The workshop, hosted by the School of Arts and Humanities at Nottingham Trent University, focuses on the intersections between memory, nostalgia and melancholy in contemporary culture, characterised by relentless mobility and radical displacement. Numerous critics of globalisation, transnationalism and cosmopolitanism have posited an overwhelming feeling of homelessness not only among people who have been displaced from their original home/lands, but also among those who feel estranged from their places of origin due to rapid social change or environmental decline. ‘Only the exiled have a land’, Baudrillard argued. ‘The others are nomads chasing their shadows in the deserts of culture’ (1990: 83). Arguably, homesickness is prevalent in today’s developed world, which can be—and sometimes indeed is—felt even for times and places unrelated to someone’s personal roots.
Home/land has no stable meaning and is always socially constructed, enacted and reproduced through everyday life practices and creative endeavour. This discursive homebuilding involves active memory work, and is typically associated with a nostalgic or melancholic mindset. Both linked to emotional disorders and often conflated in everyday parlance, the terms nostalgia and melancholy have distinct genealogies and have indeed been theorised as related, overlapping or semantically opposed to one another.
The following list of possible questions to be addressed is neither restrictive nor exhaustive:
- What are the interpretations of nostalgia and melancholy in different discursive and disciplinary fields?
- What is the relationship between longing and belonging?
- What is the poetics and politics of imaginative home-building?
- What is the interplay between nostalgia and melancholy?
- How are either or both of them represented, enacted and consumed in cultural texts across a variety of media and genres?
- Can either or both be mobilised to engender political and social change?
- Are either or both of them symptoms of, or cure for social problems related to globalisation and social change?
- Is the notion of a ‘forward-looking’ memory of home an oxymoron or a viable scenario?
- What are the spatio-temporal coordinates of nostalgic yearning?
- How does nostalgic yearning for ‘homeland’ relate to concrete ambitions to achieve territorial gain?
The language of the workshop is English. Contributions are invited, which build on original research, engage with relevant theories and contribute conceptual insights across a range of academic disciplines, including literary and cultural studies, anthropology, history, geography, heritage studies and memory studies.
A selection of papers will be solicited for publication in an edited monograph.
Selected speakers will be notified via email by Friday 3 April and will be able to register for the workshop.
Registration is free of charge. Participants are responsible for their own travel and accommodation expenses. Pending room availability, participants will be offered a 10% discount on current online prices in any of Maistra’s hotels or resorts in Rovinj.