YouTubeVimeo

Popular Culture(s)

The Research Group

What is popular culture? (How) does it differ from modern mass culture, pre-modern folk culture, and the culture of daily life? And what about the distinction between popular and élite culture(s)? What makes a cultural object popular? How is cultural popularity defined and what is it based on? Is it the culture of the "lower class(es)" as opposed to a supposedly representative élite culture monopolized by the ruling class, which may even be subverted by the former as a kind of subculture? In fact, the antithesis between popular "folk culture" and a bourgeois "high culture" ascribed to the élite, which frequently implies a presumption of mutual exclusiveness, can hardly be maintained, neither for the past nor for the present. Such labels are often assigned as a result of a conscious effort on the part of a self-confident intellectual "élite" to distinguish itself. The popular component of culture is rather more complex, and the boundaries between "popular" und "élite" elements are blurred.

more

The research group Popular Culture(s) deals with historical and contemporary expressions of popular and folk culture from an interdisciplinary perspective. Transcending disciplinary boundaries and fostering networking and collaboration on the research topic of "popular culture", it seeks to develop a new approach to the subject as well as expand and refine theories on popular culture.

Above all, we are interested in the interrelationship between elements defined as popular and non-popular in culture, language, literature, music and art, as well as in science and society. Popular and erudite speech, colloquial and standard language, electronic and pop music, popular fiction and literary classics, academic research and popular science are suitable examples. Who are the agents and recipients of popular culture? What are the representative functions and effects of popularity? What messages, cultural identities, values, ideas and ideologies are expressed, understood, and shaped? How does popular culture affect social interaction? What are the intellectual discourses, the political concepts, and the structures of social power and hegemony behind the contingent construction of certain texts, objects, or activities considered to be popular?

23.01.2020: diejungeakademie@LiteraturhausLeipzig

The Research Group Popular Culture(s), together with the Literaturhaus Leipzig e.V., will be kicking off the event series “diejungeakademie@” as part of the 20th anniversary of Die Junge Akademie in 2020.

Five researchers, and members of Die Junge Akademie would like to place the form of Antigone against the backdrop of political events and cultural trends in society, and, from a historical, philological, literary, and philosophical standpoint, ask the question: How is she still relevant today? Excerpts will be read aloud from Friedrich Hölderlins translation of Antigone (1804): reviled as they were written, to this day controversial, but powerfully spoken and now used more and more.

Picture: Antigone au chevet de Polynice (Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant). Photothèque Musée des Augustins, photo: Daniel Martin. Wikimedia Commons.


The myth of Antigone, who buried her dead brother despite a prohibition, still resonates today – whether as a loving sister, a figure of defiance, a symbol of feministic ideals, or as a reference point for questions of law and order. Such links to current issues can be seen particularly clear in the version from Greek poet Sophokles, in which a seemingly simple plot evokes a diversity of opposites that links the piece to the modern relationship between women and men, living and the dead, society and the individual, and the state and family. Equally diverse are the debates that take place between different receptions of the literature and within various scientific fields. 

Hölderlin-introduction and reading: Erik Schilling (LMU München)

Members of the podium: Michael Bies (FU Berlin), Eva Buddeberg (Universität Frankfurt), Christoph Lundgreen (Università di Pisa)

The event will be sponsored by the Cultural Foundation of the Free State of Saxony (Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen) and the Cultural Office of the City of Leipzig.

Admission is free of charge. Please register here.

 

Date
Thursday, 23rd of January, 2020
19:30-21:00

Venue
Literaturhaus Leipzig
Haus des Buches
Gerichtsweg 28
04103 Leipzig

2019: Workshop "The Birth of Theory out of Literature and Art"

On 12-13 October 2019, the Junge Akademie working group “Popular Culture(s)” met in Hamburg for a workshop on “The Birth of Theory out of Literature and Art”, organised and led by Michael Bies (FU Berlin) and Sebastian Matzner (King’s College London).

The workshop took its cue from the observation that influential theoretical works in the humanities but also in disciplines further afield, frequently engage with a relatively small number of literary texts and images as “touch stone” works for the theorisation that is undertaken. Examples include the role of Sophocles’ Oedipus the King for Freudian psychoanalytical theory, Derrida and Lacan’s work with Edgar Allen Poe’s The Purloined Letter, or recurrent engagements with Thucydides’ Peloponnesian War in theories of international relations.

 

The workshop consisted of a series of brief presentations by members of the working group that examined case studies for instances, where theories were developed by way of close engagement with works of literature and art, followed by a collective analysis of Herman Melville’s short story “Bartleby the Scrivener” in the light of a range of theoretical positions developed on the basis of a critical dialogue with this text. The discussions that followed the presentations centred on the questions: which characteristics of literary and visual works of art are central for their appeal to theoretical enquiry; how do such works of art give an impulse for theoretical reflections, and how are they themselves (and/or interpretations of them) affected in the process and as a consequence of such theorisation; and, how do such texts or images shape or seem to presuppose often vastly different and sometimes mutually exclusive theoretical positions?

After two days of lively, focused, and fruitful discussion, which not only pondered the relationship between theorisation and the works that incite theorisation, but also repeatedly turned to interrogating fundamental differentiations of critical categories and practices (such as between „theory“, „method“, „interpretation“, and „approach“), the working group now considers holding a follow-up workshop, which would concentrate on elucidating the various different roles and functions of literary and visual works of art in theoretical texts and debates.

2018: Workshop "Eaten? Food and memory..."

On 16 and 17 April 2018, the AG Popular Culture(s) hosted a workshop on the topic "Eaten? Food and Memory in the Literatures of the World". The articles were published by Neofelis in October 2019.

 

 
 
 
Recommend site