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CfP: Memory, Mediation, Remediation: An International Conference on Memory in Literature and Film

Wilfrid Laurier University Celebrates 100 Years

Memory, Mediation, Remediation: An International Conference on Memory in Literature and Film

April 28-30, 2011

Memory Studies has recently been established as one of the most urgent contemporary interdisciplinary fields.  Wilfrid Laurier University’s Department of English and Film Studies is hosting an international conference on the theme of “Memory, Mediation, Remediation” as part of the university’s 100th year celebration. The conference examines   not merely the representation and redefining of memory (and history, and nostalgia, etc.) in both literary and filmic texts, but also the question of the degree to which either individual or social memory gets constituted, legitimized and ‘naturalized’ through narrative or visual media forms. Ultimately, this conference hopes to provide a venue for the exploration of literature and cinema as themselves veritable modes of memory, in the shape of allusion, adaptation, remediation, translation, intertextuality, and appropriation.

Today, the word ‘memory’ acts as a catch-all for: (a) the process of recollection or retrieval; (b) the form or ‘place’ in which memory-content is both stored and lost (the archive); and (c) the mnemic content itself, what is commonly referred to as a ‘memory’. This imprecision is exacerbated by the confusion and conflation of personal ‘natural’ memory and forms of collective ‘cultural memory’ which as often as not is another way of talking about ‘history.’ Modern theorists of memory recognize that in speaking of memory one is describing not a unitary subjective phenomenon but a grouping of cognitive functions – or, in terms more amenable to this conference, a constellation of interconnected metaphors. These metaphors continue to be both familiar and powerful, most notably in terms of modernity’s stubborn insistence on memory’s spatial nature.

This conference seeks to extend the exploration of received modes and theories of the representation of memory to a consideration of 21st century globalized values and ideas. ‘Collective,’ ‘social’ or ‘cultural’ memory are not new ideas, but we would encourage exploration what it means to think of  ‘culture’ itself as a global memory system; as both source of and storehouse for a society’s most cherished values, ideals, and ideologies.

Papers might address such questions/topics as:

  • How do specific instances of individual or collective/cultural memory get represented in film and/or literature across cultures or borders?
  • Transnational or transcultural memory
  • Prosthetic or post-memory
  • Modernist vs. Postmodernist memory
  • Links among recollection, nostalgia, and loss
  • Memory and trauma
  • Memory and the body
  • Memory and gender or genre
  • How has the representation of memory changed since the Middle Ages, with the advent of the age of technical or, now, digital reproducibility?
  • memory since the invention of cinema
  • memory since the Holocaust
  • memory since 9/11

Please send a 500 word proposal and a one-page cv by August 16, 2010 to:

Russ Kilbourn or Eleanor Ty
Department of English and Film Studies
Wilfrid Laurier University
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3C5

Featured Speakers include:

Marlene Kadar, York University
Co-editor of Photographs, Histories, Meanings (Palgrave 2009) and Tracing the Autobiographical (Life Writing) (Wilfrid Laurier University Press 2005)

Alison Landsberg, George Mason University
Author of Prosthetic Memory: The Transformation of American Remembrance in the Age of Mass Culture (Columbia University Press 2004)

Sarah Henstra, Ryerson University
Author of The Counter-Memorial Impulse in Twentieth Century English Fiction (Palgrave 2009)

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