Iconic Turns

posted by ush on 2010/03/14 09:00

[ Call for Abstracts ]

Iconic Turns: Nation and Religion in Eastern European Cinema since 1989 - Münster 06/10

Dr. Liliya Berezhnaya, Dr. Christian Schmitt (Cluster of Excellence 'Religion and Politics', University of Münster)
18.06.2010-20.06.2010, Münster
Deadline: 31.03.2010

The conference Iconic Turns will explore the multiple connections of religious and national identities in Eastern European countries after the turn of 1989. The cinema, at the center of the continuous production of 'imagined communities', will serve as our focus, both as a powerful image-machine and a site of collective practices. Films provide images, myths and narratives that pertain to the construction of collective identities. For example, a film might discuss how to relate to Europe as a space, suggest suitable historical narratives, or propose national heroes and heroines. In the context of Eastern Europe post 1989, cinematic attempts to imagine the nation are often linked to religious traditions. Not only do the concepts of 'nation' and 'religion' gain new importance in the post-communist era, but they also create productive and sometimes conflictual interactions.

These interactions deserve a closer look from both a historical and a (film-)analytical perspective. We are equally interested in the common features of these interactions, as well as in the differences between Eastern European countries ways of relating nation and religion. From this perspective, the political turn of 1989 can be understood as an 'iconic turn' as well that relates nation to religion in new filmic configurations, pictures and narrations, thereby preparing these configurations for means of collective identifications.

Papers might deal with (but are not limited to) the following questions:

  • How important are religious practices, traditions and iconographies for specific Eastern European nations - e.g. Russia, Poland, the Baltic States, Hungary?
  • In which ways are national and religious identities constructed and how do they support each other? Which role do religious symbols play in post-imperialistic and post-totalitarian discourses and how is this reflected in movies?
  • Which iconographic traditions, myths and narrative procedures do specific films rely on to connect national and religious discourses? Which specific eras, events and characters are most suitable for narrations of the nation?
  • Which theories of identification, identity and imagination can be useful to reflect on the relations between national and religious forms of 'iconographic politics'?
  • Which impact does the churches' institutional agency have on cinematic business and its products?
In order that these questions can be explored in an interdisciplinary fashion, the conference will seek to bring together scholars working in a variety of different fields, including History, Theology, Literature and Film Studies. The results of the conference will be published.

Conference language: English.

Proposals for a 30 minute paper (ca. 200 words) should be sent to Liliya Berezhnaya (lbere_01@uni-muenster.de) or Christian Schmitt (schmittc@uni-muenster.de) by 31st March 2010, including a short bio/CV and a list of publications.


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