The dialectic between ‘Memory’ and ‘Nostalgia’ has always been a significant issue for various disciplines like history, sociology, psychology, cultural studies, gender studies, media studies, literature, etc. Especially nostalgia, as Sean Scanlan states, has “an uncanny ability to exceed any constraining definition” (1). As a Greek term, comprising the two parts “nostos” (to return home) and “algos” (pain), nostalgia, Linda Hutcheon explains, was coined in 1688 by a Swiss medical student “as a sophisticated … way to talk about a literally lethal kind of severe homesickness” (1). In Nicholas Dames’ terms, nostalgia is a form of “retrospect that remembers only what is pleasant and only what the self can employ in the present; … [it is] an absence; what it lacks is what… has come to be regarded as memory in its purest form” (4). Nostalgia, then, is a “memory that is always only the necessary prehistory of the present [which] consists of the stories about one’s past that explain and consolidate memory rather than dispersing it into a series of vivid, relinquished moments and … [which] can only survive by eradicating the ‘pure memory’” (Dames 4).
Nostalgia has always been a useful compensatory tool to construct an alternative historical reality created by the images of the golden past, especially when there is discontent with the present socio-economic situation in any culture. Just like governing bodies, modern global corporations also use nostalgia to advertise their commodities by relating either their products or companies to a more desirable time in the past. By implanting modified images in the prospective clients’ minds, such advertising strategies rewrite history through forged memories about the good old days when prices were more reasonable, goods more durable, and services were more satisfactory.
As Dylan Trigg, the author of The Aesthetics of Decay: Nothingness, Nostalgia, and the Absence of Reason (2006) claims, “nostalgia demands … the fixation of the past … Thus, both static images – memories – and lived experience – place – serve as homogenous platforms for the nostalgic conscious to impose and identify itself” (1). Both memory and nostalgia, then, have always had some spatial and territorial connotations, whether real or ideal, either in some negative or positive sense.
This symposium, then, aims to explore how memory and nostalgia collaborate to construct a meaningful space in a given culture, both individually and collectively, either through “the willing suspension of disbelief” or as a state apparatus, with reference to such issues as globalism, consumerism, nation-states, neo-conservatism, etc. During the symposium we hope such questions as Linda Hutcheon raises about the relationship between postmodernism and nostalgia will also be discussed: “Was [the] postmodern recalling of the past an example of a conservative – and therefore nostalgic – escape to an idealized, simpler era of ‘real’” (1). Or, if “nostalgia is given surplus meaning and value at certain moments – millennial moments, like our own,” has nostalgia become an “obsession of both mass culture and high art” or is it only “the media’s obsession”? (Hutcheon 1).
Proposals might include, but are not limited to:
· Nostalgia and Collective Memory
· Cultural Memory as Cultural Repression
· Cultural Memory = Nostalgia?
· Culture as Nostalgic Object and Commodity
· Nostalgia, Consumerism, and the Heritage Industry
· Nostalgia and Ideology
· Diaspora and Nostalgia
· Diaspora as Temporal Displacement
· Nostalgia and Ideology
· Homologies of Religious Faith and Cultural Memory or Nostalgia
· Nostalgia as a Social Disease
· The Violence of Cultural Memory
· Nostalgia as the Abdication of Memory
· Community without Nostalgia?
· Trauma, Collective Memory, and Nostalgia
· Pain and Authenticity
· Nostalgic Structures of Feeling in Cultural Studies
· Mourning and Melancholia in Cultural Memory
· Reflective and Restorative Nostalgia
· Nation, Narration, and Nostalgia
· Counter Nostalgia
· Literature and Art as Cultural Memory
· Media of Memory (Historical Monuments, Public Archives, Oral Histories, etc.)
· Popular Culture, Amnesia, and Nostalgia
· Personal Memory, Collective Identity, and Nostalgia
· Historiography, Autobiography, and Nostalgia
· Memory as a Means of Cultural Regeneration
· Nostalgia, Memorabilia, and “Subcutaneous Advertising”
· Values and Nostalgia
· Nationalist Interests and Nostalgia
The deadline for submission of proposals: January 05, 2007.
The notification for acceptance of proposals: January 22-26, 2007.
We welcome proposals for individual papers, entire sessions, presentations, performances, films, roundtables, workshops, conversations, or alternative formats both in English and Turkish. However, there will be no simultaneous translations during the conference. The time allowance for any presentation is 20 minutes. Abstracts for papers should be 250-300 words in length and should include a title. Please e-mail your proposals and short bios to: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org or mail/fax them to:
Ege Üniversitesi, Edebiyat Fakültesi,
Amerikan Kültürü ve Edebiyatı Bölümü,
Fax: +90 (232) 388 11 02
Please note that selected papers will be published in the forthcoming proceedings.
Seminar Registration Fee: USD 50 regular, USD 30 graduate students and research assistants. USD 75 On-site registration
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