CFP: Seeking, Seizing, Sharing… - Knowledge and the Fantastic (Deadline Dec 31, 2014)

full name / name of organization: 
Gesellschaft für Fantastikforschung / Association for Research in the Fantastic

Sixth annual conference of the Gesellschaft für Fantastikforschung e.V. [Association for Research in the Fantastic]

at the Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

24.-27. September 2015

Knowledge has always been a fundamental part of fantastic stories: characters seek specific knowledge – be it the need for concrete information, the aim to metaphysically broaden one's horizon or the acquisition of special abilities – and they live in high-tech, futuristic or foreign, anachronistic worlds, which in turn are only accessible and immediately familiar to the inaugurated – knowledgable – reader or viewer. Thus, fantastic stories task even the most seasoned viewer with the act of world-building, of acquiring sufficient knowledge in relation to these fantastic, fundamentally different, worlds.

Seeking, Seizing, Sharing... the sixth annual meeting of the Gesellschaft für Fantastikforschung aims to address the diverse functions and importance of knowledge in the fantastic from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Whether secret, specific or generic, what are central motifs of knowledge and how is knowledge as content determined? What are the forms and structures of knowledge – the rules by which it is defined, organized and communicated? And finally, what importance does knowledge possess – as capital, as a power base, as a cause of conflict?

Especially in connection with serial formats does the process of knowledge acquisition appear crucial – and ever so worthwhile, as in times of social media such stories can offer a deeper experience, one that surpasses the singular reception process of individual works. Current research on fandom has shown the relevance of shared knowledge, thus exemplifying the social and socio-cultural nature of knowledge and its importance as the basis of specific value and norm systems.

Moreover, fantastic stories often contain mythological, technological or philosophical motives, which offer the recipient hints, to be deciphered only through general cultural knowledge rather than specific media knowledge. Conversely, the fantastic genre can serve the dissemination of knowledge beyond the single work, and in its indirect-direct characteristic can mediate and communicate attitudes, opinions, and thus, not last, education. Here questions ensue regarding the relation of knowledge, memory, and remembering, about the psychology of learning and pedagogical contexts of knowledge acquisition, as well as social aspects of participation and access to knowledge.

Concluding, the conference wants to address the relationship between knowledge and science and reflect subsequent meta-discourses revolving around researching the fantastic.

The aim of this conference is to illuminate the diverse functions and importance of knowledge in the fantastic from different perspectives and methodological approaches. Invited are scientists from various disciplines and directions, such as philosophy, literature, and media studies, to psychology, education, cultural and social sciences or cognitive and neuro-sciences.

As has become usual, there will be an open track for those presentations that are not directly related to the overall theme of the conference. In order to mirror the wide field of research we explicitly welcome talks about other aspects of the fantastic.

The GFF offers two student stipends (250,- Euro) to help with travel finances. Interested students should mention the stipend in their application to the conference and provide a short note of motivation.

Everyone interested should send an abstract of a 20-minute talk in German or English (max. 350 words, including contact details and brief biographical information) to by December 31st 2014.

Conference Organisation

Dr. Meike Uhrig
Institute for Media Studies,
Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
Wilhelmstraße 50
72074 Tuebingen

Contact GFF: