Tag Archives: fantastic

RSACS XLIX International Conference 2023 Full Videorecordings

Opening Session

Section 1. Journalism

Section 2. American Culture of the 17th-19th Centuries 

Section 3. Contemporary American Culture of the 20th-21st Centuries. Part 1

Section 3. Contemporary American Culture of the 20th-21st Centuries. Part 2

Section 4. Ethnic Aspects of American Culture

Section 5. Gender Aspects of American Culture

Section 6. Fantastic in the Arts.

Round Table in Memoriam of Professor Yassen Zassoursky “Imprints: Image of Russia and Image of America”



















Abstracts of the XLVIII International RSACS Conference “American Family in Flux Reflected in Literature, Art and Media”, November 30-December 3, 2022

Plenary session

November 30, 7.00 PM   room 103


  1. Dr.Larisa Mikhaylova

Journalism Department, Lomonosov Moscow State University

RSACS Academic Secretary

Introduction of the Plenary Speakers and the schedule of the conference


  1. Dr. Carolyn Calloway-Thomas

Past President, World Communication Association

Professor and Director of Graduate Studies

Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies

Indiana University, Bloomington, U.S. A.

 Portrayals of the American Family in Print  Media:  ‘Cells of Consciousness and Quilts of Reality’

“Each member of the family in his own cell of consciousness, each making his own patchwork quilt of reality—collecting fragments of experience, here, pieces of information there.”

—Toni Morrison

Once upon a time,  over fifty years ago, it was easy for Americans to define what is a family. Today, however, technology, educational attainment,  and shifting values and attitudes have profoundly  changed  the definition (s)  of  family,  leading to more diverse views of what constitutes an American family.  But what are some social  and cultural trends that intersect to promote changes in family life? Why do such trends matter?   And what are the implications  of such trendlines for the larger society and our place in it?  Although the reasons are complex and various, part of the answer lies in the way newspapers and magazines frame the nature, structure,  and idea  of the American family.

This presentation examines the way select newspapers and magazines frame trends and patterns of American family life through the specific lens of a thematic cluster analysis.  An analysis  of articles and editorials have much to recommend, because they can  reveal perceptions of  what  diverse  families share in common,  as well as suggest what is strategically significant in holding American society together and sustaining citizenship and  collective familial bonds. Newspaper articles and editorials  in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the New York Post form the basis of the analysis,  augmented by literature from the Pew Research Center.  My major emphasis is on the words authors and editors  use to talk about the American family and how the words work. The end  goal is to see how editors and writers view the American family  in the twenty-first century.


  1. Dr. Maria Zolotukhina

Associate Professor

Sociocultural Practices Chair,Department of Culture Studies

Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow, Russia

The New American Dream: changing values of parenting and parenthood

To launch a child into adulthood right at the time of entering college (and via doing that) has been one of the fundamental values of American middle class – vague as this category may appear. It served as the criteria for successful parental efforts of upbringing and its tangible result – an independent person, already focused on his or her own future success, separated from the family of origin. What seems to have changed quite significantly over the past decades are both the time frame of growing up and the criteria for achieving adulthood thus calling into question the very philosophy of life for Americans. The good old formula – “leave your home, become independent, live the American dream” – that served so well as a universal cultural imperative, while remaining recognizable, has lost its immutable character. Therefore parenthood and parenting as a project changed their rather substantiative qualities: in what constitutes being child-centered now, how is independence and autonomy taught and – most of all – what is the new understanding of affection and its manifestations. Such profound changes can not but influence the core elements of American childhood – an ideal space for a child at home, means of learning financial independence and charity, the notion of privacy and self-esteem and achievement. New types of parenting having become media mems (helicopter parenting. Tiger moms, bulldozer parenting etc ) create both moral panics (boomerang children never leaving home once they are back) and bring about condescending smiles. Emerging adultdood – a term coined by Jeffrey Arnett as a phenomenon even made insurance companies extend their policies up to age 24-25. Covid pandemic of 2020 and 2021 seems only to have reinforced the already existing new patterns without fully doing away with the old ones creating a new version of the American dream.

The presentation is based on long time included observation, media sources and interviews.


Section 1. Journalism

Coordinator Dr.Andrei Ruskin (Journalism Department, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia)

December 1, Thursday  3 PM – 4.30 PM room 103


  1. Andrei Ruskin

Journalism Department

Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia

The Family Subject Coverage by the US Local Media: a comparative analysis based on the 2022 daily newspapers publications

Publications in regional newspaper-type dailies on family topics in the broad sense of this issue have been constantly presented. Even in local newspapers, which began to be published in the XIX century and even earlier, the topics of family culture and relations between spouses, approaches to raising children, principles of household management, family property and inheritance of fortunes have always been raised. Invariably, newspapers reflected all sorts of intra-family conflicts when they became public, and even more so if it affected famous people. Another topic that American journalists dealt with thoroughly was related to the study of family unions that arose at the junction of different races, religions, cultures, traditions, estates and social classes. In recent years, publications about single-parent families and their problems, marriages between representatives of both the same sex and without gender indication, social support for low-income and disadvantaged families, families of new immigrants and migrants, refugees have increasingly appeared in the materials of local publications. The aim of the study was to determine whether there are pointed differences in the coverage of the family topic in newspapers of different states and, if so, which ones and how it is presented, whether or not it is related to the geographical factor, or the economic situation of a certain region of the USA. To conduct the study, a sample of 50 local publications was selected (one for each state). As criteria for the sample, factors such as publication in traditional paper and electronic form, daily frequency (at least five issues per week), the universal nature of newspapers (non-specialized) were taken into account. Only those publications were searched where the topic of family (or its derivatives) was not just mentioned, but also considered in detail (thus, the predominant genres of the selected publications were articles, reviews, interviews, sometimes reports and editorial columns). As a result of the conducted research on the coverage of the family topic by local newspapers, it was not possible to identify significant differences on a geographical basis. Almost all newspapers paid equal attention to the most significant and topical aspects of this subject. One of the explanations for this conclusion can be considered as the «publisher factor». Many local newspapers are still controlled by large publishing and media holdings, which «recommend» the same approaches to all «their» publications.



  1. Fedor Serdotetsky

Journalism Department

Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia

Genre and Thematic Features of the American Media Platform Twitch.Tv and Family Image On This Service


American platform Twitch.tv as a youth media platform  The topic of the report is the genre and thematic features of journalistic content on the American streaming platform Twitch.tv and the policy of this service regarding statements about new types of families in the United States.  The problem of the study is due to the difference between traditional media, which are used mainly by the older audience, and youth media, whose main consumers are young people under 35 years old, as well as the promotion of new ethical standards. The idea behind this study is to argue that streaming platforms and Twitch.tv in particular are extremely popular media sources among young people. For the report, foreign and Russian Twitch channels were selected, which are divided into the following categories: official media accounts, accounts of political journalists and accounts of video gaming magazines. The random sampling method was used for selection. On the example of these channels, genre diffuseness and hybridization of classical genres were revealed. Such genre specificity and format are unique to media content intended for a young audience. In addition, censorship of statements against the new type of families in the United States was revealed. Moreover, the study of Twitch channels revealed the existence of a complex hypermedia genre, which, thanks to new technological capabilities, combines the properties of all classical media at once, as well as the modified interactive property of new media, and promotes the speech culture inherent in youth into the digital space. The American platform Twitch.tv is a platform with great potential for journalism, as this service is an example of a fundamentally new type of content distribution, as well as interaction with the audience. However, at the same time, there is censorship on the platform aimed at the creators and consumers of content.


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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