CFP: Celebrity and Glamour


Celebrity and Glamour
Friday, May 21st, 2010
University of California, Santa Barbara
Consortium for Literature, Theory and Culture

“Celebrity is the advantage of being known to people who we don’t know, and who don’t know us.” — Nicolas de Chamfort

What does it mean to think about ‘celebrity’ and ‘glamour’ in the contemporary moment? What are the parameters of these two concepts? What is the relationship between celebrity and glamour? Is contemporary celebrity distinct from ‘celebrity’ in previous historical moments and cultural contexts? Can we speak of political, literary, artistic or intellectual celebrity? How are Western/American discourses and images of celebrity and glamour exported and circulated throughout the global media economy? How do non-Western audiences and culture-makers absorb and/or contest these memes from inside or outside of that same economy?

With the huge worldwide social networking and media sharing platforms, the economic travails of older media (publishing, Hollywood, etc.), the increasing ubiquity of ‘reality’ television programming, the popularity of do-it-yourself celebrity gossip blogs, we seem to have reached a moment in which obscurity and celebrity are unstable notions whose dynamic relationship demands further inquiry.  Both celebrity and glamour–past and present–are in need of interrogation in relation to the ongoing discourses concerning representation, theory, networks, the body, gender, power, community and so on.

It is with this in mind that the Consortium for Literature, Theory and Culture at the University of California, Santa Barbara has chosen Celebrity and Glamour as the themes of this year’s CLTC conference, which seeks interventions from graduate student scholars around California that consider these notions in historical, literary, cultural, or aesthetic terms.

Paper topics may include but are not limited to: celebrity, glamour, stardom, fame, distraction, ’15 minutes’, new models of public visibility, visuality and visual culture, celebrity in history or literature, alternative constructions of celebrity, culturally specific celebrity, virtuosity, obscurity, technocelebrity, political celebrity, fandom, infamy, spectacle, gawking, political iconography, popular culture, media ecologies, the making of global celebrities, soft power in the form of glamour, empires of glamour or celebrity, etc.

Please send paper title and an abstract of no more than 300 words to

Paper title and abstract deadline: April 15th, 2010.

Click here or contact Allison Schifani ( for more information.

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  • Christian Esquevin March 29, 2010 02.35 pm

    A great subject for a consortium. It appears from the consortium description that celebrity, for all its changing dynamics, will receive most of the attention. Glamour is related but could certainly stand alone and is much more ethereal. In being described or pictured as glamorous, a certain “celebrity” status may ensue, but the visual perception is separate and can originate regardless of celebrity status. The aesthetics of glamour would be a very worthy topic and should not go unexplored – especially as a cultural construct within this discussion.

  • Kat March 29, 2010 06.14 pm

    Definitely! I think there are many angles from which a fashion scholar can use this consortium to develop their own research. I’m actually surprised they did not make more mention of fashion and body-related questions, because I feel these are essential parts of celebrity and notoriety. We look to celebrities for fashion inspiration, they provide the “palate” from which the ideal body is justified and we relish in their fashion misfortunes on and off the red carpet. Some people are celebrities for no other reason than because they “look good” (Daphne Guiness, Lauren Conrad, so on and so fourth). Many reality television shows are based around fashion and/or the body (Project Runway, The Biggest Loser), whatever happens to the winners once they have won? What about celebrity fashion lines – do they sell clothing because they are famous, or because their designs are quality purchases?

    In essence, we could make our own conference dedicated to this subject!

    All of those things popped into my head as soon as I saw this listing. I hope those involved in fashion studies take advantage of this opportunity and expose their work at such a fun and relevant venue.

  • Christian Esquevin March 30, 2010 12.34 pm

    Kat – This all sounds great. I’ll put the link into my blog


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