CfP: SEXUALITY, EROTICISM AND GENDER IN AUSTRIAN LITERATURE AND CULTURE. Annual Conference of the Modern Austrian Literature and Culture Association.
April 13-15, 2007, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
The planned conference intends to offer a varied selection and analysis of the discourses of sexuality, eroticism, and gender in Austrian literature and culture from the 18th to the 21st century, providing a view of cross-currents and interconnecting traditions; various (interdisciplinary) approaches to literature are welcome as well as submissions from colleagues in related fields such as (art) history, philosophy, media, theatre, film and cultural studies, sociology etc. Conference languages will be English and German.
Historical points of departure:
In the early 20th century, Austria and her metropolis Vienna were a major hub of artistic and cultural activity in Central Europe, where also a diversity of influential discourses on sexuality, eroticism and gender contended and flourished. This is evident in the portrayal of problematic sexual relationships in early Austrian modernism, e.g. in the literary works of Arthur Schnitzler and Peter Altenberg, Karl Kraus’s "Sittlichkeit und Kriminalität" or Otto Weininger’s "Geschlecht und Charakter", in the popular novel of the time ("Josefine Mutzen-bacher"; Hugo Bettauer), in the beginnings of academic sexology (Sigmund Freud, Friedrich Salomon Krauss, and others), in the activities of Rosa Mayreder and the early women’s movement, in the eroticism of the art works of Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and Alfred Kubin, or in photography. Early stages of this interest in sexuality as a cultural topic are already noticeable in the second half of the 19th century – for example in the works of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch or Hans Makart – as they were anteceded by the erotic culture of Josephinism in the late 18th century.
After the historical disruptions of 1934-45, however, the themes of sexuality, eroticism, and gender resurface in the literature and culture of the Second Republic: e.g. in the “happenings” of Viennese Aktionismus, the "OrgienMysterienTheater" of Hermann Nitsch, and the video works of Valie Export, in Austrian film (directors such as Franz Novotny, Kitty Kino, Michael Haneke, or Ulrich Seidl); within Austrian literature e.g. in the eroticism of Heimito von Doderer und Albert Drach, in the feminist discourse from Ingeborg Bachmann to Marlen Haushofer, Elisabeth Reichardt, and Elfriede Jelinek, in the beginnings of an autobiographically based queer writing (e.g. Josef Winkler), in the "Fäkaliendramen" of Werner Schwab, etc.
Conference papers may analyze singular works or authors as well as greater contexts. Possible questions for the paper presentations could be:
o How are sexuality and gender depicted in Austrian literature, theatre, film, and the arts? What is the Stellenwert of the eroticized/ gendered body in the genres mentioned? And how is it represented within the specific cultural media (e.g. in the rhetoric of literature)?
o What is the position/ function of (anti-)eroticism within Austrian literature/culture at a given period of time? What are the implications for the construction of gender?
o Which connections or ruptures, respectively, exist between the (social and cultural) history of sexuality in Austria and its cultural representations?
o How are the 3 title categories of our conference used as tropes for Austrian society, culture, and identity? How have these categories been politicized or used in political rhetoric? Which are the underlying power relations?
o Which connections exist between the academic, artistic and political interest in sexuality and emancipation movements of women adn men at a given period?
o What are the relations between academic, medical, legal, and philosophical discourses on sexuality and its cultural representation/eroticism in Austrian literature/arts/culture?
o To what extent does religion influence the cultural representation of sexuality in Austria?
o Which connections are there between cultural discourses on sexuality and constructions of otherness, xenophobia, racism, antisemitism etc. in Austria?
o In which ways are alternative sexualities and other taboo categories (e.g. prostitution) represented in Austrian literature, arts, and culture?
o Do sexual subcultures affect mainstream culture and majority norms (e.g. morality, gender, canon)?
o Sexuality is not only a discourse, but performative as well: how does this category affect Austrian literature, drama, film, the arts?
o What is the issue/position of pornography in Austrian society? What is the relation between literature/arts and pornography in Austria? Or between eroticism and pornography?
o Why (and how) has Austria developed a special “culture of the scandal” which makes a certain strategic use of sexuality/eroticism as a provocation (e.g. in theatre and movie premières etc.)?
Please e-mail a 400-500 word abstract (attachment) and a one-paragraph bio to: firstname.lastname@example.org
It is also possible to propose entire sessions (1 chair + 3 paper presentations of 20 minutes each).
Conference languages will be English and German.
Proposal deadline: October 30, 2006
Hinweis für Konferenzteilnehmer/innen aus Europa und graduate students:
Teilnehmer/innen an der MALCA-Jahreskonferenz werden gebeten, Reise- und Aufenthaltskosten bei ihren jeweiligen Heimatuniversitäten zu beantragen. Wir bitten um Verständnis, dass die Veranstalter gemäß den Gepflogenheiten an nordamerikanischen Universitäten für derartige Kosten nicht aufkommen können. Es wird jedoch auf die Möglichkeit hingewiesen, Anträge auf Reiseunterstützung beim Austrian Cultural Forum in New York oder bei der ÖFG Wien einzureichen. Auch das Wirth Institute der University of Alberta behält sich vor, fallweise – insbesondere für graduate students – einen Zuschuss zu gewähren; Informationen dazu bei den Veranstaltern (Konferenz-Email).
Die Konferenzgebühr, die nordamerikanischen Usancen entsprechend von allen Teilnehmer/innen zu entrichten ist, sieht als Gegenleistung die Mittag- und Abendessen, die Pausengetränke, das Rahmenprogramm u.ä. vor.
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