Report on the Contemporary Austrian Literature, Film and Culture International Conference

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As announced in earlier blog posts, an international conference on Contemporary Austrian Literature, Film and Culture was hosted by the Department of German Studies, University of Nottingham, on 13-15 April 2015. The conference was organised by Dr Katya Krylova, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the Department of German Studies, and was sponsored by the Leverhulme Trust, the Austrian Cultural Forum London and the University of Nottingham.

The conference was concerned with literature, film and cultural production in Austria over the past thirty years, a period that has been one of great transformation in Austrian society, with the beginning of the Waldheim affair nearly thirty years ago marking the start of the belated process of confronting the country’s National Socialist past. This year is one that is rich in anniversaries of significance for Austria. Today (27 April 2015) marks seventy years since the founding of the Second Republic. May will mark seventy years since the end of the Second World War in Europe, as well as sixty years since the signing of Staatsvertrag [Austrian State Treaty]. The beginning of 2015 marked twenty years since Austria’s entry into the European Union, as well as fifteen years since the entry of Jörg Haider’s Austrian Freedom Party into the Austrian coalition government. These historical events have all been deeply significant for Austrian identity and the way that Austria sees itself and its place in the world. And nowhere has this been better reflected than in the work of Austrian writers, filmmakers and cultural practitioners, who have been at the forefront of responding to the shifts that the country has undergone, whether in their writing, films and other works. These writers, filmmakers and cultural practitioners were the focus of the three-day international conference on Contemporary Austrian Literature, Film and Culture.

Delegates at the conference

Delegates at the conference

The conference included three keynote lectures from Professor Allyson Fiddler (University of Lancaster), Professor Jonathan Long (University of Durham), and Professor Dagmar C. G. Lorenz (University of Illinois at Chicago). Professor Dagmar C. G. Lorenz (UIC) opened the conference with a keynote lecture about cosmopolitanism and the Vienna-“Orient” connection in Austrian literature and film since 1945. On the second day of the conference, Professor Jonathan Long (Durham) gave a keynote lecture about the enduring genre of Austrian Heimatphotographie [homeland photography]. On the third day of the conference, Professor Allyson Fiddler (Lancaster) spoke about street protest and civic resistance following the entry of the Austrian Freedom Party into the Austrian coalition government in the year 2000.

In addition to the keynote lectures, a total of twenty-four papers were presented at the conference by speakers from the UK, the United States, Canada, Austria, Germany, Italy and Hungary. The conference also featured film screenings and Q&As with two award-winning Austrian documentary filmmakers: Dr Ruth Beckermann (Vienna) and Dr Frederick Baker (Cambridge). Ruth Beckermann has been making documentary films in Austria for over three decades. On the second day of the conference, we had the opportunity to see her most recent award-winning film, Those Who Go Those Who Stay (2013), and to discuss the film with the director in the Q&A afterwards. This film screening was generously supported by the Austrian Cultural Forum London. On the final day of the conference, we had the opportunity to view the Austrian-British filmmaker Frederick Baker’s film Widerstand in Haiderland [Resistance in Haider Country] (2010), a film reflecting on the protest movement in Austria, which arose following the election of the radical right-wing Austrian Freedom Party into the coalition government in 2000. Again, this film sparked a great discussion in the Q&A with the director afterwards.

For more information about the conference please visit the conference website or follow the conference Twitter account @calfac2015. An edited volume arising from the conference will be published in 2017.

Filmmaker Dr Ruth Beckermann participating in a Q&A at the conference

Filmmaker Dr Ruth Beckermann participating in a Q&A at the conference

Registration now open for Contemporary Austrian Literature, Film and Culture: International Conference, University of Nottingham, 13-15 April 2015

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Registration is now open for the Contemporary Austrian Literature, Film and Culture International Conference. Please see the conference website for the confirmed programme and online registration: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/conference/fac-arts/clas/calfac/index.aspx

Conference website now live

The website for the forthcoming international conference on Contemporary Austrian Literature, Film and Culture (University of Nottingham, 13-15 April 2015) is now live: http://nottingham.ac.uk/conference/fac-arts/clas/calfac/index.aspx. Programme and registration information will be added soon.

