12–13 September 2013, Senate House, University of London
Keynote speakers include: Dr Kate Macdonald (Ghent University, Belgium) and Professor Nicola Humble (University of Roehampton, London)
There must be but one detective – that is, but one protagonist – one deus ex machina.
(S.S. Van dine, Rule 9, ‘Twenty Rules for Writing Detective Stories’, 1928)
My private belief, as I think I have mentioned before, is that Jeeves doesn’t have to open doors. He’s like one of those birds in India who bung their astral bodies about … Only some such theory will account for the fact that he’s not there one moment and is there the next. He just seems to float from Spot A to Spot B like some form of gas.
(P.G. Wodehouse, Right Ho, Jeeves, 1934)
‘Fading and Emerging: Tracing the Mainstream in Literature and Popular Culture’, the second annual Marginalised Mainstream conference, seeks to explore the issue of fading and emerging in culturally significant popular forms that have been subject to critical marginalisation. How does the mainstream itself foster fading and emerging? How are vanishing and appearance dealt with in popular narratives?
In literature, characters fade into the background or erupt onto the page with sudden violence to affect the plot. The deus ex machina is a staple of thrillers, but where else (and how) is it incorporated? Cinema and photography have offered a unique space to experiment with the concept of fading and vanishing, both literally and figuratively, but also traces and mirages – pressing half images against the psyche invites shadows in and encourages us to see what was never there (think Hitchcock’s Psycho). Metaphors, such as dawn and twilight, shadows and pools of light, abound. Such devices have been used in storytelling since the popular myths of the ancient world. This conference seeks to understand their significance.
We invite submissions from postgraduate students, early career academics and established researchers working in the fields of literature, cultural studies and elsewhere in the humanities to answer these questions and beyond. The aims of this conference strive not only to consider fading and emerging as aspects of narrative but also outside of the fictive world: how and where are trends and fads begun? Why are icons so attractive? What sparks crazes, new styles and popular movements in storytelling, fashion or music? And what is the cause of the more recent trend of remaking and rebooting older films and franchises?
These issues are often the subject of academic marginalisation, which begs the question: what trends can we see in academia? What causes a subject to fall out of favour? And why do so many academics fall prey to the idea that something is only worth studying after it has fully emerged?
We invite proposals for papers on any aspect of the theme of fading and emerging that could include, but are not limited to:
- Fictional traces
- Appearances and apparitions
- Vanishing and waning
- Wallflowers and supporting characters
- Thresholds, closets, windows
- Deus ex machina
- Fade-in, fade-out
- Styles, trends and movements
- Generic inception/genesis
- Fads and crazes
- Failure and success
- The icon – the ‘It’ girl, the ‘It’ film
- Popular re-emergence
- Re-reading, re-viewing and revising
- Remakes and reboots
It goes without saying that writers, texts or topics need not be canonical. In addition, we actively encourage papers discussing writers, texts and visual media that engage with mainstream cultures from around the world.
Panels will follow the format of three 20-minute papers followed by questions.
Abstracts of no more than 350 words are invited by Friday 17th May 2013. Acceptances will be sent out by Monday 17th June 2013. Please email abstracts and a cover sheet including your name, university, contact information, plus a brief biographical paragraph about your academic interests or any enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Conference organisers: Brittain Bright, Emma Grundy Haigh and Sam Goodman
For the printable version of this CFP, click here.