​​​​​​2016 ISSEI conference 

The University of Lodz, Poland

Our global, digital, and turbocharged world is continuing to challenge and erase a number of traditional cultural divisions, beginning with the tired binary of “highbrow” and “lowbrow”. These phrenology-based tiers of cultural experience and hierarchy are incapable of describing the complexity and eclecticism of contemporary cultural productions. We live—and have been living for a long time—in the age of nobrow, a cultural formation that intertwines art and entertainment into a new, complex, yet identifiable mode of cultural practice.

   Until now the historical nature, aesthetic complexity, and social significance of nobrow “artertainment” have escaped sustained critical analysis. Scrutinizing the many faces of nobrow from both national and transnational, historical and analytical, literary and interdisciplinary perspectives, this session intends to throw light on the hazards and rewards of cultural traffic between high entertainment and genre art exemplified by the increasingly borderless and eclectic Europe.

      Nobrow culture, as highlighted in the only sustained critical study of the phenomenon From Lowbrow to Nobrow (2005), is a matter of deliberate creative strategy that seeks to situate itself outside the high-, middle-, and lowbrow divisions. Nobrow embraces both the artistic strategies of high culture and the genre aesthetics of popular art, combining into a distinct cultural formation which champions the crossover aesthetics and cultural politics of “artertainment.”

      Situating itself in the slowly emerging field of nobrow studies, this workshop is intended as a collaborative attempt to map a cultural formation that cuts across canonical and popular, highbrow and lowbrow, and art and entertainment in the name of understanding the complex ways in which these inform and enrich each other in today’s Europe and beyond. 

Please send a 350-500 word  abstract before March 31, 2016 to Peter Swirski, swirskip@mail.sysu.edu.cn

​Chair: Peter Swirski
SYSU, U of Alberta, Silesian U

Workshop: No Brows, No Borders