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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 and 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.