Call for Posters: Neue Perspektiven auf die Imagologie

Meine Posts werden in letzter Zeit seltener. Das liegt zu keinem geringen Teil an der sehr zeitintensiven Vorbereitung der Konferenz „New Perspectives on Imagology“ (3.-4. April 2018), die ich mit Kolleginnen von der Abteilung für Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft der Universität Wien organisiere. Wir haben auf unseren Call for Papers so regen Zuspruch erhalten, dass wir uns dazu entschlossen haben, auch noch eine Poster Session unterzubringen. Zum einen soll so den „Absagen“, unter denen sich zum Teil sehr gute Abstracts befinden, eine Teilnahme in anderer Form ermöglicht werden; zum anderen möchten wir damit aber auch gezielt jüngere Studierende bzw. angehende „Forscher*innen“ ansprechen und ihnen die Möglichkeit geben, aktiv an einer internationalen Konferenz teilzunehmen.

Present your Poster!

Have you ever thought about presenting one of your first (a term paper, a group presentation in a seminar, your BA thesis) or not so first (your MA thesis, PhD project) research results in the form of a poster at an international conference? If you have written (or write) a paper concerned with self-images and processes of othering, national and/or cultural stereotypes in literature, probably even in conjunction with categories like race, ethnicity, class, gender, age, religion etc., we would like to invite you to present a poster at our conference on New Perspectives on Imagology, taking place in Vienna on April 3-5, 2018.

If you like the idea of presenting a poster at our conference, but keep asking yourself „imagology, what the heck?“, then read on. It’s not nearly as complicated as it sounds and quite a few of you have probably practiced ‘undeclared imagology’ at some point. The subfield of comparative literature that goes by the name of imagology can be translated as image studies, image in the sense of a stereotype rather than a visible impression. It dedicates itself to the critical analysis of national and cultural images/stereotypes, for example: How come that Harry Potter is said to literally incarnate Britishness? Where is the link between Bertha’s ‘madness’ and her creole ethnicity as perceived by the white, English, female author Charlotte Brontë? In which ways did Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (re-)produce and consolidate the idea of Africa as ‘the dark continent’? Why is it that Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin Stories evoked an image of sexually and politically liberal Weimar Berlin that continued to attract writers and artists throughout the 20th century – from David Bowie to Darryl Pinckney? What images and projections are connected to the frozen land behind the Wall in Game of Thrones?

To sum up: The aim of imagology is to examine the literary image of another country, culture or ethnic group. „Newer perspectives“ might also have a look at how these literary images intersect with categories like gender, sex, race, class, nationality, age, religion etc. Furthermore, imagology investigates the roles of stereotypes in the transnational literary field. Images of the other certainly tell us something about others but perhaps even more about the self-image of their producers.

In case we have sparked your imagological interest, here’s what to do next:

  1. Suggest a poster idea! Write an informal email to –please include your full name or names, field/stage of study and a short description of the topic you would like to present in the form of a poster. Let us know your ideas as soon as possible, but no later than March 11, 2018
  2. Design your poster! Both proprietary and open source software can be used to make a research poster. Microsoft Power Point is a popular and easily accessible software to use. You find quite a few tutorials on Youtube. However, you could also make a collage, cut and glue your way up or down to your conclusions. No limits are placed on your creativity but, please, keep in mind that the conference language is English!
  3. Print your poster! The printout should be 841mm wide x 1189mm high (DIN A0). Please, take it to the conference location on April 3 (registration desk). We need to charge you with a small conference fee of EUR 10,– that will cover admission to the conference, participation in all sessions as well as refreshments and snacks during breaks.
  4. Present your poster! On one of the three conference days (we’ll let you know in due course) there will be a time slot within which you (and several colleagues) will be able to present your poster. The posters will be pinned to display panels and, ideally, you stand next to yours and, whenever someone gets closer, take your chance and explain your project, discuss it, answer questions, make new friends…

Still need some inspiration? Here are a few links to some additional sources that might help you to find out more about our conference, imagology, “the world according to Donald Trump” (yes, that’s imagology too, in a way…) and about the genre of a ‚poster‘ in academia:

We are very much looking forward to your poster ideas!

Katharina Edtstadler, Sandra Folie, Andrea Kreuter, Sophie Mayr, and Gianna Zocco for the Department of Comparative Literature, University of Vienna

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