As part of the 2012 NeMLA conference, this panel examines the visual and multimedia representation of mountain landscapes and social environments in the German-speaking context from the Enlightenment to the present day. Papers are invited on discourses of imperialism and exploration, of the collision and interplay of the wilderness and civilisation, and the portrayal of space, memory and identity in film, graphic and multimedia art. Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words to John Heath (firstname.lastname@example.org) before 30 September 2011.
Mountain landscapes and cultural spaces have been accorded a significant symbolic function in German literature, painting and film, yet relatively few studies have examined their employment programmatically. In the German-speaking context, the mountain begins to receive intensive artistic attention in the course of the Enlightenment, becomes a central trope of Romanticism, and plays a key role in the mythology of National Socialism. In the course of the rebuilding of post-war economies, the Alps occupy an important place in the redefining of national identity and the perception of German-speaking cultures abroad. The encroachment of technological innovation and accessibility onto mountain landscapes and its environmental and demographic impact has seen contemporary German literature retain a focus on mountain topographies that engages critically not only with current practices but also with prior discourses. The long-standing interaction between alpine activities and artistic expression was further highlighted in 2010/11 with the inauguration of the Bergschreiber competition in an attempt to combine touristic exposure with the concept of the writer in residence. The online portrayal of mountains is the latest expression of a cultural construct ranging from GPS technology to Alpine kitsch.
This panel examines key aspects of the visual representation of the mountain from a variety of perspectives; it invites papers on discourses of imperialism and exploration, of the collision and interplay of the wilderness and civilization, and of the portrayal of space, memory and identity. Speakers might choose to present on topographical depictions in terms of aesthetic contructs, filmic portrayal and the question of ideological instrumentalisation in the case of Fanck, Pabst, Trenker and Riefenstahl, anti-Semitism in its alpine context, the contemporary examination of mountain tourism or online and multimedia constructions of mountain environments. These are, however, mere suggestions; all proposals on audio and visual media are welcome.
43rd Annual Convention
Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
March 15-18, 2012
Rochester, New York
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