Monthly Archives: April 2013

Fading and Emerging: Marginalised Mainstream 2013 CFP


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
  • Cross-referentiality/intertextuality
  • Revelations/concealment
  • Appearances and apparitions
  • Vanishing and waning
  • Dawn/twilight
  • 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

Conference organisers: Brittain Bright, Emma Grundy Haigh and Sam Goodman

For the printable version of this CFP, click here.

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External CFP: Legacy: Mythology and Authenticity in the Humanities, 28 June 2013

This conference, to be held at De Montfort University, looks especially interesting because it comes from Elizabeth Penner, one of the delegates from Marginalised Mainstream 2012, whose paper was on Boys’ Own Paper. Contact details for where to send your abstract are at the bottom of this post.

Legacy: Mythology and Authenticity in the Humanities, 28 June 2013

This conference focuses on the influence of cultural ‘legacies’ within current humanities research.  By highlighting the work of postgraduates and early career researchers, this interdisciplinary conference will examine the various ways in which ‘legacies’ are created, restructured, perpetuated and even rejected.  It will also question whether newer disciplines respond to cultural mythologies by establishing their own ‘legacy’ as a means of achieving academic authentication.

The recent confirmed identity of Richard the III, Faber’s choice of cover illustration for its anniversary issue of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, and the recent film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit are just a few of the numerous examples that demonstrate how cultural legacies evolve within academic research and the public forum.

These inherited cultural legacies are continually being redefined, rebranded and reevaluated, creating a cyclical pattern that challenges the ways in which we approach and define them.  This brings into question the social and political significance of ‘legacy’ and its relevance within the humanities, both as a research theme and as a lens by which to view the progression of our respective disciplines.

The conference will conclude with a roundtable discussion with Professor Dominic Shellard the Vice-Chancellor of De Montfort University, Dr Will Buckingham of the School of Humanities at De Montfort University, and Mr Sam Causer of the Leicester School of Architecture.

We invite 20–minute papers from early career academics, post-doctoral researchers and doctoral students which might address, though not limited to, the following areas:

  • Folkloric ‘legends’ and the academic ‘legacy’
  • The creation of oral and written legends
  • National identity and institutional ‘legacies’
  • The development of individual, theoretical, and collective ‘legacies’
  •  ‘Legacy’ and institutional validation
  • Obedience and Iconoclasm towards ‘legacy’ in contemporary humanities studies
  • ‘Legacy’ and the curated archive

Please email abstracts, of not more than 200 words, along with a short biographical statement to Anna Blackwell and Elizabeth Penner by 30 April 2013.

Official Website:
Conference Fee: £15 including lunch and refreshments

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The Marginalised Mainstream 2 is coming!

The second annual Marginalised Mainstream conference will be held on 12–13 September 2013, once again at Senate House, University of London.  Our theme this year is “Fading and Emerging”; our CFP will be available on the website and on Senate House’s site in the next few days.  We’re very excited, and hope to see familiar faces there as well as plenty of new ones!

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