Call for Proposals for Trans-Aesthetics Conference: Crossing Central Europe

Conference at the Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies, University of Alberta April 2-4, 2012

bridges vol. 31, October 2011 / Noteworthy Information

For centuries, Central Europe has been a hybrid space of communication where cultural features have become interwoven beyond nationalities, ethnicities, or the passage of time. Rail-way stations, schoolhouses, as well as the theatres designed by the famous Viennese architects Helmer and Fellner are only a few of many examples indicating a cartography of over-lapping aesthetic manifestations specific to Central Europe. At the conference of the Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies, which will take place at the University of Alberta April 2–4, 2012, scholars will engage in a crossing of historical and transcultural perspectives on aesthetic overlap.

Based on recent studies demonstrating strong transcultural interrelations in the fields of literature, music, art history, and architecture prevalent in the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy, the conference will approach the following questions: Is this transcultural legacy still current in Central Europe today, after the fall of the so-called Iron Curtain? Can specific motives, topics, ways of writing, composing, or painting be identified as typical for this region? Can we prove something such as a “longue durée” (Braudel) in these interrelations or has this regional nexus lost its efficacy in times of globalization? Finally, do continuities and frictions elicit a long-lasting memory?

The interdisciplinary conference addresses scholars from literary and film studies as well as from musicology, history, art history, and architecture, and will be composed of three sections:


{access view=guest}Access to the full article is free, but requires you to register. Registration is simple and quick – all we need is your name and a valid e-mail address. We appreciate your interest in bridges.{/access} {access view=!guest} The first section focuses on the historical framework and investigates transcultural interrelations in the 19th and early 20th centuries. First studies in this field indicate a complex transethnic network of ideas or motifs spreading throughout the region, thus demonstrating the inadequacy of a solely nationally bound perspective in cultural studies.

Building on this foundation, section two discusses interrelations in the late 20th and 21st centuries. Can we still trace transnational as well as regional connections and correlations despite the phenomenon of globalization with its electronic mass media and its intensified migration?

Finally, the third section intersects with the first sections in scrutinizing the ramifications of the fall of the Iron Curtain. How deeply did it influence cultural interrelations? Can we speak of an effective rupture or, better yet, of continuities? Was it really the physical political border that affected literature, film, music, and art or was this border merely a phantasm?

The conference will be held in English. Proposals (200–250 words) and short biographic in-formation should be submitted no later than October 31, 2011, to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. {/access}