Metamodernism and the Humanities: Critical and Creative Practice
Keynote speaker: Dr Timotheus Vermeulen, assistant professor in cultural studies and theory, University of Nijmegen, editor of Notes on Metamodernism
Hosted by the Journalism, Creative Writing and English Literature postgraduate researchers at the University of Strathclyde
Tuesday September 16th 2014
School of Humanities, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow,
Metamodernism displaces the parameters of the present with those of a future presence that is futureless; and it displaces the boundaries of our place with those of a surreal place that is placeless… It yearns for a truth it knows it may never find, it strives for sincerity without lacking humour, it engages precisely by embracing doubt. For, indeed, that is the ‘‘destiny’’ of the metamodern wo/man: to pursue a horizon that is forever receding. (Notes on Metamodernism, Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin van den Akker, 2010)
The postmodernism of the period following the Vietnam War is presumed dead, or at best dormant, no longer the vanguard. So what comes next? What are the defining characteristics of cultural logic post-9/11, post-Lehman Brothers? One of the most compelling interventions in the post-postmodernism debate is metamodernism, an increasingly contested and exasperating matrix of critical theory nominalism encompassing theories such as altermodernism and neomodernism.
The Journalism, Creative Writing and English Literature postgraduate students at the University of Strathclyde are pleased to announce a new research symposium uniting emerging work in the arts and humanities to explore the concept of metamodernism. This event is open to PGR and ECR scholars working in any area of the arts, humanities, information sciences or social sciences. We are delighted to be joined by Dr Timotheus Vermeulen who will deliver an opening lecture on metamodernism and offer concluding responses to the day’s discussion.
Deriving from Plato’s term metaxy, meaning 'in between' or 'the movement between opposing poles', metamodernism is offered by cultural theorists Timotheus Vermuelen and Robin van den Akker to describe a “structure of feeling” which departs from the “plenty, pastiche and parataxis” of postmodernism in favour of a state of oscillation between the idealism and optimism of modernism and the cynicism and doubt of postmodernism: “It yearns for a truth it knows it may never find, it strives for sincerity without lacking humour, it engages precisely by embracing doubt.” From music to film, from architecture to journalism, the postmodernist urge to subvert and deconstruct has given way to a sincere desire to reinvent, reconfigure and create something new from the scraps of postmodernist decay.
The symposium will be split between presentations and a series of interactive workshops engaging with the themes of metamodernism. Participants are invited to present a 10-15 minute paper which engage with the sensibility of metamodernism and/or the structural conceit of oscillation, which will form the presentation segment of the day. Preparatory reading will be circulated ahead of the event in order to better facilitate informal discussions in the workshops segment.
Papers might focus on:
The structural conceit of oscillation, or the following paradoxical positions which may occupy your research, creative writing or journalistic practice: Informed Naïveté, Pragmatic Idealism or Moderate Fanaticism
The work of filmakers such as Wes Anderson, Michel Gondry and Spike Jonze and actors James Franco and Shia LaBeouf
Novelists such as Roberto Bolaño, Jonathan Franzen, Haruki Murakami and David Foster Wallace
Musicians/bands Devendra Banhart, Antony Hegarty, Animal Collective, Arcade Fire CocoRosie, We Are The Physics and Future Islands.
Cultural tropes which have been identified as expositions of Metamodernist preoccupations, eg, Jan Terry’s “Losing You”, the Occupy movement.
Journalistic use of technology with the potential to replace objective reporting and multimedia projects such as the New York Times’ Snow Fall and Guardian’s Firestorm.
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