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Seminar, "The Power of Nostalgia", Utrecht

Seminar at ACLA, July 6-9, 2017

Utrecht University, The Power of Nostalgia

Nostalgia, although “at the very core of the modern condition,” in Svetlana Boym’s words, is often seen as a retreat into the idealized past, an unproductive response to the unfulfilling present. This view persists in scholarly discussions, despite recent attempts to move towards a more positive view of nostalgia.

This seminar is a continuation of such efforts. It seeks papers that oppose the dismissal of nostalgia as an unproductive concept, with a specific focus on the literature and culture from countries with recent communist pasts. The seminar will engage with the concepts of Ostalgie and Yugonostalgia alongside less researched nostalgias from other parts of the world. How is the category of nostalgia useful in scholarly discourses? Is it more useful in post-communist countries? How can research on nostalgia help us understand the present? Can nostalgia help us transform the future? Can it bring political change?

The proposed papers might consider—but are not limited to—the relationship of nostalgia and politics
-nostalgia and the past, the present, and the future
-generational transmission of nostalgia, nostalgia and the unlived experience
-nostalgia and place and space
-nostalgia and utopia
-nostalgia and materiality
-nostalgia and homelessness, displacement, belonging
-nostalgia and globalization, authenticity
-nostalgia and music
-nostalgia and memory, remembering, trauma
-nostalgia and melancholia, melancholy

Proposals that include comparative analyses of the phenomenon of nostalgia, and combine countries, regions, disciplines, generations, and genres are especially encouraged.

The proposals should be submitted via the ACLA website from September 1 to September 23, but the presenters are encouraged to contact the seminar organizer prior to formally submitting their proposals. For more informationa about the ACLA annual meeting and the format of the seminars, please check http://www.acla.org/ annual-meeting

Please contact sanja.ivanov@mail.utoronto.ca if you have any questions.

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Sanja Ivanov
PhD student
Centre for Comparative Literature
University of Toronto​
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