[artinfo] (fwd) Defining Genre conference

Sugar Janos sj@c3.hu
Wed, 12 Dec 2001 22:44:53 +0100

From: martin lefebvre <lefebvre@VAX2.CONCORDIA.CA>
Subject: Defining Genre conference

The Canadian Semiotic Association will be having its annual conference in
Toronto May 26-27-28 2002.

Defining genres
Genres offer ways of categorizing forms of experience - be it the
production or reception of works of art. Since all thinking involves a
process of "sorting out" and synthesis, genres could be considered the
result of a "natural phenomenon." Whether prescriptive or descriptive,
genre requires selecting certain features that works of art "possess" :
modes of address and aspects of plot (as in Aristotle's Poetics),
iconographic characteristics (in film and painting), certain intended
responses (e.g., the horror film, the melodrama, comedy, pornography, etc).
In each case a selection must be made, since one cannot describe a genre by
considering all aspects of works of art. Initial questions concern the
basis of this selection : What are the traits considered pertinent for the
generic classification of works of art (i.e., what are the boundaries of
genre)? On what basis ? How have these traits changed over historical
periods (in cinema, for instance, several genres from the early silent days
are said to have disappeared: have they really ? or has our understanding
of film - and of what constitutes a pertinent generic trait - changed ?)
What is the degree of generality of such traits ? A second set of questions
concerns the ontological and metaphysical status of genre : are genres
"real" or are they "mere" words by which we arbitrarily designate
discursive objects ? Should they be considered as a "language game"
(Wittgenstein) ? These are just a few of the question this panel seeks to
discuss as it attempts to engage with artistic genres in film, literature,
and all of the other arts.

150-300 words paper proposals should be sent (e-mail or snail mail) by
Friday March 15 2002 to the attention of :
Martin Lefebvre
Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema
Concordia University
FB 319
1455 de Maisonneuve, West
Montreal (Quebec), CanadaH3G 1M8