[UPDATE] Cultures of Memory, Memories of Culture: The 15th Annual Conference of the English Department, University of Bucharest

full name / name of organization: 
University of Bucharest



The English Department of the University of Bucharest invites proposals for the Literature and Cultural Studies section of its 15th Annual Conference:

Cultures of Memory, Memories of Culture

Dates: 6–8 June, 2013
Venue: The Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures,
Str. Pitar Mos 7-13, Bucharest, Romania

Invited speakers:
Stef Craps, Ghent University
Victor Ivanovici, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Carl Lavery, University of Aberystwyth
Victor Sage, University of East Anglia

The issue of memory is as difficult to approach as it is exciting to look into. Indissociable from current human activities, memory is obviously crucial in defining extraordinary situations, whether they be 'great events', path-breaking moments in history, or limit-cases. Memory is unavoidably related to the multifaceted reality of tradition/s and legacy/ies, to property rights and propriety of possession, to the ways, forms and places (lieux de mémoire) fleshing it out as values, practices and institutions at work in human communities. Needless to say, collective memory, coextensive with cultural inheritance, finds a necessary counterpart in, and holds a substantial relationship with, individual memory. While this applies to every and any civilization, it definitely acts as an identitary mark of West. Civ., whose Judeo-Christian background finds its foundational texts in the testaments that inform it. Western culture is thus a culture of memory and a repository of memories of culture traceable in books, monuments and documents, museums, memoirs, archaeological sites, educational and artistic spaces, journals and diaries, newspapers and movies, electronic files and other virtual storage spaces.
Growing interest in the history – memory relationship, like the booming literature stemming from, and expanding as, Cultural Memory, have reinforced the stance according to which memory is a source of human identity, in both its personal and collective form. The art of memory (mnemonics) is coeval with the birth of literature and the arts, as suggested by the standing belief that memory is a spatial phenomenon, whose locative nature is per force intertwined with its temporal dimension.
Cultural History, and its relatively elder sisters, the History of Ideas, Intellectual History and Literary History itself, have developed into a sui generis market of cultural memory with a copious display of goods and values among which:
- cultural objects and objets, cultural institutions, protocols and authority/ies
- cultural nodes, be they temporal (occurrences, events, historical disruptions, etc.), topical (castles and palaces, battlefields, cities, etc.), institutional (educational sites, museum, arts galleries, etc.), or figurative (the old wise man, the lonely genius, the noble savage, etc.)
- literature as cultural commodity, produced, disseminated and advertised in specific contexts, for specific consumption and serving specific aims
- the cultural-historical embeddedness of literature and the arts
- the meaning-instilling function of culture
- the cultural imaginary and its icons, transactions and manifestations
- the vécu quality of the time-space relationship (Period Studies, Area Studies, the chronotope, the espace-temps, the existential nature of culture and/as history)
- identity-geared forms of cultural memory (foundational myths, national heroes, canonical writers and artists, etc.)
- memory-centred literature (letters, epistolary writings, diaries, sentimental novels, historical narratives, etc.)
- alternative memory/ies and history/ies (the forbidden or repressed past, non-/anti-official memory, underground literature, destabilizing documents, forgotten monuments, etc.)
- literary and cultural texts as spaces of negotiation and retrieval of memory
- the travel of memory within, between, and across, cultures
- strategies and practices of memory-revival and meaning-decoding (cosmic landmarks, tables of correspondences, philosophical assessments, artistic illustrations, etc.)
- from individual to collective memory (the Freudian into Jungian trajectory, from case studies to archetypal patterns, local into universal values, etc.)
- memory and the human instance (remembrance/s and the self, stories of the body, avatars of history, etc.)
- memory and modernity (the modo of the canonicals into the now of the contemporaries, etc.)
While these are possible items to place in our intellectual and academic basket for the forthcoming event, they are by no means restrictive or of the nature of imposition. Rather, we will be only too glad to welcome proposals on adjacent or different issues that participants deem relevant to our conference theme.

Presentations should be in English, and will be allocated 20 minutes each, plus 10 minutes for discussion. Prospective participants are invited to submit abstracts of up to 200 words (including a list of keywords) in Word format, with an indication of their institutional affiliation, a telephone number and e-mail address at which they can be contacted, and a short bio of up to 100 words. Proposals for panel discussions (to be organized by the participant) will also be considered.

A selection of papers will be published in University of Bucharest Review (listed on EBSCO, CEEOL and Ulrichsweb).

Deadline for proposals: 16 March 2013.
Please send proposals (and enquiries) to litcultstbucharest@gmail.com
The conference fee of 50 euro or equivalent in Romanian Lei is payable in cash on registration, and covers lunches and refreshments during the conference, but not evening meals.

For further details and updates, see http://www.unibuc.ro/depts/limbi/literatura_engleza/conferinte.php .
Enquiries regarding the Linguistics section of the conference should be sent to ACED.15th@gmail.com .

We look forward to welcoming you in Bucharest.
The organizing team
Maria-Sabina Draga Alexandru
James Brown
Daniela Cârstea
Eliana Ionoaia
Martin Potter
Ruxandra Rădulescu
Ioana Zirra