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Buying America. Literature and Consumption in the 19th Century

An international conference held in conjunction with William Decker's DAAD Guest Professorship at the University of Paderborn's Department of English and American Studies

Tuesday, 12 June - Wednesday, 13 June, 2012;  University of Paderborn

Studies of consumption's cultural history tend to concentrate on 20th century mass consumerism. The conference "Buying America" shifts the focus back to the 19th century, a crucial period for consumer capitalism and its attendant literary representations. Papers by European and North American scholars explore the ways in which 19th century literature, itself an increasingly valuable commodity, portrayed consumer goods and practices and thereby participated in the negotiation of American norms, values, and ideologies.

Speakers:
(Paper abstracts)

  • Eva Boesenberg (HU Berlin): Sex and the City: Gender and Consumption in Late 19th Century Fiction
  • William Decker (Oklahoma State University / University of Paderborn): Consuming Europe: Daisy Miller and the Package Tour
  • Alexandra Ganser (University of Erlangen): Piratical Consumption and the Black Atlantic Critique of the Slave Economy in the Mid-19th Century
  • Katja Kanzler (University of Dresden): Discourses of Production and Consumption in New England 'Factory Girl' Literature
  • Simone Knewitz (University of Bonn): Conspicuous Consumption, Class Consciousness, and Constructions of the Public Sphere: Mass Culture in William Dean Howell's Realist Novels
  • Art Redding (York University, Toronto): Mark Twain and Mass Tourism
  • Christoph Ribbat (University of Paderborn): "Splendid Mammoth Pictorial Tour": James Presley Ball and African American Literary History
  • Nicole Schröder (University of Paderborn): The Business of Gender and Class in Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables
  • Klara-Stephanie Szlezák (University of Regensburg): Consuming the Sages of Concord: The Origins of American Literary Tourism in Concord, MA
  • Bärbel Tischleder (University of Göttingen): "Like Adam Taking the Apple": Shopping and Sentimental Possession in Stowe and Chopin

Panel Chairs:

  • Christoph Ehland (University of Paderborn)
  • Eric Erbacher (University of Münster)
  • Jarmila Mildorf (University of Paderborn)
  • Miriam Strube (University of Paderborn)
  • Merle Tönnies (University of Paderborn)


Conference funding generously supplied by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

Programm

Die Universität der Informationsgesellschaft