“Mediating Mountains” was the topic of the 46th annual conference of the Austrian Associataion for American Studies (AAAS). It took place from November 22-24, 2019, at the University of Innsbruck.
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” set 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.
The conference was 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 took place at the University of Innsbruck in the heart of the Austrian Alps.
- 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