Category Archives: EAAS

Annual Conference of the Gesellschaft für Fantastikforschung: Das Romantisch-Fantastische – The Romantic Fantastic

September 18th–23rd, 2019 at the Free University of Berlin, Cinepoetics – Center for Advanced Film Studies and Department of Film Studies

Romanticism again and again! In autumn 1979, Michael Ende’s novel The Neverending Story was published in the Federal Republic of Germany. Even to Ende’s contemporaries, Bastian’s journey to Fantastica and back seemed to be the beginning of a revitalization of romantic longings and ideas within popular culture. Almost at the same time, US-American cinema discovers the genre of fantasy film. The motif of Campbell’s hero’s journey, a world that needs healing and the interconnectedness of all things becomes a constitutive trait of these films’ poetics. On the one hand, the corresponding novels and films emerged in answer to the uncertainty of a bipolar world – fear of the atomic bomb and nuclear fallout as ultima ratio of the Cold War – and the nascent awareness of environmental vulnerability. On the other hand, they, like their famous predecessors, have been accused of a penchant for escapism and ill-conceived inwardness.

A similar area of tension can be observed in the fantasic today. Once again, the potential of recent speculative fiction as well as its critique seem to be indicating a core collection of romantic notions. Like at the end of the 18th century, romanticism and the fantastic provide a corrective to the frigid, mercantile rationality of a world that no longer knows any secrets. In light of contemporary political, economic and ecological distortions, speculative fiction is looking for ways of rethinking the world – and man’s place in it. And once again, the fantastic is accused of turning its back on hard facts and necessities to take refuge in sentimentalized other-worlds.

Based on these findings, the conference will pursue two goals: First, it intends to take a critical look into the relationship of romantic ideas, poetics, and images to possible genealogies of the fantastic. What is to be gained by locating fantastic works in a romantic tradition? Does this dialogue facilitate a deeper understanding of the continued effect of romanticism or poetics of the fantastic? Second, the resilience of speculative fiction’s inherent capability for critique is to be scrutinized in reference to its romantic origins. Can the relation between fantastic worlds and everyday reality be conceptualized in a way that forgoes the dichotomy of critical realism and ahistorical escapism? Would it be possible to illustrate, using its stories, images, and audiovisual presentations, the untenability of accusations which label the fantastic as being politically reactionary and aesthetically conservative – or do the subversive moments in its poetics remain marginal?

All contributions are welcome which examine the complex relationship between romanticism and specific implementations/ of the fantastic, its types and genres, protagonists, and media, on a theoretical, historical, and analytical level.
Possible Topics:

  • • Universal poetry and worldmaking (atmosphere, synesthesia, science and art as modes of knowing and experiencing)
  • • Media of the supernatural: romantic concepts of media and their influence on the mediality of the fantastic
  • • Romantic conceptions of history and the faculty of historic imagination as driving forces of the fantastic (recourse to the Middle Ages)
  • • Fairy tales, myths, and legends as genres and modalities of fantastic narratives
  • • Traditions of gothic fiction in modern fantasy
  • • Updating gothic topoi in contemporary horror cinema (for instance ghosts, living dolls and possessed clerics in the Conjuring-franchise, or witches and religious mania in folk horror)
  • • The beautiful and the sublime, the gruesome and the grotesque as models for poetics of affect in horror and fantasy
  • • Romantic imagery and its influence on visual forms of the fantastic (art, comic, film, series, computer game etc.)
  • • Forms, practices and theories of the fantastic in the era of romanticism (ghost and witch lore, demonology, phantasmagoria etc.)
  • • Soundscapes which establish a quasi-natural stance beyond the human (as in Dark Ambient or Drone Metal)
  • • Poetics of fantasy as modes of magical thinking
  • • Romantic poetics and the becoming-fantastic of the ordinary
  • • Forms of romantic love in fantasy
  • • Fantasy as a form of political romanticism

As usual at GFF conferences, there will be an open track for all lectures which are not directly related to the topic of the conference. Hence, we are open to further proposals.

The GFF offers two scholarships of 250 euros each to students to help cover their travel expenses to the conference. Please indicate if you would like to be considered when submitting your abstract.

Deadline for abstracts and short biographies (max. 2000 characters): January 1st-February 28th, 2019. 
Submission of constituted panels (3-4 speakers) is encouraged.
Submission form and further information available at: www.gff2019.cinepoetics.fu-berlin.de.

For additional inquiries, mail to: gff2019@fu-berlin.de.

Conference Board: Jun.-Prof. Dr. Jan-Hendrik Bakels, Regina Brückner, Jun.-Prof. Dr. Matthias Grotkopp, Dr. Tobias Haupts, Dr. Daniel Illger, Cilli Pogodda, Prof. Dr. Michael Wedel

Call for Papers for EAAS 2016 on Where American Art meets American Writing

Negotiating the Seen and the Felt: where American Art meets American Writing

Chairs: Catherine Gander and Philip McGowan, Queen’s University Belfast.

