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Genre and innovation: What is a new genre? Carolyn R. Miller North Carolina State University 1 September 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "Genre and innovation: What is a new genre? Carolyn R. Miller North Carolina State University 1 September 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 Genre and innovation: What is a new genre? Carolyn R. Miller North Carolina State University 1 September 2008

2 where Im going … genres in the mass media new genres in the mass media models of genre change thinking more broadly about genre thinking more deeply about genre



5 List of Video Game Genres (partial)




9 Get Fuzzy 31 March 2008

10 Frazz

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13 A. O. Scott, 22 May 2008

14 Microgenres YouTube redefin[ed] … broadcast success from having giant audiences for blockbuster content to having a giant inventory of videos that each satisfy arcane, niche interests … Users create microgenres and niches by posting answering images: the shrieking-kid- with-toy genre, the cats-being-mean genre, the speed-painting genre. Virginia Heffernan, New York Times Magazine, 6 July 2008.


16 Genre has consequences Margaret Jones, Love and Consequences, a heart-wrenching memoir (New York Times) Misha Defonseca, A Mémoire of the Holocaust Years, international bestseller in 18 languages memoir or fiction?




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25 Yellowstone: Your Complete Guide to the Park (American Park Network, 2008).


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31 Non Sequitur, by Wiley Miller, 19 May 2008

32 Secret Asian Man

33 Sample of New Genre Claims 198919972007 luxury laundry US (business) pet cinema Australia (film) eco-holistic spa Canada (business) advertising cinema US (tv) serious electronica Canada (music) financial thriller UK (book) anaesthetic novel UK (fiction) sportsmans agent Australia (employee) bailout blog US (blog) MTV movie US (soundtrack) friendship-adventure US (computer game) interconnected nature writing UK (book) saint snow domes US (souvenir) downsizing thriller Canada (book) animation–special effects US (film) from Lexis/Nexis US and world news databases

34 Naming new genres Beirut mastermind Zach Condon traffics in a new genre that could be called poignant ballroom cabaret pop. NPR: Liz Losh, a rhetorician at the University of California at Irvine, notes that theres now a genre of videos that combine cheating advice with a do-it-yourself aesthetic.

35 Naming new genres With his signature calligraphic arms and hip gyrations, Goh … created an entirely new genre and claimed it for his own. Joanne Lee, Straits Times (Singapore), 29 Sept. 1997. The spa is billed as "a new genre of wellness spas, combining the elements of a traditional spa setting with the safety and superior clinical expertise of the medical profession. Judy Gerstel, Toronto Star, 29 March 2007.

36 Naming new genres Gone are the days when music was pushed kicking and biting into a few boxes -- ie: rock 'n' roll, pop, country, crunk etc. Now music mags are dripping with pencil-shaped-pant- wearing music geeks conjuring up new ways to describe music genres faster than my imaginary country guy could plough a paddock. Vicki Anderson, Christchurch (NZ) Press, 7 December 2007.

37 Naming new genres The author discusses how frustrating it was for him to come up with a good title, because this hot new genre does not have a better label than "nonfiction. Anne Trubek, Chronicle Review, 4 July 2008.

38 Naming new genres The written interpretation of this feeling, the stories, adventures and personalities involved with the place that generates this northness, is a genre, a class or category of artistic endeavour, but it has no name. It is largely unrecognized, not heard, the Cassandra of literature. Joan Skelton, Toronto Globe & Mail, 8 January 2008.

39 Social bookmarks @ Diigo Collection of genre mentions in mass media from 2007, 2008 Groups = genre news; owner = Anna Turnage

40 Genre change: evolution Diachronic change: relatedness, continuity Synchronic variation: alternate forms Fitness: differential survival

41 Genre change: thermodynamics Susan Wells, Temple University formalist approach explains genre death but not birth or change?

42 Thinking more broadly … multiple domains of discourse multiple disciplines multiple national traditions

43 How communities own genres marketed genres: cultural need cultural need: what survives, what sells administered genres: imposed exigence imposed exigence: what suits those in power institutional genres: tradition tradition: what serves complex relationships vernacular genres: cultural need cultural need: what satisfies, pleases

44 Thinking more deeply … Social theory: typification, structuration, habitus Rhetorical theory: decorum, piety about stability and recurrence

45 Decorum the fittingness of form to action to exigence extrinsic: accommodation of discourse to context intrinsic: accommodation of substance, form, and style to each other

46 New project … Online Academic Resource (OAR) Multidisciplinary International Dynamic Types of content: edited, managed, peer-reviewed, user-generated

47 Functionality searching sorting browsing tagging commenting data visualization user logins & profiles tracking hits and users

48 Coverage Bibliography: categories, tags, comments Definitions Models of change Introductions to disciplinary approaches Glossary / index News, both academic and vernacular

49 Benefits enable scholar-networking provide comprehensive overview promote interaction and innovation connect scholarly and vernacular conversations catalyze pedagogical improvement

50 Thanks to … Anna Turnage, doctoral student in Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media, NC State University, who collected the database information. Susan Miller-Cochran, Department of English, NC State University, who suggested

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