Topographies of Popular Culture (25-26 Oct 2013; deadline 15 Mar.)

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University of Tampere, Finland
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From the venues of rock festivals and theme parks to the back alleys of Gotham City, popular culture contributes to collective perceptions of spatiality and recreates powerful imaginary topographies. Topographies of Popular Culture offers a forum for multidisciplinary discussions of popular culture and space in contemporary American, European and Russian contexts. The conference seeks to explore representations of space as constructed in popular literary and visual genres and digital culture. We invite presentations that examine how space and various popular genres are mutually constitutive in producing "popular" places (physical, social, and imagined) in the cultural and geographical settings of the USA, Europe, and Russia. We are especially interested in discussions and comparisons of "Western" and "Eastern" approaches to space as shaped by discourses of popular culture. In this kind of analysis, space is to be seen as a social construct that still exerts an active, emphatic influence: it both reflects socio-cultural processes and sets conditions for emerging hierarchies, standards, and values.

Topographies of Popular Culture will focus on the relations between popular culture and dynamic spatial practices. Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

- the formation of space(s) in popular culture
- space as an interconnected field between popular culture and instances of power (economic, political, symbolic, etc.)
- geographies and archaeologies of space including Orientalism and Occidentalism; colonial, national and imperial space
- gendered and queer popular spaces
- the spaces and places of popular production and consumption
- interrelations between the local and global in popular culture
- connections between literary topoi and spatial topoi in popular fiction
- spatial categories in popular genres (e.g. the fantastic worlds of fantasy; exotic worlds of romance; criminal spaces of detection; monstrous spaces of horror fiction)
- new sites of action in contemporary literary, visual and digital texts
- the "internationalization" of space in popular texts
- utopian and dystopian spaces
- heterotopias and rhizomatics
- the language and semiotics of space and place

The conference languages are English and Russian. Prof. Eliot Borenstein (New York University), Prof. Birgit Neumann (University of Passau), and Prof. Shelley Streeby (University of California, San Diego) will act as keynote speakers.

Proposals for twenty-minute papers in English or Russian are invited from researchers working in cultural, literary, language and translation studies and other disciplines. Please submit an abstract of 250–350 words as a Word file with the author's name, affiliation, and contact details by 15 March 2013. Contributors can expect confirmation of their papers' acceptance by 8 April 2013.

The organizers intend to put together a themed volume, in which selected papers will be published as full-length articles.

Arja Rosenholm (
Markku Salmela (
Irina Savkina (

- Research program Spaces of Language and Literature (School of Language, Translation and Literary Studies, University of Tampere)
- Research group Empires of the Popular (School of Language, Translation and Literary Studies, University of Tampere)
- Research group Kult-tovary: Tendencies and Changes in Contemporary Russian Culture (Russian Language, Culture and Translation, University of Tampere; Department of Contemporary Russian Literature, Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia, St. Petersburg; Faculty of Philology, Ural Federal University, Jekaterinburg