CfP: “Rethinking Cultural Memory 1700-1850”

Copenhagen University, 4-5 December 2015

The Nordic Association for Romantic Studies (NARS) is pleased to announce the Call for Papers for the international conference Rethinking Cultural Memory 1700-1850. The conference will take place at Copenhagen University, Denmark, Friday 4 – Saturday 5 December 2015. Deadline for paper proposals is 1 July 2015. Plenary speakers are William St Clair, Ann Rigney, Susanna Petterson and Joep Leerssen.

The period 1700-1850 saw the birth of the modern nation state and of the concept of national/regional identities based on ethnicity, language, cultural memory, and literary heritage. The romantic and post-romantic era in Europe was a watershed when a neglected vernacular heritage was processed from one medium to another. Poetry, novels, and painting were created on the basis of old manuscript or oral traditions. At the same time, historical and antiquarian scholarship began to place new emphasis on the idea of vernacular traditions. In what sense was the collecting of ancient tradition an ‘invention’ conceived from within a romantic paradigm? How does it affect understandings of national traditions today?


Plenary speakers are William St Clair (Senior Research Fellow, University of London), author of The Reading Nation in the Romantic Period ; Ann Rigney (University of Utrecht), convenor of Utrecht Memory Studies and NITMES (Network in Transnational Memory Studies); Joep Leerssen (University of Amsterdam), Coordinator of SPIN (Study Platform on Interlocking Nationalisms); Susanna Pettersson (Director of the Finnish National Gallery), Studies in museology. 


The conference seeks to engage with a wide range of approaches and therefore invite proposals from disciplines including (but not limited to) literary and art history, antiquarianism, museology, theatre, and cultural history.
Possible topics include:

– Visual arts and the culture of memory
– Romantic artists and their construction of national ‘memory’. What were the exchanges? What were the competitions? 
– Analyses of Europe’s bibliographic networks (personal correspondence, international booksellers, smuggled books, translations, adaptations etc.).
– The dissemination of interest in the past across European borders. What constituted the cultural transfers?
– Intermediality between cultural fields, various media, or intellectual and artistic expressions
– The regional context of using the past to construct ideas of community (as a challenge to the ‘national’).
– The remediation of medieval manuscripts in new literary, historical, pictorial, and theatrical works,
– The revival of folkish forms – ballads, folklore, songs, mythology. 
– The grey area between genuine historical reconstruction and forgery. 

Proposal ideas that extend beyond these thematic areas are also welcome.


Proposals are invited for paper presentations (20 minutes), panels, workshops/interactive sessions. The conference will be in English.
Please send the following information to culturalmemory@hum.ku.dk:

— Paper title and abstract/proposal for either individual paper (max. 300 words) or panel (max. 500 words)
— Brief vita or biography (max. one page)
— Complete personal information: name, department, academic affiliation (if any), and email address.

Deadline: 1 July 2015. Please note that the conference will offer several venues for publication of revised and peer-reviewed papers.
Three travel bursaries of €250 are available for PhD students or postdocs. Application information is available on the conference webpage.

To learn more about the conference, including speakers, session formats, venue, registration and hotels in Copenhagen, see http://rethinkingculturalmemory.ku.dk/.

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