CFP: Poor Taste and the Exclusionary Mechanisms of Cultural Consumption (Graduate Conference)

Deadline:  31 December 2016

University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California, USA

28 April 2017

“Taste classifies, and it classifies the classifier.”
– Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction

Cultural consumers are defined and classified by their taste. Through an evaluation of their choices and preferences, whether biologically or socially informed, taste functions as a mechanism of distinction and exclusion. Art and Architectural History has arguably been a cornerstone of this very tradition, disciplining bodies and senses in the formation of canons and cultural hierarchies. While taste is now widely accepted to be subjective and localized rather than universal, ideals of good taste and quality endure in both our disciplinary frameworks and institutional practices.

This symposium therefore aims to address the judgment of taste, and the agents and spaces involved in its creation and enforcement. We consider such questions as: Can terms like consumption, digestion, and indigestion provide useful metaphors or models for the processes by which cultural traditions and products are validated and/or dismissed? How has cultural consumption been designated as legitimate or alternatively illegitimate in various historical and cultural contexts? In the history of cultural consumption, how have poor taste and good taste proven to have both opposed and informed one another?
We welcome proposals from emerging scholars of all disciplinary backgrounds whose work engages with the themes of the conference.

Topics of Interest:
• The Performance of Distinction
• Decolonization of Taste
• The Spaces and Institutionalization of Judgment
• The Historical Construction of (Poor) Taste
• Craft, Camp, Kitsch, and the Popular Aesthetic
• Cultural Appropriation
• Studies of Foods and Foodways

We invite abstracts of 300 words or less and a 1-page CV to be sent to by December 31, 2016. (Inclusion of working title and images encouraged). Conference presentations will be 20 minutes. All participants will be notified by early February.

Please feel free to contact conference organizers J.V. Decemvirale and Maggie Mansfield at with any questions.