The Institute of Romance Studies at the Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz is hosting an interdisciplinary Autumn School from 4-9 October 2015, in cooperation with ZIS, the Centre for Intercultural Studies (JGU), and funded by the Volkswagen Foundation, on the topic of: “Distance and/or Close-up: Visuality, Community, and Affect in Representations of History”
Dr Karin Peters (Romance Studies)
in cooperation with Dr Julia Bruehne (Romance Studies), Dr Susanne Mersmann (Art History) and Lisa Zeller, M.A. (Romance Studies)
Subjects: Literary Studies, Art History, History, Cultural Studies, Ethnology, Media Studies, Political Studies
Hayden White argues in his influential study Metahistory that representations of history offer narratives employing narrative means to present a certain version of historical events. For his part, Benedict Anderson stresses that the development of modern nation states would be unthinkable without written and printed media, and, with that, the telling and reading of national history. However, imagined communities do not only relate to history by means of shared practices and knowledge but also by means of shared affects. This is to say that members of an imagined community deem to truly feel the verity and reality of their own history. The time of an imagined community takes form and becomes ‘real’ through historical narratives that carry affective overtones, have political effects, and become almost ‘mythical’. This is not only the case in the context of the modern nation-states that Anderson analyses; it has been so ever since the early modern era. Whenever narratives evoke a vivid close-up of collective history—irrespective of their medium, be it visual or textual—, these narratives operate through visualisation. This is why visuality, community, and affect are inter-dependent in represented or imagined history. They can generate identification or a critical distance towards history. We intend to trace this relationship chronologically in different thematic sections—from the early modern era to our age—and discuss it further by referring to current theories about political affects, such as Jon Beasley-Murray’s theory in Posthegemony (2010).
For this reason, we would like to concern ourselves from an interdisciplinary perspective with the questions of how texts create images, how images tell (hi)stories, how politics use images, and what the fact that affect plays a role in it means. Following the presentation of individual papers, we will discuss a number of selected theoretical texts and analyse chosen textual and pictorial examples. In order to ensure the interdisciplinary arrangement, we have invited external specialists from political science, cultural studies, and art history who will each place their own particular emphasis on the topic in short introductory lectures, before leading the discussions that follow.
This Call for Papers is addressed to PhD candidates and postdoctoral researchers in the early stages of their careers, specialising in subjects such as literary studies, art history, history, cultural studies, ethnology, media studies, or political studies. Each participant is expected to give a presentation (90 minutes in total: 30-minute presentation, 30 minutes of discussion, and another 30 minutes for the close reading of texts and/or images). In order to ensure active participation during discussions, participants are required to have strong passive knowledge of at least two of the event’s official languages (German, English, and French). If your proposal is accepted, you will receive an individual travel grant of maximum 500 euros (if travelling from Germany), 800 euros (if travelling from elsewhere in Europe), or 1,500 euros (if travelling from overseas).
In accordance with the programme, all participants will be expected to contribute to all sections, which take place in succession and not in parallel. Your application, however, should refer to a specific section and should include an abstract of your envisaged presentation (400 words max.), an academic CV with your contact details and publication list (if available), as well as a short motivational letter explaining how the topic of your presentation is related to your own research and where you place yourself within the overarching concept of the Autumn School and the section, respectively. To assist you with your preparation, you can request a more detailed version of the event’s concept in advance (in German only) via Email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
1st section to be led by: Jon Beasley-Murray – theoretical section overarching several centuries
2nd section, to be led by: Karin Peters – Early modern period
3rd section, to be led by: Bertrand Tillier & Susanne Mersmann – 19th century
4th section, to be led by: Philip Manow & Lisa Zeller – 19th century
5th section, to be led by: Stephanie Wodianka & Julia Bruehne – 20th/21st centuries
Please submit your application documents before 30 June 2015 (date stamp) either via post to Dr Karin Peters, Romanisches Seminar, Johannes Gutenberg-Universitaet Mainz, Welderweg 18, 55099 Mainz, Germany, or via Email to email@example.com (reference: “Autumn School 2015”). Successful candidates will be informed in early August.