‘Once we start thinking, talking and writing about …art, we discover that the line between abstraction and representation is no more impermeable than the line between images and words.’ (James A.W. Heffernan, Cultivating Picturacy [2006]).

‘Art is the objectification of feeling.’ (Herman Melville)

This panel seeks to bring together papers whose focus is on modern and contemporary American works that address the space between expression and experience in both written and visual terms. This may include imagetext works, literary works that respond to visual arts, or visual arts that respond to literary works.

The recent turn in American literature and art has been toward affect: a position that privileges an embodied encounter of the artwork as an experiential interface rather than as an object removed from the practice of everyday life. According to such approaches, the human body is positioned as central and unbounded; affect is understood to exist in constant motion between it and other bodies, be they human or otherwise. This has meant a renewal of Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s primacy of perception, leading to a methodological shift in the connected fields of ekphrastic creative writing, aesthetics, art writing, curatorship and literary studies. In recent years, negotiations between discursive and immersive practices have sought to move beyond old paradigms of the sublime or transcendent influence of aesthetic experience to an understanding of materiality that still acknowledges the persistence of the ineffable. Despite these innovations, however, the spaces in which affective literary and visual practices overlap remain largely untheorised.

Contiguous to this turn is the reappraisal of the physical space of the aesthetic encounter itself. Contemporary installations and exhibitions increasingly take into account the participatory needs of the art-viewer, whose full sensorium is engaged in an often interactive experience. Likewise, creative literature, especially that responding to the visual arts in ekphrastic or critical terms, seeks methods of attending to cross-currents between visual and verbal expression that include visual poetics, the use of three-dimensional space, and the intersections of photography and text, for example.

Papers are therefore encouraged to attend to the interplay between the felt and the seen in American texts Continue reading

EAAS Conference 2016 Call for Proposals – deadline June 15, 2015

*****Proposals are invited*****

*****for the next Conference of the*****

*****European Association for American Studies*****

EAAS Conference Call for Proposals

Open Call for Presentations To highlight the range and diversity of American Studies in Europe the EAAS is issuing an open call for proposals for the April 2016 conference, to be hosted in Constanta, Romania.

Proposers may wish to identify and explore long-standing, current and emerging intellectual debates in American Studies; to explore critically the varying practices and methodologies in American Studies; to bring to life current discussions and to posit potential paradigms in American Studies.

The various anniversaries of 2016 provide a variety of potential foundations for proposals.

  • 150 years earlier marked the start of post-Civil War Reconstruction.
  • The 1860s was the era of the dime novel, and Seeley Regester’s The Dead Letter, credited by some as the first full-length American crime novel, appeared in 1866.
  • 125 years will have passed since Thomas Edison patented the motion camera.
  • 1916 saw the creation of the US National Parks Service;
  • the opening of the nation’s first birth control clinic;
  • the election from Montana of Jeanette Rankin, the first woman to sit in the US House of Representatives;
  • the release of D.W. Griffith’s Intolerance;
  • the publication of Carl Sandburg’s Chicago Poems.
  • Shirley Jackson, Walker Percy, and Walter Cronkite were born in 1916.
  • Henry James died in the same year.
  • The National Organization for Women celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2016.
  • Robert Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, its narrative echoing the American Revolution, also dates from 1966.
  • Star Trek first reached TV screens in that same year.
Contemporary American Studies topics could include, for example:

  • discussion and exploration through various methodologies of the USA’s strong, diverse and expanding literary canon;
  • the multi-dimensional character and seemingly endless inventiveness of America’s cultural output;
  • the adaptability of American culture in an age offering radically new social media;
  • the heritage that might be left after the nation’s first African-American presidency;
  • the ongoing 2016 elections.

The EAAS conference encompasses topics across the disciplinary spectrum in American Studies, as well as interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary approaches to the subject. The themes mentioned above are only indicative, and not in any way intended to be a definitive list.

The conference content will be defined by the range and breadth of your suggestions and the conference committee looks forward to receiving many different and stimulating proposals.

Format The EAAS is moving away from its former Workshop format. Proposals are now invited that may use a variety of presentation styles. The conference structure is expected mainly to consist of traditional panel sessions with papers, and proposals for panels of papers are very welcome indeed, but submissions may also be proposed as roundtables, workshops, shop-talks, dialogues, interviews, performances, individual lecture presentations, readings or in other innovative formats. Proposals for individual papers are also welcome, and will be considered for inclusion in appropriate conference sessions. Anyone interested in putting together a panel would be welcome to use the EAAS elist to seek panellists. It is expected that the conference will be made up mainly of sessions lasting 90 minutes or 2 hours, but there may be opportunity for shorter sessions. All proposals are expected to include the opportunity for discussion.

The conference website: http://eaas2016.org/

And proposal form: http://www.enl.auth.gr/abstracts/index.html

Deadline for Proposals ~~ 15 June 2015.