DEPARTMENTAL RESEARCH SEMINAR: WEDNESDAY 11 NOVEMBER

‘The Avant-Garde’s Alternative Professionalism’

Professor David Cottington
(Kingston University)

Wednesday 11 November, 4:10 pm
Barber Institute Lecture Theatre

‘For a field of scholarly research that has experienced unprecedented expansion and development in the last decade, avant-garde studies is bedevilled by a surprising amount of confusion. After a hundred years of its increasingly ubiquitous currency, uncertainty over the definition even of its key term remains, at the most basic level. Thus, for instance, a slippage between the use of ‘avant-garde’ as a noun (the socio-cultural formation) and as an adjective (the qualities that define its common practices and characterise their products) that can be found in most discussions of it, with the result that the fundamental distinction between them is ignored. Moreover scholars of the avant-gardes have tended either towards the history of the formation or the theory of its ideology—when what is needed is an understanding which holds both in view at once. This paper is a resume of such an approach, which situates both in relation to the professionalisation of western societies over the last century and a half, but also grounds them in a concept of a professionalism alternative and oppositional to that of mainstream cultural practices.’

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Refreshments served

All Welcome!

Enquiries to Sara Tarter: SET497@student.bham.ac.uk

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