[Previous message][Next message][Back to index]
[ecrea] cfp - GFF 2017: Realities and World Building
Sun Jan 15 22:31:42 GMT 2017
GFF 2017: Realities and World Building
University of Vienna, September20^th -23^rd 2017
The creation and experience of “new” worlds is a central appeal
of the fantastic. From Middle Earth to variations of the Final Frontier,
the fantastic provides a seemingly infinite number of fantastic “worlds”
and world concepts. It develops and varies social and cultural systems,
ideologies, biological and climatic conditions, cosmologies and
different time periods. Its potential and self-conception between the
possible and the impossible offer perspectives to nearly every field of
The plurality and concurrent existence of different, even
contradictory concepts of reality is an established topos in cultural
and social sciences. In a similar fashion, scientific narratives can
simultaneously coexist with fantastic ones within the cultural network
of meaning – without creating an existential antagonism between them.
The reason for that is not that one of these narratives is true while
the other is not, but – following Hayden White, who assumed that
scientific and literary narratives have more in common than not –
because both of them are fictional. If a fantastic narrative is
internally consistent, it is in a Wittgensteinian sense as true as
Newton’s laws. This poses an existential problem for the fantastic: if
it applies to every consistent narrative, what is the defining
difference between fantastic and other narratives?
In our everyday practice, however, we seem to easily distinguish
the fantastic from other aspects of reality. How is that possible? How
can fantastic worlds emerge within and besides other multiple
world-conceptions? What are the functions of fantastic worlds in the
construction of reality? In designating texts as fantastic, we
explicitly assert their fictitious character. Which practices do we
employ to facilitate this designation?
We call narratives fantastic that violate our common reality
consensus, thus establishing their own counter-reality consensus – in
other words, a different world. This is done in different ways, thereby
defining fantastic genres: for example, science fiction uses key motives
like objects and cultural practices (interstellar travels,
wormhole-generators, etc.) for world-building that belong to a realm of
conceivable future possibility. While the modern scientific reality
consensus does not categorically preclude beaming, it does deny the very
possibility of a demon summoning.
In order to serve as a foil to the real, the fantastic has to
play an ambiguous role: key motives of its multiple worlds have to be
recognizable as imaginary, but at the same time at least some of these
elements have to be linked with common reality consensus. A typical
strategy for achieving this ambiguity is the incorporation of cultural
practices that remind us of established perceptions of history, most
prominently perhaps the European Middle Ages. Thus, a perceptible
distance between the narrative and the recipient’s common reality
consensus gets established, while using parts of this very consensus to
render the narrative comprehensible.
Wolfgang Iser considers the “fictive” to be an intentional act,
and the “imaginary” the recipient’s conception of the fictionalization’s
effects. World Building is part of every narrative, but as a result of
variable cultural contexts, every narrative is involved in different
modes of production and perception. The conference aims to emphasize and
reflect these very acts of fictionalizationused to build fantastic
worlds – in different media, and on theoretical as well as
Stefan Ekman (University of Gothenburg, Sweden)
Farah Mendlesohn (University of Stafford, UK)
·Intermedia (and media-specific) features and indicators of fantastic
worlds in film, TV, literature, (digital) games, etc.
·How does the extradiegetic constitute fantastic worlds and vice versa?
Social and cultural systems, ideologies, biological and climatic
conditions, cosmologies, etc.
·World-building methods and practices: reflections on economic and
technical resources; transparent world-building (Making-ofs,
exhibitions, interviews, etc.)
·Construction plans: sourcebooks, world editors, Table-Tops, miniatures,
·We are of course open to further suggestions. The conference will also
feature an “Open Track” for presentations beyond the scope of this CFP.
The GFF awards two stipends to students to help finance traveling costs
(250 Euro each). Please indicate if you would like to be considered.
CALL HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO February 28th 2017: please send short bio &
abstracts (500 words max.) to (thomas.walach /at/ univie.ac.at)
<mailto:(thomas.walach /at/ univie.ac.at)>
This mailing list is a free service offered by Nico Carpentier. Please
use it responsibly and wisely.
To subscribe or unsubscribe, please visit http://commlist.org/
Before sending a posting request, please always read the guidelines at
To contact the mailing list manager:
Email: (nico.carpentier /at/ vub.ac.be)
[Previous message][Next message][Back to index]