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The International Society for the Study of European Ideas 14th conference: "Images of Europe: Past, Present, and Future" (Porto, Portugal)

Posted By Peter Zazzali, University of Kansas, Saturday, November 30, 2013

CFP for the International Society for the Study of European Ideas 2014 conference, "Images of Europe: Past, Present, and Future,” hosted at the Universidade Católica Portugeusa in Porto, Portugal (August 4-8).

 For more on the conference, see


Workshop Title: In Search of Adorno’s Legacy in Performance Theory and Practice  

Chairs: Peter Zazzali, University of Kansas, USA

and David Garfinkle, MacEwan University, Canada 

Theodor W. Adorno is widely regarded as one of the twentieth century’s premiere thinkers in the areas of cultural criticism, aesthetic theory, philosophy, Marxism, and the sociology of culture, among others.  A trained musician, his scholarship demonstrates an unusual balance of intellectualism and artistry, a combination that distinguishes his work from many other theorists.  Whether addressing the so-called "culture industry’s” commodified degradation of art or applying a dialectical analysis to defend modernism, Adorno can be seen as a pioneer in the reciprocal critique of art and society.  

Is his work, however, relevant today?  Moreover, what does it mean for performance scholars and practitioners?  Many respected theorists have dismissed Adorno as an elitist whose attacks on popular culture constitute an oversimplified argument arrogantly and negatively condemning the consumption of artistic goods.  A smaller chorus of supporters, such as J.M. Bernstein and Martin Jay, has posited his work as a nuanced and prescient critique of aesthetics in the context of capitalism.  In keeping with ISSEI’s conference theme for 2014, this workshop will explore the "Past, Present, and Future” of Adorno’s cultural criticism, with particular attention given to its relevance for performance.  This working session therefore welcomes paper submissions that use Adorno’s oeuvre to address matters that could include—but are not limited to—topics such as the relationship between art and society, global capitalism’s impact on cultural production, the role of performance in the context of the culture industry, the distinctions between modernism and postmodernism, and numerous other possible subjects.  


Prospective contributors should submit a paper abstract of no more than 500 words to Dr. Peter Zazzali by 31 January 2014.  

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