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Things Done Change

The Cultural Politics of Recent Black Artists in Britain

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Eddie Chambers

1980s Britain witnessed the brassy, multifaceted emergence of a new generation of young, Black-British artists. Practitioners such as Sonia Boyce and Keith Piper were exhibited in galleries up and down the country and reviewed approvingly. But as the 1980s generation gradually but noticeably fell out of favour, the 1990s produced an intriguing new type of Black-British artist. Ambitious, media-savvy, successful artists such as Steve McQueen, Chris Ofili, and Yinka Shonibare made extensive use of the Black image (or, at least, images of Black peo¬ple, and visuals evocative of Africa), but did so in ways that set them apart from earlier Black artists. Not only did these artists occupy the curatorial and gallery spaces nominally reserved for a slightly older generation but, with aplomb, audacity, and purpose, they also claimed previously unimaginable new spaces. Their successes dwarfed those of any previous Black artists in Britain. Back-to-back Turner Prize victories, critically acclaimed Fourth Plinth commissions, and no end of adulatory media attention set them apart.
What happened to Black-British artists during the 1990s is the chronicle around which Things Done Change is built. The extraordinary changes that the profile of Black-British artists went through are dis¬cussed in a lively, authoritative, and detailed narrative. In the evolving history of Black-British artists, many factors have played their part. The art world’s turning away from work judged to be overly ‘political’ and ‘issue-based’; the ascendancy of Blair’s New Labour government, determined to locate a bright and friendly type of ‘diversity’ at the heart of its identity; the emergence of the precocious and hegemonic yBa grouping; governmental shenanigans; the tragic murder of Black Londoner Stephen Lawrence – all these factors and many others underpin the telling of this fascinating story.
Things Done Change represents a timely and important contribution to the building of more credible, inclusive, and nuanced art histories. The book avoids treating and discussing Black artists as practitioners wholly separate and distinct from their counterparts. Nor does the book seek to present a rosy and varnished account of Black-British artists. With its multiple references to Black music, in its title, several of its chapter headings, and citations evoked by artists themselves, Things Done Change makes a singular and compelling narrative that reflects, as well as draws on, wider cultural mani¬festations and events in the socio-political arena.

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Edited by Walter Bernhart and Werner Wolf

The present volume meets a frequently expressed demand as it is the first collection of all the relevant essays and articles which Steven Paul Scher has written on Literature and Music over a period of almost forty years in the field of Word and Music Studies. Scher, The Daniel Webster Professor of German and Comparative Literature at Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, USA, is one of the founding fathers of Word and Music Studies and a leading authority in what is in the meantime a well-established intermedial field. He has published very widely in a variety of journals and collections of essays, which until now have not always been easy to lay one’s hands on. His work covers a wide range of subjects and comprises theoretical, methodological and historical studies, which include discussions of Ferruccio Busoni, Thomas Mann, Bertolt Brecht, Judith Weir, the Talking Heads and many others and which pay special attention to E. T. A. Hoffmann and German Romanticism. The range and depth of these studies have made him the ‘mastermind’ of Word and Music Studies who has defined the basic aims and objectives of the discipline. This volume is of interest to literary scholars and musicologists as well as comparatists and all those concerned about the rapidly expanding field of Intermedia Studies.

Word and Music Studies

Essays in Honor of Steven Paul Scher and on Cultural Identity and the Musical Stage

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Edited by Suzanne M. Lodato, Suzanne Aspden and Walter Bernhart

The eighteen interdisciplinary essays in this volume were presented in 2001 in Sydney, Australia, at the Third International Conference on Word and Music Studies, which was sponsored by The International Association for Word and Music Studies (WMA). The conference celebrated the sixty-fifth birthday of Steven Paul Scher, arguably the central figure in word and music studies during the last thirty-five years. The first section of this volume comprises ten articles that discuss, or are methodologically based upon, Scher’s many analyses of and critical commentaries on the field, particularly on interrelationships between words and music. The authors cover such topics as semiotics, intermediality, hermeneutics, the de-essentialization of the arts, and the works of a wide range of literary figures and composers that include Baudelaire, Mallarmé, Proust, T. S. Eliot, Goethe, Hölderlin, Mann, Britten, Schubert, Schumann, and Wagner. The second section consists of a second set of papers presented at the conference that are devoted to a different area of word and music studies: cultural identity and the musical stage. Eight scholars investigate – and often problematize – widespread assumptions regarding ‘national’ and ‘cultural’ music, language, plots, and production values in musical stage works. Topics include the National Socialists’ construction of German national identity; reception-based examinations of cultural identity and various “national” opera styles; and the means by which composers, librettists, and lyricists have attempted to establish national or cultural identity through their stage works.

Word and Music Studies: Defining the Field

Proceedings of the First International Conference on Word and Music Studies at Graz, 1997

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Edited by Walter Bernhart, Steven Paul Scher and Werner Wolf

The nineteen interdisciplinary essays assembled in WORD AND MUSIC STUDIES I were first presented in 1997 at the founding conference of the International Association for Word and Music Studies (WMA) in Graz, Austria. Diverse in subject matter, theoretical orientation, critical approach, and interpretive strategy, they share a keen scholarly interest in contemporary word-music reflection. Registering the impact of cultural studies on word-music relations, as manifested in the 'new musicology' and other 'historicist' approaches, the volume aims to assess the entire field of word and music studies, to define its subject, objectives, and methodology and to describe the field's state of the art. Within the broader context of generic, structural, performative, and ideological considerations concerning the manifold interrelations between literature and music, contributors explore wide-ranging topics, such as the vexing question of terminology (e.g. 'word and music', 'melopoetics', 'interart', 'intermedial', 'transmedial'); inquiry into the meaning, narrative potential, and verbalization of music; analysis of texted music (the Lied and opera) and instrumental music; and discussion of individual issues (e.g. 'ekphrasis', 'musicalization of fiction', 'word music', and 'verbal music') and interart loanwords (e.g. 'narrativity', 'counterpoint', and 'leitmotif').

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Catriona Firth

For decades postwar Austrian literature has been measured against and moulded into a series of generic categories and grand cultural narratives, from nostalgic ‘restoration’ literature of the 1950s through the socially critical ‘anti- Heimat’ novel to recent literary reckonings with Austria’s Nazi past. Peering through the lens of film adaptation, this book rattles the generic shackles imposed by literary history and provides an entirely new critical perspective on Austrian literature. Its original methodological approach challenges the primacy of written sources in existing scholarship and uses the distortions generated by the shift in medium as a productive starting point for literary analysis. Five case studies approach canonical texts in post-war Austrian literature by Gerhard Fritsch, Franz Innerhofer, Gerhard Roth, Elfriede Jelinek, and Robert Schindel, through close readings of their cinematic adaptations, concentrating on key areas of narratological concern: plot, narrative perspective, authorship, and post-modern ontologies. Setting the texts within the historical, cultural and political discourses that define the ‘Alpine Republic’, this study investigates fundamental aspects of Austrian national identity, such as its Habsburg and National Socialist legacies.