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Abstracts

Keynote Lectures

“Migration and Modernity: On Studying the Relations Between the United States and Sweden,” Dag Blanck (Uppsala University)

This paper is a part of an ongoing project of Swedish-American relations during the past two centuries. It argues that two aspects—migration and modernity---are particularly important for understanding the Swedish-American relationship. It will both address the concepts themselves and empirically explore how they can be understood. Empirically I will draw on extensive work done on the history of Swedish-American migration and on the construction of images of each other in the respective countries.
Although the Swedish-American relationship can be seen as asymmetrical in terms of, for example, military and cultural power, I also seek to underscore its mutuality and dual nature. Flows of individuals and ideas have traveled back and forth across the Atlantic, linking the countries together in particular ways.

“Intertextual Spaces: Reconfiguring American Imaginaries in Contemporary Spinoff Fiction,” Birgit Spengler (Goethe-University)

Rewritings, prequels, sequels, historical biofiction, fan fiction, and biopics: The proliferation of literary and transmedia appropriations of the icons of the past is a ubiquitous feature of contemporary Western culture that deserves further attention. Using extensive rewritings of classic works of American literature as an example, Spengler suggests that such forms of re-visioning perform important and timely cultural work by contributing to processes of (national) self-definition and reconceptualizations of the imagined community that constitutes the United States. It is particularly the juxtaposition and interpenetration of discursive spaces that are opened up through the intertextual strategies of literary spinoffs and through an intertextual reading practice that can foster the dissolution of such conceptual boundaries. Spengler’s talk will illustrate this by reading the intertextual space opened up through Cynthia Ozick’s engagement with Henry James in her recent novel Foreign Bodies as an exploration of individual, communal, and conceptual borders that transforms Jamesian “crises of perception” (Brosch) into a reflection of more contemporary crises. These crises are themselves related to borders and boundaries of various kinds, among them national borders at times of globalization, the boundaries between self and other, and the dangers of an increasing enclosure of a “commons of the mind” (Boyle) through a progressive depreciation of the public domain.

“Memory, Tourism, and Defensive Design: The 9/11 Memorial/Museum and the Rebuilding of Ground Zero in New York,” Marita Sturken (New York University)

Ground Zero in New York, the site of the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, has been rebuilt over the last decade as a site of commerce, memorialization, tourism, and architectural showcases. With the opening of the 9/11 Museum in May 2014 and the Santiago Calatrava-designed “Oculus” transportation hub in March 2016, the site is nearing a semblance of completion more than 15 years after 9/11. The rebuilding of lower Manhattan is about architecture, defensive design, nationalist politics, and mourning/memory, and it is also about the construction of narratives of American Empire, national resilience, and survival. This talk looks at the complex politics of the 9/11 Museum, now a primary tourist destination in the city, in relation to the defensive/security architecture constructed around it at Ground Zero. It situates this particular site in relation to the broader global implications of the post-9/11 era of American culture.

Panel 1. Preserving U.S. History, Memorializing Shame (1/2)

This panel will explore recent partisan attempts to sanitize U.S. history and present potential methods of preserving historical truth in response to such attempts. A prime example of historical sanitization comes from the Texas Board of Education, which has headlined the news several times in the last five years for its controversial moves to control the content of textbooks. Among other content changes, several dishonorable events and moments in U.S. history have been rearticulated in these textbooks in a manner that conceals the destruction of lives and livelihoods. For instance, in one textbook currently in circulation, slaves are referred to as “workers from Africa” and McCarthyism is rationalized. Presenters on this panel will either interrogate particular instances of historical sanitization or explore examples of recent efforts to preserve and memorialize the more egregious moments of U.S. history. Examples may be drawn from educational efforts, public campaigns, social media, print publications, or visual representations, including such things as political cartoons, museums, and monuments. (Melissa Bender, panel chair)

“History, Memory, Shame: Performance Projects by Guillermo Gomez-Peña,” Eva Zetterman (University of Gothenburg)

When the Republican candidate Donald Trump, in campaigning for the U.S. presidency, expresses his negative opinions of Mexican-Americans and promises to build a wall along the Mexican-American border, a relatively recent period of U.S. history and its repercussions are transformed into shameful memories, even oblivion. The Mexican-American war in the mid 19th century that ended with a new borderline between Mexico and the USA moved further south meant that Mexicans living north of the new border both lost their Mexican citizenship and were disconnected from their family and relatives south of the border. Since then, Mexican Americans and Chicanas/os have been treated as second-class U.S. citizens and been subjects of ethnic and racial discriminations while generations of Mexicans crossing the new border are defined ‘illegal aliens’.
How can memories of this historical geopolitical process when the Mexican nation state lost half of its geographical territory and its sociocultural consequences for Mexican Americans and Chicanas/os in U.S. society be articulated and expressed? Can memorializing shame be used as means of voicing protests against oblivion of border history? Since the 1960s and 70s with the rise of the Chicano Civil Rights Movement, experiences of ethnic discrimination in U.S. society as part of U.S. history have been visually expressed by Mexican Americans and Chicana/os in various forms of visual art. This paper presents a case study of performances of history, memories and shame in collaborative projects from the 1970s to the 2010s by Chicano artist Guillermo Gomez-Peña.

“Inherited Wars and Global Wars: The Representation of The United States at War at Presidential Libraries and Museums,” Klara Stephanie Szlezák (Passau University)

Warfare is a constant in American presidential history: from the inception of the nation to the Indian Wars and the Civil War in the 19th Century to the many wars fought in the 20th and 21st centuries–too numerous to list here–, war has been a steady companion to the leading men in the White House. The treatment of these wars in public history, naturally, is a thorny issue, as sentiments of patriotism and the desire to gloss over darker chapters (may) collide with interrogations into legitimization and responsibility. This paper will take a closer look at various presidential libraries in the United States and at the ways in which they address the wars fought under the very presidents that these libraries were built to memorialize and honor. Presidential libraries are multi-purpose institutions that try to serve simultaneously as tourist attractions, memorials, museums, archives, and research facilities. As such, they not only store documents but also preserve a version of history and thus shape cultural memory. In this paper I will explore two case studies: first, the ways in which the Vietnam War is displayed at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum at Boston, MA, and at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library at Austin, TX; second, the way in which the “War on Terror” is displayed at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. As will be shown, their websites, exhibition practices, and museum narratives suggest a way of dealing with war that is marked by euphemism, evasiveness, and distraction.

“Japanese American Internment Memorials and the Narrative of National Identity,” Melissa Bender (University of California, Davis)

While national memorial sites typically aim to confirm a dominant narrative of national identity, monuments to the more shameful episodes of history serve as interruptions in that narrative; such is the case with Japanese American Internment memorials in the United States. Under Executive Order 9066 (Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1942), nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans were evacuated from their homes and detained in internment camps for as long as four years. Since in the 1980s, when reparations were granted to those who had been held in the camps, a number of exhibits, monuments, and memorial sites have been established throughout the United States in order to preserve this historical episode. In this presentation, I feature three of those sites: the Bainbridge Island Japanese Memorial, an evacuation port; the Fresno Assembly Center, a temporary holding site; and the Manzanar Relocation Camp. I examine the delivery media (the mechanisms through which visitors are guided through the history of the site) as elements of visual rhetoric that preserve history but also aim to persuade visitors of the artificiality of the dominant narrative of national identity.

Panel 2. War and Sports in Literature

“The New Messiah of the Battlefields”: Embodiment as Discursive Strategy in Dalton Trumbo’s Johnny Got His Gun,” Wade Bell (University of Gothenburg)

The proposed paper will discuss the discursive significance of the body in Dalton Trumbo’s classic anti-war novel, Johnny Got His Gun. With its political rants, depictions of working-class life, symbolic imagery, and vivid descriptions of the dismembered torso of its protagonist, Johnny invokes many questions concerning the role that historical forces play in influencing the way we conceptualize the body, as well as how one might use the image of the body to subvert oppressive hierarchies of power.
The novel, which is said to have been based on the true story of a World War I amputee, tells the story of Joe Bonham, a working-class soldier who survives an explosion that costs him his arms, legs and face; as well as his ability to see, speak, hear, eat and breath for himself. As Joe struggles to regain a sense of agency and autonomy in the world, he begins identifying himself as part of a long tradition of “little guys” who are exploited and silenced by those in power. Through a series of stream of consciousness rants, hallucinations and flashbacks, the human body emerges as our primary vehicle for being-in-the-world, as well as the figurative weight that grounds us in it. Following this logic, human freedom and autonomy appear to be curtailed by our own corporeal limitations, coupled with our involvement in a world of oppressive hierarchal systems and reified social relations.
Building on the works of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Mikhail Bakhtin, Georg Lukacs, Martha Nussbaum and others, the proposed paper will reveal a dialectic at work within Johnny between what can best be described as the phenomenal, the reified, and the grotesque body. While the phenomenal (or lived) body of Merleau- Ponty’s philosophy emphasizes relative autonomy and embodied subjectivity, the reified body represents humankind in a completely objectified state. My analysis will illustrate how Johnny Got His Gun creates a tension between these two conceptions of corporeity, while employing grotesque realism–a subversive literary mode utilizing the degraded image of the body–to inspire change in the real world. In doing so, I hope to emphasize how Joe Bonham’s final wish–to use his war ravaged flesh as a subversive tool, thus becoming “the new messiah of the battlefields”– is fulfilled as the text enters the social sphere.

“Still Running Strong: Homosexuality, Sports, and Gay Marriage in Patricia Nell Warren’s The Front Runner,” Nikolai Endres (Western Kentucky University)

When the United States Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage last year, it was hailed as a civil rights achievement comparable to Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade. President Barack Obama himself made that connection in his second inaugural address, linking Seneca Falls, Selma, and Stonewall as the great trilogy of empowerment. There is no doubt that the gay and lesbian rights movement has made great strides, especially in North America and Western Europe (unfortunately, in some African and Middle Eastern countries, the trend goes the other way). And while some of the most conservative pillars of American society have been quite welcoming to homosexuals (such as the military and several churches), one taboo remains: homosexuality and athletics. I therefore want to look at a text that has received little attention in academia (although it has a huge gay following) but that dealt, as early as 1974, with homosexuality, sports, and marriage. Patricia Nell Warren’s The Front Runner shows how Billy, the runner, and Harlan, his coach, negotiate a successful relationship that transcends their asymmetry, a romanticized notion of gay marriage: “We saw it simply as a formal public declaration of our love for each other, of our belief in the beauty and worth of this love, of our intention to live together openly, of our rejections of heterosexuality.” Openly gay Billy wins a gold medal at the Montreal Olympics but then tragedy strikes. Having overcome the hostility of the media, of athletic institutions (including the International Olympic Committee), of fellow athletes, and of politicians, he is felled by a fundamentalist Christian. Over forty years ago, Warren struggled with volatile issues that seem far from settled nowadays: student/coach relationships, homophobia in sports, religious extremism, media stereotypes, and more. The Front Runner should therefore make a great contribution toward the conference’s interest in linking historical and contemporary perspectives. Nowadays openly gay athletes can get married, but can they also win?

“The Ugly Smell of Nortoniensis: Hawthorne’s Septimius and the Civil War,” Magnus Ullén (Karlstad University)

This paper reads “Septimius Norton”, Hawthorne’s unfinished romance about a young man who in the midst of the Revolutionary War seeks to distill an elixir of life, as an allegory of the American Civil War. More specifically, it sets the romance in relation to the broadsides of the New England Loyal Publication Society, whose secretary was Charles Eliot Norton. Norton was also a member of the Saturday Club, the informal social gathering that counted as members most of the cultural elite of Boston at the time, Hawthorne included. A closer view of the contents of these dispatches, many of which were written by Norton himself, gives us a sense of the “ugly smell” that Hawthorne in a key scene of the story associates with that singular flower the protagonist of the story hopes will enable him to realize his pursuit of an elixir of life. The aggressively pro-Union attitude expressed by Norton and others in the broadsides reflected very much the prevalent mood at the time, a circumstance that should be taken into account when considering the fragmentary form of Hawthorne’s romance and the complex cultural work it can be said to be designed to carry out. Arguably, its unfinished form can be seen as an attempt on Hawthorne’s part to turn the constraints of the situation – in which an audience for imaginative writing would seem to have all but disappeared – into an aid for the message of restraint he sought to convey in the hour of violent crisis.

Panel 3. The Treatment of History in Canadian Literature (1/2)

The panel aims at showing how Canadian history might appear in fiction, poetry and drama as well as in documentary form. It concerns stories from the First Nations, the pioneer and colonisation period as well as the effects of different ethnic origins on Canadian lives. In this context it is of special interest to see how Swedish immigrants settled and were integrated in Canadian society. Another field of investigation is the literary formation of concepts like survival, garrison mentality and the bush garden against the background of Canadian history. (Britta Olinder, panel chair)

“Swedes in Canada: Making the Invisible Visible through Diaries and Letters,” Jane Mattisson Ekstam (Østfold University College)

My paper discusses the contribution of archival evidence to our understanding of Swedish immigration to Canada from the eighteenth century to the present day. Based on Elinor Barr’s recently published Swedes in Canada. Invisible Immigrants (Toronto University Press, 2015), my presentation follows Barr’s ten-year project and in particular, her exploration of the question ‘why were Swedish immigrants to Canada invisible?’ Swedes in Canada explores the accounts and records left behind by both the early and later immigrants, who were not only copious letter and diary writers but who also took numerous photographs as well as made detailed sketches of their homes and the surrounding countryside. The stories told by the documents are deeply personal and extremely poignant. Some of the archival material comes from the author’s own collection (Elinor Barr’s paternal grandfather was Swedish).
The fifteen chapters of Barr’s study cover topics as diverse as the history of emigration from Sweden, the two world wars, earning a living, “Swedishness” in Canada, language, writing stories and novels, discrimination and assimilation, and emerging visibility. Swedes in Canada is the first comprehensive study of Swedish immigration to Canada. Elinor Barr is also the first researcher to put together archival material from across the country and to make it publicly available (all records used in the compilation of Swedes in Canada are stored at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg).
Barr concludes that Swedish immigrants in Canada are no longer invisible. Their contributions to Canadian public life and culture are considerable and their memory lives on not only in the various societies that preserve Swedish traditions and in the courses on Sweden and Canada taught at Canadian universities but also in the pages of Barr’s fine study. What are the memories and how are they visible today? My paper addresses these important questions, drawing examples from Swedes in Canada.

“Documenting Oral History, Memory, and Lessons in Truth Telling – Nadia McLaren’s Muffins For Granny, and Tim Wolochatiuk’s We Were Children,” Sabrina Völz (Leuphana University of Lüneburg)

Residential schools are one of the most horrifying chapters in recent Canadian history. Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, the Canadian government began to investigate residential schools as a way of furthering the assimilation of First Nations’ children, but by the 1920s, school attendance had become mandatory for all indigenous children in Canada, and residential schools the preferred alternative. As a result, over 100,000 indigenous children were taken from their families and communities and placed in mostly off-reserve schools which sought to “kill the Indian and save the Man” or in this case child through conversion to Christianity, coerced assimilation, paternalism as well as the propagation of Euro- Canadian values.
Appearing in 2008, Nadia McLaren’s participatory documentary, Muffins for Granny: Stories From Survivors of the Canadian Residential School System, fuses interviews with six First Nations’ elders with creative Native interludes as well as the director’s home movies of her own alcoholic, but loving Ojibway grandmother. Tim Wolochatiuk’s We Were Children (2012) also fosters historical understanding of Canadian history through indigenous ways of knowing and storytelling. Using reflexive modes of documentary filmmaking and re-enactments, this major film tells the stories of Glen Anaquod and Lyna Hart, two residential school survivors. Although their documentary styles are quite different, both films share similar themes: tender recollections of happy childhoods in First Nation communities, the separation trauma, residential school curriculum and life, abuse in many forms, intergenerational violence as well as renewal and healing. Building on the work of Bill Nichols, I will explore the innovative filmmaking style of these films, discuss the cinematic representation of oral history and the survivors’ conflicted identities as they seek to overcome their past and challenge the ‘master’ narrative.

With Rogers on the Frontier. Canadian and American history in J.M. Oxley’s juvenile literature,” Luana Salvarani (University of Parma)

James Macdonald Oxley (1855-1907), a maritime lawyer from Halifax who wrote over 300 juvenile novels and short stories, is generally dismissed as a typical nineteenth-century edifying writer, depicting stereotypical boy-heroes and representing Canada under the usual angle of a charming but primitive land of wilderness, ready and eager to be civilized by the Britons. A closer reading shows great liveliness and accuracy in depicting Canadian history (Fife and drum at Louisburg, With Rogers on the Frontier, The Wreckers of Sable Island) or daily life in Hudson’s Bay Company posts (Fergus McTavish); but also a noteworthy sensibility in reading American historical events - as the Civil War in Terry’s Trials and Triumphs - as seen through the eyes of a Canadian boy. Oxley’s narratives are marked by a genuine pleasure for adventure, exploration and cultural exchange, and as a result they provide some answers to the question posed by Perry Nodelman in 1997: “What’s Canadian about Canadian children's literature?”. Moreover, his writing, while heavily drawing upon the British and New Englander tradition in juvenile fiction, tried to create - and to stabilize through serial repetition of characters and situations - a distinct and original “Nova Scotia” style.

Panel 4. Reproducing Differently: Representations of Reproduction and Reproductive Technologies in North American Speculative Fiction

Reproduction, far from being simply a matter of the private choices of individuals, is a public, even national concern. Questions of who reproduces with whom, and how, are legally, medically, socially and culturally framed in inescapable ways. The scope of experimentation, exploration and extrapolation that works of speculative fiction provide enable them to expose, examine and explode these frames in numerous ways.
Speculative fiction, as an umbrella term encompassing works in different media as well as in diverse genres such as science fiction and fantasy as well as works that resist or play with such genre borders, has a long history of engaging with reproductive technologies. This trope or theme can be traced back at least to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and if fantastic literature in the form of fairy tales and mythic tales are included, we are dealing with traditions that are thousands of years old.
This panel will explore the ways in which works of speculative fiction in North America in the 20th and 21st century imagine forms of reproduction and reproductive technology that fall outside of the conventional processes of conception and reproduction as well as discuss how reproduction is connected to questions of power, identity, nation and family in these texts. While these themes have been important in speculative fiction for a long time, they are currently being reinterpreted or reinvented and this panel will explore both lines of continuity and instances of change. (Jenny Bonnevier, panel chair)

“In the Womb of Utopia: Feminist Science Fiction and Reproductive Technology,” Jenny Bonnevier (Örebro University)

This paper will explore the ways in which reproductive technology is presented as a literary trope to promote, enable, or embody a desired social order in a utopian setting. It will deal primarily with four texts, Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness (1969), Joanna Russ’ The Female Man (1975), Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time (1976), and Joan Slonzcewski’s A Door into Ocean (1986).
In these feminist science fiction texts, written mainly during the era of second wave feminism, reproduction is a key element in the constructions of the future, or alternative, societies that the reader encounters. They are clearly rooted in a feminist understanding of power that sees the organization of both reproductive and child-care labor as central to analyses of patriarchal structures, as well as to any attempts to re-imagine those structures. How reproduction figures in these narratives varies, however, and these variation can tell us much about how reproduction figures in both feminist theories and in the cultural narratives of a specific time and place. The specific variations that will be explored in the paper concern the differently conceived relationships between sexuality and reproduction, between gender and reproduction and between child-care labor and reproduction. The discussion will draw on theoretical perspectives in kinship studies that see the forming of kinship and families as a form of “cultural technology” (Carol Singley on the work of Marilyn Strathern) and which thus opens these relationships to critical examination. Finally, this paper will also address the question of what potential, or potential power, these narratives of reproduction have specifically as feminist utopias.

“‘The Children are our future’. Reproduction and Rebellion in Dystopian Young Adult Fiction,” Maria Nilson (Linnaeus University)

After the success of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, young adult fiction has been flooded with dystopian novels that have become very popular. In book after book strong female protagonists are struggling to free their loved ones from oppressive societies in a post-apocalyptic world.
Several of these dystopian novels discuss reproduction in different ways. In a time where a large portion of Earth’s population is destroyed, a hope for humanity lies with the birth of a new generation. This dilemma is discussed in different ways in dystopian young adult fiction. In novels like Anna Carey’s Eve, Moira Young’s Dustland-series and Amy Ewing’s The Jewel the heroine becomes in a way a hostage, forced into being a kind of “reproduction machine” thus ensuring the survival of our species. Several of these novels echo Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale in new and interesting ways and fighting for your bodily integrity becomes double-edged when faced with the responsibility to mankind.
In most texts (though not all of them) the need of personal choice, the refusal to be a “mother on demand” and the need of romantic love in order to reproduce are recurring but at the same time there are several examples of how “reproduction techniques” which in a “Shulamith Firestone-kind of way” tries to change society is labeled monstrous. Even if the young female protagonists protest against the demand that they reproduce, in several texts “motherhood” is almost seen as sacred and something to be protected against technology. In my paper I will touch on these issues with the help of several young adult novels.

“Strange matings” Hybridity and Miscegenation in Octavia Butler’s Fiction,” Maria Holmgren Troy (Karlstad University)

“Strange matings” is a quotation from African American science-fiction writer Octavia Butler’s fifth novel, Wild Seed (1980) – it also serves as the title of the second book to date entirely devoted to Butler’s work. Nothing could be more appropriate since there are intimate encounters between humans and different species in a number of her narratives from the Clayarks (a quadruped hybrid human-alien species) in her first published novel Patternmaster (1974) to the Ina (vampires) in her last novel, Fledgling (2005). The protagonist of this novel is a genetic experiment, a hybrid, whose African American ancestry is the solution to a problem but, at the same time, means that her family members are murdered due to enduring racist ideas originating in American slavery, which in this speculative novel has spread to another humanoid species. In many of her novels, Butler addresses the racist notion of miscegenation both literally and figuratively. Many of her main characters are what other characters often regard as miscegenated offspring; many are also placed in situations where they have to embrace, or at least accept, inter-species biological relations and reproduce differently in order to survive and possibly develop. In this paper, I will focus on how Butler portrays “strange matings” and imagines different family constellations for hybrid protagonists against the backdrop of American ideas of miscegenation.

Panel 5. The Treatment of History in Canadian Literature (2/2)

“Rita Mestokosho, Innu Poet in Multilingual Edition,” Françoise Sule and Christophe Prémat (Stockholm University)

In his Nobel speech (07-12-2008) Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio declared that “literature has become a way for the men and women in our time to express their identity, their right to speak and to be heard in all their diversity” and referred more specifically to the Innu poet Rita Mestokosho and to her fight for the preservation of a certain way of life. Rita Mestokosho is the first Innu poet to have published a collection of poems in Quebec, Eshi uapataman Nukum. Comment je perçois la vie, Grand-mère ( 1995). She lives in a reservation, in the Ekuanitshit community where she has developped an Innu cultural center working with cultural and educational projects. Her first language is Innu and French her second. “Writing in a language, in the French language is also a necessity. It enables us to reach a wider audience for telling our fears in a poetical way” as Rita Mestokosho explains it. We would like to show how Rita Mestokosho’s fight for the survival of her community reflects the rise of a political native awareness in Quebec and to give an insight into her life as her poems have now been published in a multilingual edition.

“Bernice Morgan and the Writing of Newfoundland History,” Gerd Bjørhovde (UiT the Arctic University of Norway)

The historical novel is often said to be “particularly prominent” in Canada (Martin Kuester in Nischik, ed. History of Literature in Canada (2008), p. 311), with writers like Margaret Laurence, Margaret Atwood, Rudy Wiebe, Timothy Findley, Robert Kroetsch and George Bowering frequently being used as examples demonstrating the strength of this genre in general and its postmodern version, historiographical metafiction, in particular.
However, there is a lacuna, a curious lack of references to Newfoundland writers and their treatment of the history of Newfoundland in these critical comments. Which is why I have chosen to focus on a Newfoundland writer who definitely deals with history, on both a micro and a macro level: In my paper I will argue that Bernice Morgan’s two-volume family saga of Newfoundland pioneers, Random Passage (1992) and Waiting for Time (1994), is both a classic historical novel dealing with the settlement and development of Newfoundland communities and fisheries from the early 19th to the late 20th century, and an advanced metafictional text problematizing both the writing of history and the significance of historical records and documentation.

“Historical Perspectives in Marian Engel’s Fiction,” Britta Olinder (University of Gothenburg)

History is strikingly present in some of Marian Engel’s novels, notably in Monodromos and Bear. In the former, centered in Cyprus, the shifting rulers and repeated colonisation by warriors and merchants from all over the Mediterranean and throughout the centuries, are made concretely present in the old town, while some of it appears in people’s manners and traditions. In Bear the past is the very prerequisite of Lou’s task, consisting in cataloguing the old library on Cary’s island, something that leads to various discoveries of historical architecture, various notes and traces of Canada’s colonial history.
What is special about Marian Engel’s treatment of history is how she makes it come alive as a part of the present experience of her characters. Not only is Audrey Moore in Monodromos set on discovering this ancient island but, infected by its atmosphere of glory mixed with decay, she realises that “this is some upland heartland, here where Venice and Araby and William Shakespeare meet: Illyria, lady” (5-6). To inspect and research the old colonel’s property, an early settlement up north in Canada, is Lou’s job in Bear, leading naturally to all kinds of discoveries, not only in the early 19th century library but the house itself with its old bear to look after, something “joyfully Elizabethan and exotic” (26). With the pioneering period in focus we also get a whiff of the much older history of the original inhabitants of the area.

Panel 6. Teaching American literature in Sweden

The panel explores the teaching and learning of American literature in the context of Swedish higher education. It invites presentations that treat different aspects of this topic, with particular focus on the premises for studies in the field and what these mean for how we envision and practise our profession. Questions that can be considered include, but are not limited to: How ought we to understand the function of studies in American literature in Swedish higher education? What characterizes the study of literature for (teacher) students of English in the country and what are the consequences thereof? What does it entail for the subject that Swedish research in American literature is expected to be on par with research produced in institutions of higher education in English-speaking countries, given that undergraduate studies of English in Sweden are offered within the framework of English for speakers of other languages (ESOL)? What are the conditions, in Sweden, for educating students in the field and how are literary studies best taught in the different stages of our students’ education? (Katherina Dodou, panel chair)

“Nikki Giovanni’s Poetry: A Creative Writing Perspective,” Maria Proitsaki (Mid Sweden University)

Nikki Giovanni is one of the most celebrated and controversial of contemporary American poets whose work can be used for teaching students to appreciate poetry and eventually write their own poems/texts. The orality of Giovanni's poetic language and the jazz quality of her lyric have proven popular and the straightforwardness and clarity that characterize her approach of her subject matter make her verse accessible. Moreover, the poems have an appeal because of the actuality of Giovanni’s poetic themes; they touch upon daily concerns, they are easy to appreciate and hence they tend to engage even readers unaccustomed to poetry. For these reasons, introducing the study of Giovanni’s work is a fine way to provide students with material that can contribute to a better understanding of and infuse further interest in contemporary poetry.
Approaches on Giovanni’s poems would involve aspects of poetry, American Literature and Culture, and/or creative writing. The aim would be to inspire students to move beyond the mere exploration of Giovanni’s poems and have them participate in creative writing. Lessons may be structured around different poetic aspects and can take various thematic directions. One could begin, as Carol Jago suggests in Nikki Giovanni in the Classroom: ”the same ol danger but a brand new pleasure” (1999), by bringing into focus the intersection of life and art, as realized in autobiographical writing. Background biographical information, Giovanni’s first person accounts and some of her most famous childhood poems can be brought in and in their intersection the students could consider the need to write about one’s life. Guidelines to creating verse or other texts may be examined, and students can be encouraged to write themselves, modeling their poems/texts after Giovanni’s own. Giovanni’s poetry for younger children and for teenagers lends itself well for such a project, where second language learners/teachers are involved.

“The Conversational Framework, Democratic Education, and the Pedagogic Design of Campus and Online Sessions in the American Literature Survey: A Case Study,” Iulian Cananau (University of Gävle)

This presentation attempts to probe the applicability of Diana Laurillard’s “conversational” model of collaborative learning to the teaching of the American Literature Survey at the University of Gävle. For the purpose of exemplification, I have selected a unit on race and gender representations in late nineteenth-century fiction, with a focus on Mark Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”, respectively. Given that the vast majority of students who take up this course are enrolled in the teacher training program, an important research question is how this pedagogic framework might contribute to developing and consolidating democratic values and practices in their future roles as high school teachers of English in Sweden. This aim converges with the curricular objective that civic values and attitudes should underpin the teaching of all subjects in the Swedish school system. The study is part of a project entitled “Democratic Vistas in the Classroom: Teaching American Literature in Swedish Higher Education”.

“Tacit knowledge made explicit: Teaching scholarly enquiry,” Katherina Dodou (Dalarna University)

The paper addresses the teaching and learning of the processes of knowledge production within the area of literary studies. It takes up the complexities of teaching American literature in Swedish higher education, including the definition of the academic subject of English and its interdisciplinary character (Benson, 2009), which quantitatively affects the education in literary studies that the students acquire and so has consequences for students’ repertoire in the subject area; the nature of the subject’s focus in Swedish academia where literary studies are offered within the framework of English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) as well as the intradisciplinary concern with the canon wars coupled with the tradition of teaching the curriculum, rather than teaching the processes of scholarly enquiry. The paper proceeds from the stipulation in the Higher Education Act that Swedish higher education should have a scholarly basis (SFS 1992:1434, 1 kap, 2§) and understands this to mean, not only proximity to researchers or to products of research (i.e. scholarship), which are the most commonly debated definitions of scholarly basis (see e.g. Axess 2015:2), but also the ways in which literary scholarship asks questions and answers them, assesses information, approaches and communicates knowledge (Björklund, 1991). Drawing on scientific theory and, in particular, scholarship on tacit knowledge (Kuhn, 1968; Liedman, 2001; Molander, 1996), as well as learning theories on the modelling of intended skills (Ramsden, 2003; Laurillard, 2012), the paper advocates the necessity of teaching the processes of scholarly enquiry to students of American literature from the very beginning of their studies.

Panel 7. Modernisms and Postmodernisms

“Black and Ashamed: Racial Shame in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man,” Zlatan Filipovic (University of Gothenburg)

This paper will argue that the primary expression of the traumatic experience that constitutes black American identity and its determination within the narrow orbit of white narrative is the affective experience of shame. Implicated in the racialized metaphysics of power relations that dominates Ellison’s world, shame foments the violence of internalized oppression and sets in motion contradictory desires that either move towards identification and mimicry or the self-valorizing practices of racial orthodoxy in nationalist movements. Both reproduce violence and reinforce the structures of invisibility that force black subjectivity underground. Shame, as the exposure of blackness under the white gaze, will here emerge as the contorted cry of history forced out of the violated, lashed, black body that haunts and conditions any perception of the present that would stabilize black identity. Using a range of discursive structures within which shame has been theorized, the paper will show its significance for our reading of invisibility in Ellison’s novel and its implications for the fact that race legislates for identity.

“Being American Geniuses Together in Europe in the 1920s: Robert McAlmon’s and Kay Boyle’s Being Geniuses Together and Rival True Stories of American Modernism in Exile,” Anna Linzie (Örebro University)

Kay Boyle’s supplementary edition (1968) of Robert McAlmon’s Being Geniuses Together (1938) is a self-deconstructive survey of the expatriate community of English and American writers and artists in Paris in the 1920s. Boyle’s version prompts questions about originality and autobiographical truth through the way in which her chapters are alternated with McAlmon’s chapters in a post-mortem “dialogue” or ghostwriting experiment and frequently seem to bracket or undermine his version of the “same” story. I am interested in the way in which self-writing and autobiography in general, and in particular experimental forms of collaborative, queer, or “mock” autobiography, have been used to conjure up supposedly True Stories of the Lost Generation and literary Modernism. Few crowds are as famous, as notorious, as surrounded by myth, as extensively written about in various more or less autobiographical texts, as the “in” crowd of writers, artists, critics and publishers in Paris in the 1920s. The story of Modernism, often a form of contemporary self-definition, has been told and retold and contested in a chorus of autobiographical and biographical discourses competing for the right to present the True Story. In my paper, I would like to explore how McAlmon and Boyle present their shared experiences of being American writers in exile in Europe in ways which are sometimes similar and sometimes widely divergent. This is yet another area of contention in Boyle’s 1968 edition where the two voices seem to be competing for dominance and the right to establish the truth.

“Peter Watts’ Blindsight and Echopraxia – a Speculative Thought Experiment on Philosophy/Theory of Mind in a Transhuman Future,” Mariusz Marszalski (University of Wroclaw)

Except for fundamental creationists, generations of people brought up on Darwin’s theories tend to agree that consciousness is an evolutionary phenomenon. Some narrowly hold it to be a faculty of the human mind alone, while others, following Alfred North Whitehead, would accept the idea of panpsychism that attributes to all living organisms a degree of not only perceptual but also mental awareness. Yet, however conscious our world as a whole might be, it was with the onset of humanity that consciousness acquired self-awareness. This huge evolutionary leap made humans what we are, but according to such transhumanists as Nick Bostrom, Ray Kurzweil or Katherine Hayles contemporary technological advancements make us capable of taking our evolution to still higher trans- and eventually posthuman levels of existence. Alongside an assembly of American writers like Linda Nagata, Greg Egan, Greg Bear, Dan Simmons, William Gibson or Bruce Sterling, Peter Watts, a Canadian SF author, depicts Earth’s civilization taking a transhuman ‘jump’ resulting not only in the process of internalization of technology in the human body, but also in transformations of human consciousness. The objective of the proposed paper is to expose the consequences of such a transformation in respect to both philosophy and theory of mind. Theory of mind is a fairly well-researched subject of developmental psychology, but only in reference to the hitherto existing human ontology. An ontological shift would have to involve a corresponding cognitive one; the question is whether in its wake we would still recognize ourselves as being human.

“The Neoliberal American Novel and the Music of Time,” Mihai Mindra (University of Bucharest)

Jennifer Egan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel A Visit From the Goon Squad (2010) represents a fictional critique of American Neoliberalism in a polychronic novelistic structure based on the rock music model of the 1970s concept album, i.e. a studio album whose different songs integrate one major theme. The concrete example Egan offered in an interview was The Who’s Tommy and Quadrophenia Live, a 3-disc DVD box set that includes the band’s performances in their 1989 (the Tommy portion) and 1996-1997 tours (the Quadrophenia portion), where each piece sounds differently but all the pieces collide into one story. In a suggestively similar manner each chapter of Egan’s book focuses on detail stories of characters engaged in the larger plot of the whole novel anchored in American music life, its technological and business aspects. The social background is upper middle class, the focalized characters/protagonists and plot core are determined by economics. The book consists of thirteen chapters that differ from each other in terms of narrative voice inflections and protagonists. However, they combine into one critical story of the evolution of the American society in the neoliberal era, which is fictionally represented as a period between the early 1980s and 2019. My paper discusses the interdisciplinary aspects of Egan’s cognitive processing of cultural, historical and political contexts rendered within the boundaries of her storyworlds, her translation of neoliberal globalization into narrative representations of specifically American time and space.

Panel 8. Cultural/Political Encounters

“Occupying the American Barracks: Political and Cultural Contact in Devil’s Island,” Jodie Childers (Queensborough Community College, CUNY)

During and following World War II, the US occupied countries throughout the world and has continued to maintain many of the military bases; yet, few American studies scholars have looked at these sites of contact from an interdisciplinary, transnational perspective, examining their cultural impact. On May 10th 1940, British troops invaded Iceland and were subsequently replaced by American troops on June 16th, 1941. As America was growing as a military power, Iceland was articulating its independence from Denmark: these two nations, one invested in military expansion, the other in national sovereignty, provide a particularly fascinating spatiotemporal point for comparative analysis.
In his 1996 Icelandic film Devil’s Island (based on the novels by Einar Kárason), Friðrik Þór Friðriksson places the story of an Icelandic multigenerational family within the abandoned US military barracks. In this paper, I examine how America is represented in the film as a military power and a cultural invader. I contextualize the film within the history of America’s occupation of Iceland during and following World War II, focusing on issues of military, economic, and cultural interchange, and I argue that in its ambivalent rendering of America as both ally and enemy, the film challenges notions of American exceptionalism and asserts Icelandic cultural independence but not isolation from America.

“Prioritizing the American Self: [The Operation of] Orientalist Cultural Hegemony in ELT Textbooks,” Zohreh Rahmin (University of Tehran)

Although it has reworked itself over the course of history, Orientalism’s major premises are still strong in America. From this vantage point, all the cultures of the world are secondary to that summit of all human civilization. All cultural practices, religious beliefs and ceremonies, habits and customs become the “other” to that perfect American way of life. But the vital concern is that this prioritization is not always exerted by force or active persuasion. In education, for instance, the operation of a subtle hegemonic discourse can convey the same interests in a secreted manner. English language textbooks, written for students whose first language is not English, can prove to be a fertile ground for the study of the operation of such a discourse.
Taking into consideration a specific textbook Cover to Cover as a case study, and analyzing it through the prism of major critical discourse analysis methods, the present paper wishes to uncover the Orientalist, racist and even sexist language and content of the material covered throughout this book. On the surface, it seems the lessons arranged in the book are intended to equip non-native students with the basic skills of mastering the English language through a wide variety of subjects and topics. For what seems to be the sake of variety, the authors have included a multitude of topics and subjects ranging from health and sports to invention and crimes, providing examples of specific individuals and cultural practices.
However, a closer study reveals that the texts all seem to have been written by writers who consciously observe all the various topics and subjects from a specifically American perspective. As a result, the readers of the texts are shown the outrageous, unnatural and in some instances foolishness of the non-American cultural practices and beliefs, and thus indirectly cultivate the hegemonic discourse of the superiority of Americans over all other nations, including the ones the students studying the book belongs to.
The major objective of the present study is to reveal how Orientalist cultural hegemony is at work in what appears to be an objective training course for foreign students in learning English. The author of the present paper proposes that the instructors/teachers can ‘write back’, primarily by realizing that they must detach their own voice from the voice of the authors. They can then unveil the functioning of the stereotypes of ‘self’ versus ‘other’ which basically polarize the discourse of the texts both conceptually and linguistically and thus move beyond the Orientalist cultural hegemony of such texts.

“The Stadium Experience: Contemporary Swedish Stadium Architecture and the Commercialization of Space,” Oskar Nordell (Uppsala University)

During the last decades a boom in stadium construction has been evident in Sweden. This latest generation of stadia shows a new focus on the visitor’s stadium experience, and the subsequent commodification and commercialization of architecture and space. The development – part of both a greater global trend of stadium construction, and a more specific European trend of the commercialization of stadium space – can in many ways be described as a continuance of the development of stadium architecture in the US, especially during the 1980s and -90s, but going back as far as the 1960s. This has not seldom been characterized as an ’americanization’ of the classic European stadium.
Throughout the 20th century Sweden has shown a great tradition of looking to the US for guidance and inspiration regarding a number of both general and more direct aspects in society, not least in architecture. But this inspiration has always been negotiated and adapted for Swedish conditions. At the same time major league sports and connected venues must be placed in the global contexts they currently are formed in. By analyzing Swedish stadium architecture and stadium spaces through a theoretical framework regarding mass consumption, globalization and migration of ideas, I aim to show that the development of the contemporary Swedish stadium is much more complex than a simple ’americanization’ of architecture and space. A borderland between Sweden and America can be identified, but must be placed within a wider and globally connected development.

“My uncle Tom’s cabin” – Fredrika Bremer’s emancipatory novel Hertha (1856) and America,” Åsa Arping (University of Gothenburg)

Fredrika Bremer (1801–1865) was Sweden’s first novel writer with a transatlantic reputation. The international breakthrough came with the epistolary novel The Neighbours, translated to half a dozen languages and a bestseller especially in England and the US, where Bremer was launched as ”the MISS AUSTIN of Sweden” (translator’s preface, 1842). Bremer became a celebrity in the US, a status that increased substantially when she visited the country for two years (1849–1851), and then published a travelogue in letter form, Homes of the New World. Impressions of America (1853–54).
All through her career Bremer engaged herself in the woman question. The emancipatory novel Hertha (1856), sometimes called the country’s first novel of ideas, caused a spiteful and mixed debate in Sweden. My paper will discuss the American reception, which has hitherto not been investigated. This response is especially interesting since the notion of America played a crucial part in the conception of the novel. At the time of publication Bremer called Hertha ”my uncle Tom’s cabin”, and the question is how the Americans, on the verge of civil war with the abolition of slavery as one key element, received and reacted to this plea for freedom, sent from Sweden – at the time one of Europe’s most partriarchal societies.

Panel 9. Preserving U.S. History, Memorializing Shame (2/2)

“Deep in the Heart of Dixie’s History Books,” Karma Waltonen (University of California, Davis)

An old saying claims that history is written by the winners. However, American history textbooks often cater to the losing side of America’s Civil War, by calling slaves “workers,” downplaying the role of slavery, and even arguing that blacks volunteered to fight for the Confederacy, despite strong historical consensus against these ideas. This paper explores the historical justification for whitewashing history to allow the South to reintegrate with the Union. It also looks at the current textbook controversy–a consequence of over a hundred years of Southern appeasement in history. This appeasement has led to Southerners with false ideas about history–ideas they wish to maintain and to pass down, despite postmodern moves to more accurately portray the War, its causes, its parties, and its legacy.

“Coming to Terms with the Confederacy,” David Goldfield (University of North Carolina, Charlotte)

Beginning in the early summer of 2015, communities across the South debated the public display of Confederate monuments, flags, and memorials. The massacre at Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston, SC on June 17 triggered these discussions. Two things became clear. First, though the media often presented the controversy as “Heritage vs. Hate,” the historical record is very clear that Confederate symbols in the public landscape of the South were erected to reinforce white supremacy. Second, these symbols are much less about a historical past, real or imagined, than about the particular time the monuments were erected and the flags flown. That is, it is as important to understand why successive generations of white southerners have used these symbols as markers for their power as it is to understand the historical roots of these symbols in the American Civil War. There have been two significant periods of activity in the South concerning the placement of memorials, monuments, and flags across the region. The first period, 1890-1910 coincided with the nadir of black life in the South, a time of disfranchisement, lynching, and segregation by law. The second period began in 1948, when the Dixiecrats – the breakaway southern wing of the national Democratic Party – used the battle flag as their symbol. The appearance of these flags multiplied during the 1950s and 1960s, culminating with the placement of the flag atop the Capitol dome in Columbia, South Carolina in 1962. A new chapter is emerging reflecting African American economic and political power in the urban South and business-sensitive legislators concerned about the image of their states and communities. The ultimate question is what to do with these symbols. There are three strategies currently under discussion: place them in a museum, keep them in public view for educational purposes and/or with accompanying explanatory markers, or just banish them altogether.

“Remembering and Re-marking Tragedy: The Mankato Sioux Hangings and the Sand Creek Massacre,” Roger L. Nichols (University of Arizona, Tucson)

In its first century after independence the U. S. fought “more than 20 wars” against the Indians. In most cases contemporaries saw the conflicts as the triumph of civilization over savagery, and early memorials echoed this theme. Rarely, did markers give much attention to the indigenous people, or how they remembered the events. The sharp rise in Indian activism during the 1960s and continuing assertiveness by tribal groups since then, has brought a gradual change in how historical plaques, monuments, and narratives represent Indian wars to the public.
My paper analyzes how new presentations of two past events–primarily the mass hanging of 38 Dakota Sioux men at Mankato, Minnesota in 1862, and to a lesser degree the Sand Creek Massacre in southeastern Colorado in 1864--demonstrate public ideas about them have changed. In Minnesota a Sioux elder and a local businessman worked to bring the sides together. After their efforts and Dakota agitation, in 1992 the city established Reconciliation Park with new markers honoring native people. At Sand Creek the process took until 1999 when archaeologists found the battle site. Cheyenne and Arapaho participants worked with the National Park Service preserve it. In 2007 it became a part of the parks system. Today new monuments at both sites represent efforts to share the memories and meanings of the events for people from both societies.

Panel 10. Comics and Media in America: The Big Two and their Shadows

“City and the Postmodern Chronotope in Moore’s Watchmen and Miller’s Sin City,” Adnan Mahmutovic (Stockholm University)

The present paper seeks to analyse two of the most famous comic creations in terms of their representations of modern industrial cities, Alan Moore’s Watchmen and Frank Miller’s Sin City. Published respectively by a major house (DC) and an independent press (Dark Horse), these works have both changed the industry, creating new territories for creativity as well as marketability.
I argue that both authors partly perpetuate what Achile Mbembe calls “an antiurban ideology that has consistently perceived the industrial city … as a cesspool of vice,” at the same time as their aesthetics of the city create what Paul Smethurst calls “the postmodern chronotope,” which “acts as a kind of Weltanschaung – a time-space map of the contemporary world.” If, in a deterministic universe, heroes and heroines are given their starting points before they become established in their environment, I argue that the postmodern chronotope of the cities in the selected comics serves to establish the environment as the raison d’etre, and not just a starting point, for the characters. There is a strong sense of the present as a network connecting points across historical time, which in Moore’s case even includes the future.
Researcher’s bio: Dr. Adnan Mahmutovic is a literature scholar and fiction writer. His works include Authenticity and Community, Thinner than a Hair and How to Fare Well and Stay Fair. Together with prof. Frank Bramlett and Dr. Francesco Ursini he edited the special issue of ImageTexT 8 (2) entitled Which side are you on? The worlds of Grant Morrison. They are currently working on a volume of articles entitled Future in Comics, which will collect papers presented at the conference held in Stockholm in 2015.

“Weird Wild West: The Last of the American Comic Book Westerns,” Joshua Abraham Kopin (University of Texas, Austin)

In the 1940s and early 1950s, during the “golden age” of American comic books, the Western flourished alongside other genres like crime, horror, and romance. By the late 1950s, however, the comic Western had begun to fade, replaced by television and the reemergence of the superhero in comic books, a moment which marks the beginning of the “silver age” of American comics. The marginalization of the Western as a genre caused its producers to move underground, where cartoonists like Jack Jackson produced comic book histories of Texas, and the comics themselves became increasingly weird, as in Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s religio-Western Preacher. This talk argues that the move towards the double genre (the history Western, the weird Western, and so on), which made Westerns well matched for independent comic book publishers and specialized imprints, and the overall marginalization of the Western as a dominant American cultural form was precipitated by the failure of the masculine ideal of the white cowboy, which began to weaken during the War in Vietnam and broke down entirely by the mid-1970s. Moreover, as questions about the legitimacy of American imperial projects became more mainstream, comics creators strove either to explain how such expansion happened or to depict just how bizarre the project of westward expansion sounded to post-Sixties readers reorienting themselves towards a multicultural world.

“Joker TV: Intermedial Configurations and Transgression in Batman: Arkham Asylum,” Johan Nilsson (Örebro University)

This paper explores medial relationships actualized by various media representations of DC Comics’ famous supervillain, the Joker. A recurring trope in Joker narratives, going back to his very first appearance in DC Comics Batman #1 (1940), involves him using media to spread his brand of terror across Gotham City. While the previous research on the Joker has sometimes noted the character’s transmedial travels, none has dealt extensively with the recurring placement of him in relation to specific media technologies and formats. Further, as such the character is an exemplary case for contributing to the contemporary discourse on intermediality. The present paper argues that the Joker exemplifies how intermedial references (c.f. Rajewsky, 2005) can simultaneously cue a sense of immersion and have a destabilizing effect on the actual experience of spectatorship. The analyses put emphasis on moments of what Tina Kendall (2010) has called “a spatial and temporal layering of representational forms” (190), which here specifically refers to moments when the Joker is represented on, in, or alongside television.

“The Superhero Comic Book as Multi-Purpose Medium, 1970s-2010s,” Felix Brinker (John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies, Free University of Berlin)

Drawing on the results of archival research, this paper contrasts the shifting functions of non-narrative elements (i.e. advertisements, editorials, letters pages) in Marvel superhero comics of the late 1970s and the 2010s. While the typical 34 pages-long comic book might have featured up to 16 pages of such content during the mid-1970s, the last decades witnessed their gradual reduction and a concurrent shift to high- quality paper stock (as well as, more recently, to digital publication). This development, I argue, amounts to a transformation of the format from (in Marshall McLuhan’s terms) a “cool” medium (that offers multiple avenues for engaging with it) to a “hot” one that demands a focused investment in its narrative content. To make this argument, my paper contrasts various non-narrative elements from 1970s Marvel titles with their contemporary counterparts, and focuses on the kind of reader engagement that these elements allow. Centrally, it argues that 1970s superhero comics were multi-purpose media that fulfilled several different functions besides carrying narrative content: Among other things, they also served as mail-order comics catalogues (by including listings of back-issues), as forums for the moderated exchange between producers and consumers (via editorials and letters pages), and as entry-points for an engagement with a professionalized fan culture (through advertisements for fan conventions and specialty stores). Since the 1990s, however, the format has reduced these functions and undergone a transformation towards a medium defined primarily through its storytelling capacities–a change that reflects the format’s shifting status within an increasingly digitized media landscape.

Sidansvarig: Fredrik Fällman|Sidan uppdaterades: 2016-09-22
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