Cultural Enclosure and Literary Form conference

Friday, 30 September 2022, 10:00-18:00. 

University of Oxford, St. Cross Building (History of the Book Room)

Keynote: Dr Sharae Deckard (UCD)

Fees: £35 – Full Faculty member; £20 – students, virtual presenters, and non-presenting attendees


Cultural marketability – the marketability of place, heritage, and collective self-representation – is now a major economic force. As economies continue (unevenly) to transnationalise, culture and heritage industries have become a central pillar of development for diverse communities, ranging from cities to nations to ethnic groups. This is a double-edged sword: it deepens unequal dependencies upon external validation of cultural identity, particularly validation through consumer desire. But it also bears potential to mobilise and preserve important ‘strategic essentialisms’: to ‘help articulations of racial/ethnic/cultural identity survive’.[1] This conference seeks to investigate the links between cultural commodification, globalisation, and literary form. Taking as premise the notion that cultural commodification and literary texts share procedures of worldmaking and enclosure – the containment and arrangement of symbolic forms – the conference asks how literary form might productively interrogate cultural commodification projects. Join us for panel discussions on literary depictions of cultural commodification phenomena, including: tourism and heritage enterprises, ‘ethno-preneurialism’, culture festivals, and patenting of ‘cultural knowledge’. Does literary form reproduce the dimensions and boundaries of the ‘worlds’ envisioned in such projects? Or does it challenge them? 

[1] Keith Hollinshead, ‘Tourism and New Sense Worldmaking and the Enunciative Value of Tourism’, in Tourism and Postcolonialism : Contested Discourses, Identities and Representations, ed. by Colin Michael Hall and Hazel Tucker (London: Taylor & Francis Group, 2004), p. 7. 


cultural enclosure programme poster