CFP: Contemporary Austrian Literature, Film and Culture, University of Nottingham, 13-15 April 2015

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CFP: Contemporary Austrian Literature, Film and Culture, University of Nottingham, 13-15 April 2015

CALL FOR PAPERS

Contemporary Austrian Literature, Film and Culture

International Conference

University of Nottingham (UK)

13-15 April 2015

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

Professor Allyson Fiddler (University of Lancaster)

Professor Jonathan Long (University of Durham)

Professor Dagmar C. G. Lorenz (University of Illinois at Chicago)

and award-winning documentary filmmaker DrRuth Beckermann

Austrian society has undergone many shifts since the late 1980s. The most significant of these was the Waldheim affair of 1985-1988, which was a turning-point in Austrian society, sparking the beginning of a belated process of coming to terms with the country’s National Socialist past. The Waldheim affair saw a young generation of artists and intellectuals lead a protest movement against the presidential candidate, who had lied about his Nazi past. This generation was instrumental in the formation of a civil society and oppositional culture in Austria…

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CFP: Contemporary Austrian Literature, Film and Culture International Conference University of Nottingham (UK) 13-15 April 2015

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

Professor Allyson Fiddler (University of Lancaster)

Professor Jonathan Long (University of Durham)

Professor Dagmar C. G. Lorenz (University of Illinois at Chicago)

and award-winning documentary filmmaker Dr Ruth Beckermann

Austrian society has undergone many shifts since the late 1980s. The most significant of these was the Waldheim affair of 1985-1988, which was a turning-point in Austrian society, sparking the beginning of a belated process of coming to terms with the country’s National Socialist past. The Waldheim affair saw a young generation of artists and intellectuals lead a protest movement against the presidential candidate, who had lied about his Nazi past. This generation was instrumental in the formation of a civil society and oppositional culture in Austria (Lorenz 2004), both during the Waldheim affair and following the 1999 elections, which saw the far-right Austrian Freedom Party enter the coalition government in 2000. In their literary works, figures such as Gerhard Roth, Elfriede Jelinek, Robert Schindel, Anna Mitgutsch, Doron Rabinovici and Robert Menasse have continued to offer incisive commentaries on the shadow that Austria’s past continues to exert on the country’s present. In the genre of film, new federal support for filmmaking and the rise of New Austrian Film in the 1980s led to a wave of innovative and socially-critical films in diverse genres, a trend that has continued to this day, with directors such as Michael Haneke, Ulrich Seidl, Stefan Ruzowitzky, Ruth Beckermann, Florian Flicker, and Barbara Albert testifying to the vitality of contemporary Austrian cinema. In addition to internal political shifts, wider geopolitical changes have also not failed to leave their mark on Austria. Since the early 1990s the country has found itself once more at the heart of Central Europe, following the fall of the ‘Iron Curtain’ and Austria’s entry into the European Union in 1995. Here too, Austrian artists have been at the forefront of responses to immigration and a changing continent. The conference aims to examine these trends in Austrian literary and cultural production over the past thirty years.

Abstracts are invited for papers of 20 minutes duration that relate to, but are not limited to, the following topics:

* treatments of Austria’s National Socialist past and the Holocaust in contemporary Austrian literature, theatre, film and culture (including memorial and commemorative practices)

* writing and cultural production by minorities in contemporary Austria (including works by contemporary Austrian-Jewish writers, filmmakers and cultural practitioners)

* responses to migration in contemporary Austrian literature, film and culture

* social criticism in contemporary Austrian literature, film and culture

* protest culture in Austria since 1985

* popular culture in contemporary Austria

* representations of Austria in contemporary transnational literature and film

Papers demonstrating innovative theoretical and methodological approaches are particularly welcome. Please send abstracts (max. 300 words), together with your name, institutional affiliation, and a short biographical note (max. 100 words) to Dr Katya Krylova (K.Krylova@nottingham.ac.uk) by 15 July 2014.

We are in discussions with Peter Lang Oxford with regard to publishing an edited volume arising from the conference.

Conference Organiser: Dr Katya Krylova (University of Nottingham)

Conference Committee: Professor Allyson Fiddler (University of Lancaster), Professor Dirk Göttsche (University of Nottingham), Dr Hillary Hope Herzog (University of Kentucky), Dr Todd Herzog (University of Cincinnati), Mag. Elisabeth Kögler (Austrian Cultural Forum London), Professor Florian Krobb (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Professor Jonathan Long (University of Durham), Professor Dagmar C. G. Lorenz (University of Illinois at Chicago), Professor Nicola McLelland (University of Nottingham), Professor Imke Meyer (University of Illinois at Chicago), Dr Manfred Mittermayer (University of Salzburg/ Literaturarchiv Salzburg), Dr Andrea Reiter (University of Southampton), Professor Andrew Webber (University of Cambridge), Professor Roger Woods (University of Nottingham)

Conference sponsors: The University of Nottingham, The Leverhulme Trust, The Austrian Cultural Forum London