2nd Annual Conference of the Gesellschaft für Fantastikforschung

full name / name of organization: 
Gesellschaft für Fantastikforschung
contact email: 
lars.schmeink@uni-hamburg.de

EUROFAN: New Directions of the European Fantastic After the Cold War

Second Annual Conference of the Gesellschaft für Fantastikforschung (GFF)

to be held at the University of Salzburg from 29 September to 1 October 2011

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. It typically works to disrupt the mimetic through supernatural, magical and visionary means. In this sense it breaks through boundaries of genre, space and identity. It fosters new kinds of dialogue across time, space and communities, informing contemporary technologies of cultural production and their use by increasing numbers of Europeans in their everyday lives. The rich European cultural context offers unique opportunities to look into how the contemporary fantastic as a truly global cultural phenomenon is being locally created and reinterpreted in active, trans-national dialogue. Through transformed networks of publishing, audiovisual industries, digital media, online communities, visitor attractions and cultural tourism, the fantastic has reached new dimensions. Pervading a wide range of literary genres, cultural practices and infrastructures, it plays a crucial role in the exchange of ideas and concerns across national and political boundaries. The fall of the Berlin Wall signalled the start of a period of profound changes and reconfigurations in Europe. These involved 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. Simultaneously, across high and popular culture new fantastic forms and practices have emerged.
This conference will explore how the fantastic has responded to and how it is shaping Europe's dynamic cultural contexts, and how it contributes to cognitive and affective dimensions of European identity. The aim 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 and what new terminologies have emerged since 1989? What are the political implications of the genre shifts according to locale? How has the growing cultural acceptance 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 relationships that have emerged since the end of the Cold War between nation, Europe and international capital? What impact have contemporary forms of media had on the fantastic and, conversely, how have the cultures of fantasy 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 to

Prof. Dr. Sabine Coelsch-Foisner
University of Salzburg
Department of English and American Studies
Akademiestraße 24
5020 Salzburg, Austria
Tel.: +43-662-8044-4422
Fax: +43-662-8044-167
E-Mail: sabine.coelsch-foisner@sbg.ac.at

Dr. Sarah Herbe
University of Salzburg
Department of English and American Studies
Akademiestraße 24
5020 Salzburg, Austria
Tel.: +43-662-8044-4402
Fax: +43-662-8044-167
E-Mail: sarah.herbe@sbg.ac.at

and

Dr. Markus Oppolzer
University of Salzburg
Department of English and American Studies
Akademiestraße 24
5020 Salzburg, Austria
Tel.: +43-662-8044-4408
Fax: +43-662-8044-167
E-Mail: markus.oppolzer@sbg.ac.at

cfp categories: 
childrens_literature
cultural_studies_and_historical_approaches
film_and_television
general_announcements
interdisciplinary
international_conferences
popular_culture
science_and_culture
twentieth_century_and_beyond