited volumes; and numerous articles.
>Affiliated Round-Table: "The Voice of the People in the 2004
>Primaries," moderated by Charles Bierbauer, Dean of the College of
>Mass Communications and Information Studies at the University of
>South Carolina. A distinguished broadcast journalist, Bierbauer was
>for twenty years a correspondent for CNN in Washington, where he
>covered the Supreme Court, the Bush and Reagan administrations and
>the presidential campaigns from 1984-96. From 1977-81, he was an
>overseas correspondent for ABC News, first as Moscow Bureau Chief
>and later as the Bonn Bureau chief.
>Abstracts: Please send one-page abstracts for twenty-minute papers
>to the conference organizers, Judith Kalb and Alexander Ogden,
>Comparative Literature Program, Humanities Building, Columbia, SC
>29208, or e-mail them to [log in to unmask] Broadly interdisciplinary
>presentations are encouraged. We plan to publish a volume of
>selected papers from the conference. Updated conference information
>will be available on the web at
>Deadline for proposals: 30 September 2003
>Dr. J. Alexander Ogden
>Assistant Professor of Russian
>Graduate Advisor, Program in Comparative Literature
>Dept of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
>University of South Carolina
>Columbia, SC 29208
>(803) 777-9573; fax: (803) 777-0454