Sixth International Symposium on Comparative Culture

From Entertainment to Art: The Evolution of Cultural Practices
Sponsored by the Institute for Humanities Research, Kanagawa University
Organizers: Christian Ratcliff and Stefan Buchenberger

The Institute for Humanities Research at Kanagawa University will host this one-day symposium on the Yokohama campus of Kanagawa University on Saturday, June 18th, 2016. This will be the sixth in a series of annual symposia that bring together scholars from around the world to present work that is informed by approaches associated with the fields of cultural studies and comparative literature. To date more than forty specialists, affiliated with academic institutions in ten different countries, have at this venue engaged with themes that allow useful collaboration and exchange even between those who work in disparate fields, and who address very different materials, periods and regions.

For the sixth event in the series, the organizers have chosen to focus upon the rise of cultural practices. In every period of all cultural traditions, it is possible to find examples of practices whose value within the contemporary social economy rose significantly, as a result of processes that took place both gradually and suddenly. Cultural pursuits and cultural products that had previously been thought vulgar or frivolous, suitable only for certain classes or circumscribed consumption, unworthy of serious attention or even beneath contempt, were redefined and reconfigured in ways that made possible widespread appreciation, general respectability, and patronage by social elites. At this year’s event, presentations and discussions will focus on the conditions that make such moments of cultural uplift possible (or even inevitable), and the qualities that make certain practices eligible for transmutation. The number of possible examples, both historical and contemporary, is immense: How has the novel, once thought fit only for the amusement and titillation of women, come to be our dominant literary form? How is it that the results of such things as football matches and baseball games are now reported to us as news, alongside the transactions of nations and economies? What accounts for the appeal of manga and anime? We look forward to an event at which scholars from many academic disciplines – literature, history, film studies, art history, cultural studies, etc. – introduce their own examples of how cultural practices evolve.

For an overview of the event’s conception and theme, please see the symposium announcement.

For the titles of the symposium’s three sessions, names of presenters, titles of presentations and the event schedule please see the symposium schedule.

For abstracts of the presentations and introductory information about the presenters, please see the symposium program.

For directions to the Yokohama campus of Kanagawa University, please follow this link.

For more information, please contact the event co-organizers: