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Dreaming Things

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Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Object Worlds and Dream Cultures

Dingwelten und Traumkulturen in interdisziplinärer Perspektive

Perspectives interdisciplinaires sur les mondes des objets et les cultures du rêve

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Published on Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Summary

While the close interconnection between the universe of things (expanding in a commodity-shaped way), the dream and its reflection in arts and media may be considered a founding trope of European modernity around 1900, the extension of our focus on pre-modern contexts and transcultural constellations in the present opens up new perspectives on connections between object cultures and dream cultures.

Announcement

DFG-funded Research Training Group "European Dream Cultures" (GRK 2021)

Saarbrücken, Saarland University

  • International Conference for Early Career Researchers from the 10th to the 12th of October 2022
  • Deadline for applications: 31th of March 2022

Argument

According to statistics we find at the beginning of the 21st century an average of 10,000 objects in households of the Western world – a rising trend. This expansion of the sphere of personal material possessions is the result of a historical process in which the invention, production, circulation and consumption of things as commodities have been made permanent, exerting a deep impact on individual and collective life worlds. However, not only this quantitative expansion, but also different ways of using things generate specific cultures of material objects. For some time now, these object cultures are an important topic of research in various academic fields. Last but not least, the rapidly advancing interconnection between devices and machines in digital networks ("Internet of Things") is often regarded as evidence that artefacts have finally quitted their status as passive objects and may henceforth be counted among the active and acting subjects.

Nevertheless, it remains a striking fact that the cultural life of things is commonly associated with the waking world and its utilitarian routines: Surely, it is no coincidence that we speak of everyday objects or items of daily use. However, imaginations about objects developing a life of their own as soon as human vigilance slackens, are deeply entrenched in a 'magical' conception of reality. This 'magical' conception of the material world goes back to early cultures and still shapes the 'unconscious' side of human-thing-relations, albeit in disguised form, such as the often-cited "malice of the object". For a transdisciplinary and cross-epochal research on this somewhat obscure history of thing-related imaginations, the dream aesthetics developed in literature, visual arts, music, theatre and film hold a potential that has so far only been rudimentarily exploited. Our conference aims to explore the question of how material cultures, aesthetically mediated dream representations and theoretical dream discourses mutually model each other and how they react to changes in one of the other fields. While the close interconnection between the universe of things (expanding in a commodity-shaped way), the dream and its reflection in arts and media may be considered a founding trope of European modernity around 1900, the extension of our focus on pre-modern contexts and transcultural constellations in the present opens up new perspectives on connections between object cultures and dream cultures. A few guiding questions – which are certainly to be supplemented – can only provide a small inside into the possible range of topics:

  • How is the liminal situation between the waking world and the realm of sleep and dream orchestrated with objects in different historical and cultural contexts? How is this liminal situation reflected in aesthetic dream representations?
  • How are designations and descriptions of objects in 'canonical' dream texts (e.g. biblical-mythological dream visions) adapted to various local object cultures and how do they gain an imaginative shape?
  • How can the performative dimension of objects be used in a genre- and media-specific way to evoke the alterity of the nightmare or dream event?
  • How does the complex concept of objects in psychological dream analysis relate to the repertoire of things in popular "dream key" compendia?

Following the interdisciplinary and intermedia concept of the Research Training Group, this call is addressed to early career researchers (doctoral candidates and postdoctoral researchers) from the disciplines of art, cultural studies, theatre, film, media, music and literary studies, as well as history, philosophy and other related fields.

Submission guidelines

Please submit your proposal (not exceeding 400 words) for a 20 minutes talk in German, French or English as a PDF file to traumkulturen@uni-saarland.de by the 31th of March 2022. Please include a short CV and (if existing) your list of publications.

The languages spoken at the conference will be German, French and English. Following the conference, we plan to include the contributions in an anthology.

Scientific committee

  • Joachim Rees
  • Hannah Steurer

Event format

Full on-site event


Date(s)

  • Thursday, March 31, 2022

Keywords

  • Traum, Dingkultur, rêve, objet

Contact(s)

  • Hannah Steurer
    courriel : traumkulturen [at] uni-saarland [dot] de

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Hannah Steurer
    courriel : traumkulturen [at] uni-saarland [dot] de

License

CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Dreaming Things », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, January 26, 2022, https://calenda.org/955910

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