Audience(s) - Spring 2014

Scholarship, art, writing, and performance pre-suppose an audience. Conversely, many of the sources and evidence that lead to these productions (whether physical, visual, or textual) were created with an audience in mind. Of course social interactions such as marriage, politics, and judicial interventions likewise pre-suppose an audience and may be open to the same dynamic. The CFH theme “Audience(s)” asks us to explore the phenomena of the audience from multiple perspectives. How does audience shape the form and function of our work? Is the desire to reach a wider audience consistent with our academic or artistic goals? How should we reflect on the relation of intellectuals to their audience or audiences in general? What can the audience tell us about past or present works of scholarship, theater, music, politics or art? Does the audience shape the work and intention of the author or is the reception by the audience the moment where meaning happens?  In what ways are we able to understand either the intended or actual audience for a work?  What effect do existing normative practices have on the role of audience in respect to those who do not conform to them (i.e. those who do not conform to existing conventions of masculine or feminine for instance)? In addition we are eager to explore the ways in which audience behavior is changing in the new media environment and the ethical and social ramifications associated with measuring audience behavior on new media platforms.  How might an understanding of multiple audiences help or complicate the issues raised above?