Fall 2014 Lecture Series - Call for Proposals

Celebrity and Its Discontents

From Helen of Troy to the Kardashian sisters, celebrities, or (in Joseph Roach’s definition) abnormally interesting people, have fascinated the public imagination over the centuries. This call for public lectures invites scholars and art practitioners across academic disciplines to consider why certain historical figures or fictional characters have possessed a special power to fascinate their public. Topics may include, but are not limited to,

·         What social, cultural, and economic factors have facilitated the production of specific celebrities?

·         How celebrity is performed, maintained, or policed?

·         How celebrity has been used in the service of various political ideologies (nationalism, interculturalism, etc.)?

·         How the historical emergence of specific media (print, film, radio, television, the internet, etc.) has contributed to our understanding of celebrity?

·         How celebrity may have contributed to the formation of subcultures and counter-publics through fan clubs, book clubs, etc.?

·         How celebrity has enabled social activism?

·         How celebrity shapes public perceptions of normal (or abnormal)?

·         How celebrity informs the differences between official histories and cultural memory?

·         How celebrity may produce bias in historical narratives?

We are looking for submissions that address a wide audience of academics and non-specialists. Please send your proposal to uwcps@u.washington.edu by May 1, 2014. Selected lecturers will receive a $500 honorarium.

The CPS Public Lecture Series seeks to initiate a dialogue about how performance shapes our public life by influencing our actions in the present and re-engaging how we think about the past.