The organising committee of the conference invites proposals for presentations at the CECT Eight Annual Conference. Interested participants are encouraged to think about how their work addresses any of the following themes listed below.

Panel I: Time and space

Although Aristotle saw chronos and topos as complementary entities that are related through praxis as well as phronesis, in disciplinarily based cultural research temporal and spatial issues are often treated separately. However, there are several theorists who have made attempts to develop a more synthesised approach to spatio-temporal aspects of culture, either by coming up with concepts that simultaneously embrace space and time (for example Mikhail Bakhtin’s notion of ‘chronotope’) or by suggesting concepts that enable us to consider both temporal as well as spatial dimensions of particular socio-cultural practices (for example Henri Lefebvre’s ‘rhythmanalysis’). Chronos and topos as entities tend to decontextualise the historically contingent, chronos and topos as the symptoms and intuitions of a culture bring back the specificity and oddity of the particular.

In this panel, we encourage participants to focus on concepts that enable them to examine time and space as two intermingling categories/aspects/dimensions in cultural analysis and to reflect upon how a syncretic approach to these concepts enables us to intertwine the viewpoints of different disciplines in cultural research. We welcome papers from various cultural research fields that theorise the spatiality of time and the temporality of space.
We invite researchers to reflect on time-space constellations in culture and ponder upon how to use concepts based on time/space to define objects in cultural studies; in addition we invite thoughts on how these conceptualisations relate to the objects and subjects in cultural research; and on how time and space are moulded by lived practices and how everyday experiences shape time and space.

We also call for papers that dwell on constructing temporality, processuality and on the dynamics of spaces and places. How ephemerality of places and spaces is constructed through activities, events and media (different technologies, different genres)? How different constellations of temporality may exist in one place, and different spatialities may emerge at the same instant? We are also interested in hearing from researchers who consider questions of how memories and narratives construct continuities as well as discontinuities of place and how places of remembering evoke memories. In addition, we welcome papers that analyse the role of the rhythms of contemporary life in creating temporary places.

Panel II: Nature and culture

This panel is arranged around the general question of how humans organise the physical, emotional and intellectual spaces in which they live. The aim is to discuss the bridges/divides between the understandings of culture and nature and their spatiality and temporality by tackling the spatiality of cultural phenomena across disciplinary boundaries.

How is the idea of nature constructed by the culture that constructs this idea, and who gains and who loses when conflicting ideas of nature meet? What kinds of object are considered natural, and according to which criteria? How do science and technology modify our understandings of nature, creativity and culture? Are we ‘at home’ in our nature-culture? Is there a promise or hope in our ideas of nature? How are the present and the future of nature conceptualised?

Environment and environmental crises, sustainability and preservation, development and ecosystemic balance – debates around the space of culture and the place of nature in various cultures are warmly welcomed as well as culture-nature negotiations on a more balanced basis. What kinds of myth and figurations, contemplations and practices are we weaving together in our daily interactions with human and non-human others? Forging links that relate our lives to the world around us is equivalent to establishing meaningfulness between ourselves and the world. Do we, humans, have specific responsibilities toward the rest of the nature?

Panel III: Borders and centres

The panel aims to study cultural borders and wants to explore which cultural indicators provide a basis upon which to draw borders in and between cultures. Cultures are structured with multiple borders making cultures comprehensible and understandable, but are borders the only means to define cultures? How are centres related to borders? How is power and authority distributed and negotiated in the interplay between centres and margins? Are borders determining symptoms of a culture or are they merely projections made from emic and etic perspectives?

Borders may separate cultures, but serve at the same time as the meeting place of ideas. Is border itself a culture area, a line drawn by power, natural boundaries or abstract symbols? Who are the centring agents and who is responsible for the effects of cultural, political and individual centres? The functioning of culture can be approached as a continuous negotiation of borders, as an attempt to define itself and its surroundings, to create meaning and interpretations. Flows of people, metaphors, information and things can build the walls around the centres, as well as maintain connections between the centres and borders. Data-collectors and interpreters are as needed as imaginative participants-observers from every field of culture to create apprehensions and hopes of alternative futures.

Temporal, geographical and symbolic borders in culture are never static but in continuous change in time and space. Borders are areas that substantially contribute to the dynamics of culture: shifting and moving borders can be seen to be basic processes of cultural innovation. Margins of a culture tend to be places where the shortcomings and failures of a culture come to the foreground. Yet centres and centring agencies (like science, technology, medicine, universities, etc.) need constant input from their borders.

Panel IV: Dominants and alternatives

The general aim of the panel is to conceptualise the power relations between discourses. The main emphasis is on vernacular discourses (alternative in relation to dominant discourses) and the internal and external power relations of vernacular discourse. In this context discourse can be understood as a system of meanings that is taken from a specific cultural chronotope and very often represents an anonymous point of view. The fact that discourse is connected with a point of view allows us to study different discursive relations in the framework of (re)producing power relations.

In culture there are various ways to construct social realities: institutionalisation, classification, delimitation, etc. If we imply that power is first and foremost a relationship then we can ask the following questions: In what way are the previously mentioned modes of constructing reality intertwined with power relations? What kind of dynamics, tension, dialogue, etc. exists inside the power relations between alternative and official discourses? Do different discursive mechanisms create specific forms of subordination and what is the most fruitful way to typologise them? How can we distinguish alternative discourses from public and dominant discourses? Is it possible to map the general logic of the dynamics of official and alternative discourses?


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