“Mediating Mountains” is the topic of the 46th annual conference of the Austrian Associataion for American Studies (AAAS). It takes place from November 22-24, 2019, at the University of Innsbruck. Scholars interested in presenting a paper can submit their proposals until May 19, 2019.
Mountains confront us in many guises. They visualize space and provide geopolitical orientations that address questions of historical, cultural, social, national, and indi¬vidual identity. Mountains are subjects of philosophical reflections, environmental meditations, and ecocritical ontologies. They serve as means of spiritual invigoration, scientific experimentation, medical therapy, and recreation. They are also the sources and resources of technological and artistic innovations, of human and non-human exploitations. Mountain spaces are often borderlands and contested zones of war and migration. They are sites of tourism and industrialization, deposits of waste, and repositories of cultural memory. This polymorphous and fluid nature turns mountains into a “dynamic medium” (W.J.T. Mitchell) that both reflects and grounds subjectivities. Mountains are not only objects of reflection that mirror, archive, and project human and cultural investments, but they can also be conceived of as “hyperobjects” (Timothy Morton) that affect the ways we come to think about existence, earth, and society.
The conference “Mediating Mountains” sets out to explore mountains as objects and agents of mediation in all artforms and media, including painting, literature, theater, music, film, television, performance and video art, video gaming, photo-graphy, and architecture.
Possible areas for contributions may include but are not limited to
- mountain imaginaries that analyze the ramifications of viewing mountains as romantic wilderness, national parks, sporting sites, material resources, etc.;
- mappings that locate and translate mountains in national, imperial, post-colonial, and global discourses as well as in theories of gender, media, and mobility;
- landscape research and the material, perceptual, emotional, and social ecologies of mountain images;
- the temporality of mountains in historiographic, media-archeological, and eco-critical theories.
While the focus of this conference is on American cultures, we also invite contributions from transnational and global perspectives and interdisciplinary approaches in comparative mountain studies.
The conference is organized by the Austrian Association for American Studies (represented by Christian Quendler and Cornelia Klecker, University of Innsbruck) in cooperation with Appalachian State University, North Carolina. It will take place at the University of Innsbruck in the heart of the Austrian Alps.
Confirmed Keynote Speakers
- Sean Cubitt
Professor of Film and Television in the Department of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London
- Jennifer Peterson
Associate Professor, Chair of the Department of Communications, Woodbury University, California
- Sascha Pöhlmann
Interim Professor of North American Literature and Culture, University of Konstanz
Plenary Panel on Appalachia
- Jessie Blackburn
Associate Professor and Assistant Chair of English, Appalachian State University
- Cameron D. Lippard
Professor and Interim Chair of Sociology, Appalachian State University
- Bruce Stewart
Associate Professor of History, Appalachian State University
In order to integrate students, we will organize a graduate student forum as a section of the conference program and, as usual, the annual Fulbright Prize in American Studies will also be awarded.
Proposals for entire panels are more than welcome. The deadline for submissions of complete panels as well as individual paper proposals is May 19, 2019. Instructions on how to submit proposals are forthcoming.