MSA 18
November 17-20, 2016
Pasadena, California
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Welcome to Pasadena

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Brecht, “Contemplating Hell”: “On thinking about Hell, I gather My brother Shelley found it was a place Much like the city of London. I Who live in Los Angeles and not in London Find, on thinking about Hell, that it must be Still be more like Los Angeles.”

Once described by John Sutherland as a “small, genteel western town,” Pasadena is a city in Los Angeles County with a population of 139,000. It is known for its sun, science, and sport, which includes the Tournament of Roses Parade, first organized by the Valley Hunt Club to show off its rose blooms and horses. Long before that, Pasadena was home to the Hahamogna Tribe, and the San Gabriel Mission, which was established in 1771. Two hundred years later, the California Institute of Technology was built, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a research and development center of NASA, soon followed.

Pasadena also has a reputation for its modern architecture, and includes a variety of post-and-beam, Craftsman, mid-century houses, including the Gamble House of Greene and Greene and Frank Lloyd Wright’s concrete textile-block house he referred to affectionately as “La Miniatura.”

Modern Art Collections are housed at the Norton Simon Museum, Pacific Asia Museum, the Pasadena Museum of History, and the Pasadena Museum of California Art. There are also many cultural institutions nearby, including the Getty Center, The Hammer Museum, The Huntington Library, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Natural History Museum. Needless to say, Pasadena is home to a thriving cultural community, which makes it the perfect location to host this year’s Modernist Conference.

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MSA 18, Culture Industries, will be held at the Westin Pasadena hotel, situated with a great view of the San Gabriel Mountains and, on a clear, smog-free day, Downtown LA. The Westin is centrally located, so MSAers will be in walking distance to many of the local attractions, including historic Old Pasadena. For those who want to visit to nearby attractions in Los Angeles, public transportation is available on the Metro commuter train if you want to venture out (and the nearest Metro station is walking distance from the hotel). The Westin offers shuttle services to local destinations and cultural sites.

We recommend flying into Bob Hope Airport (BUR), which is about twenty minutes from the hotel, or Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), which is about forty minutes from the hotel. Be sure to arrange transportation from the airport; some options include taxi, private car services, and shuttle services (Westin recommends SuperShuttle), all of which are available at both airports.

For more detailed information on transportation options, be sure to check out Westin’s website.

Conference Theme

The term “culture industries” may have been coined almost a century ago, but it remains as relevant as ever and provides the theme for the 2016 MSA annual conference in Pasadena, California. New modes of cultural production and consumption continue to inform our everyday lives, and they are increasingly shaped by the presence of innovative transport, communication, and media technologies. If distances are shrinking as a result, we need to continue addressing how the concepts of urban/regional, national/transnational, local/global cultures are getting redefined in the process. Southern California is an ideal site for such an exercise: once the capital of a monolithic culture industry reviled by Theodor Adorno, it has remained a lively nexus for an ethnically diverse population that encourages the proliferation of cultures in the plural. An ongoing challenge, then, involves the close examination of how the very concept of culture is increasingly bound up with new ways of thinking about old distinctions between high and low, serious and popular, aesthetics and form, politics and identity, self and other, human and machine.