CFP: Vernacular Knowledge in Comparative Contexts

CCLA annual meeting

May 28-30 • Calgary

The term “vernacular” is a highly unstable term that has been mobilized in many contexts but not always consistently. Scholars refer to vernacular language (eg. Dante or James Baldwin); vernacular sub- or counter-culture (eg. the “ancestral matrix” of oral and aural culture in spirituals, ballads, work songs, the blues, and folk tales); vernacular cosmopolitanism (Bhabha); vernacular cinematic modernism (Hansen); synthetic vernacular writing (Hart); and vernacular architecture. Respecting the differences among these ideas, this panel will ask how the category of the vernacular can shed light on a range of experiences and practices in contemporary culture (from literature to popular culture to the avant-garde to architecture and cinema), and what it can tell us about what Ralph Ellison described as “the ongoing task of naming, defining and creating a consciousness of who and what we have come to be.”

Possible topics include but are not restricted to:

  • The vernacular as the language one learns at home (Dante)

  • Vernacular cultural practices: language, poetry, jazz and blues, folk cultures

popular and mass culture

  • Vernacular architecture; embeddedness in place, use of local materials

  • Vernacular as homemade; thinking as ‘handicraft’ (Heidegger)

  • Wandering thoughts and travelling theory

  • Global flows of persons and things from and within communities

  • The native or domestic versus the global cosmopolitanism

Please email 250 word abstracts and a 50 word biography to Aleksandra.bida@ryerson.ca and Monique.tschofen@ryerson.ca by November 20 2015. Applicants will be notified by November 27th so that they may apply to the general pool of papers if we do not accept their paper.