New Directions of the European Fantastic after the Cold War
Second Annual Conference of the Gesellschaft für Fantastikforschung (GFF)
University of Salzburg
29 September to 1 October 2011
Sabine Coelsch-Foisner, Sarah Herbe and Markus Oppolzer
Since the end of the Cold War a significant number of fantastic texts, films, artworks, and new media practices across Europe have raised social and political questions. We understand the fantastic to mean a dynamic process rather than a finished product and a distinctive mode of engagement with the real, usually disrupting the mimetic through supernatural, magical and visionary means. In this sense it breaks through boundaries of genre, space and identity and plays a crucial role in the exchange of ideas and concerns across national and political boundaries. The fall of the Berlin Wall thus signalled the start of a period of profound changes and reconfigurations in Europe involving a rethinking not only of capitalism and communism, East and West, but also of the national and trans-national, the indigenous and migrant, borders and flows, histories and futures, identities and communities, high culture and popular culture.
The aim of this conference is to define the share of the fantastic in the cultural traffic between European societies and communities after the Cold War. We are particularly interested in transformations of the fantastic in literature, life-writing, film, folklore, gaming, cultural infrastructures such as museums and museum-like venues, multi-sensory events and social practices. For this purpose we invite papers dealing with:
Genre Shifts: How have post-Cold War realities changed conceptions of fantastic genres? What are the political implications of these genre shifts? How has the growing cultural acceptance of the fantastic impacted conceptions of high and low culture and how has it become a privileged site for negotiating cultural identities?
Fantastic Film and New Media: What is the role of the fantastic in European cinema? How has the latter articulated and negotiated the social and political relationships that have emerged since the end of the Cold War? What impact have contemporary forms of media had on the fantastic and, conversely, how has it paved the way for contemporary media cultures to emerge (participatory media culture, ‘media convergence’ and ‘fan fiction’)?
Cultural Infrastructures and Social Practices: What is the role of cultural infrastructures in constructing history and communicating cultural value through narrative and multi-sensory experience? How have sites of cultural memory, history and trauma, museums and visitor attractions been narrativised, emotionalised and theatricalised by fantastic tropes and strategies? What role does the fantastic play in the construction and reconfiguration of different identity categories in the new Europe (re-tellings of myth and folklore, festivals, events)?
If you are interested in this conference and wish to offer a paper, please send an abstract of 350 words describing your project and bearing your name and institutional affiliation by 15 January 2011.
Prof. Dr. Sabine Coelsch-Foisner
University of Salzburg
Department of English and American Studies
5020 Salzburg, Austria
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