"The Age of Sharing? Practices of Sharing in Contemporary Literature, Media and Culture"
Abstr. due: 15.06.2018
Dates: 20.03.19 — 22.03.19
Organizing comittee e-mail: [email protected]
Organizers: University of Koblenz Landau, Germany / Protestant Academy of the Palatinate area
The concept of sharing has become pervasive in the 21st century. We are encouraged to ‘share’ our digital data (e.g. facebook) and to participate in the ‘sharing industry’ (e.g. Airbnb, carsharing). Moreover, popular self-help literature emphasizes that we should develop healthy intimate relationships through sharing or disclosing our innermost thoughts and feelings. While these are quite diverse practices, the concept of ‘sharing’ emphasizes a link, endowing them with a positive value. This extraordinary career of the concept ‘sharing’ has led sociologists such as Nicholas John to dub our contemporary time as an ‘age of sharing’. In recent political debates, the perils of sharing have come to take centre stage, as shown, for instance, by the fierce struggles over data protection (made even more urgent in light of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data leaks) and labour laws in the sharing economy. Critics also argue that the ‘sharing self’ often takes the form of a ‘quantified self’: a self that is measured by and understood through numbers. Big data is used to map the identity of individuals (e.g. consumption habits, credit worthiness). The ongoing controversy on sharing illustrates how closely concepts and practices of sharing are tied to seminal shifts in sociocultural and medial landscapes. This interdisciplinary conference aims to explore key concepts of ‘sharing’ in contemporary culture and the cultural work that these concepts fulfil. Of particular interest is the contribution of contemporary literature, media and the arts to critical discussions of ‘sharing’. In what way do representations of sharing in contemporary media and literature provide a new perspective on our understanding of ‘sharing‘? How may contemporary conceptualizations of sharing contribute to our understanding of new medial developments (e.g. theatre livecasts) or artistic-economic practices (e.g. new marketing strategies: book trailers in which the author shares personal or fake information about the writing process and/or his life to increase the impression of an intimate text)?
Topics for papers may include, but are not limited to:
- contemporary conceptualisations and critical assessments of ‘sharing’
- representations of sharing (e.g. as a human condition, as a social practice) in the arts and the media
- the use of ‘sharing’ as a concept to understand or analyse contemporary aesthetics and medial developments (e.g. theatre livecasts; sharing as a narrative technique in contemporary literature; present-day ideas of a shared literary history; the status of sharing different backgrounds in artistic collaborations to create ‘something new’)
- the history of self-marketing strategies in literature and art (with a focus on developments in the 21st century, e.g. book trailers as means for both authors and publishers to target audiences and for readers to share their favourite books with other readers, hence creating a ‘communal’ reading experience)
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