2009

Home/sickness: Desire, Decay, and the Seduction of Nostalgia

November 12-13, 2009

Keynote speaker: Dr. Dominick LaCapra

Call for Papers

EGO’S 9th annual conference will explore nostalgia, focusing on the contradictory relations among desires for recovered pasts as well as deliberate attempts to manipulate the present through representations of the past. Of particular interest will be the extent to which both nostalgia and the desire for utopia are linked to historical trauma, as textual manifestations of an extratextual cause.

When Johannes Hofer coined the term “nostalgia” in 1688, it referred to a literal disease plaguing French soldiers who were dying from homesickness. By the 1870s, it had lost its medical usage but had been taken up by culture to frame Romanticism’s desire for both the concept of the homeland and the past. Despite connotations of rosy naïveté, nostalgia retains pathological connotations in its implicit desire to recreate or reformulate the past. This decay of the so-called historical truth, then, is replaced by a necessity to invent conceptions of the past and/or loose conceptions of home—whether a geographical or ontological distinction. How this preoccupation with decay frames possibilities for both personal and cultural reinvention through representation, demands further investigation.

Its cultural complications have continued to reinvent the term, both positively—in cases where the past is looked at in fondness—and negatively—when the (longing for a) past becomes again a sickness. This bi-polar logic is manifest in cultural texts as disparate as the decrepit streets and uncanny fashion of Ridley Scott’s *Bladerunner* and President Obama’s invocations of JFK’s Camelot. Theorists such as Foucault, Benjamin, Jameson, and White have continued to reflect upon representation and recreation of the past, a theoretical counterpart to authors such as Flannery O’Conner and Tim O’Brien. Present in all these examples are versions of a desire to re/create the past in order to overcome trauma, create a political version of historical narrative, or to manipulate the present and/or future.

We welcome both creative and critical presentations on a variety of topics dealing with any aspect of nostalgia: desire, the past, representation, notions of home/identity. Please submit an abstract of 250 words to ego09atuf@gmail.com by September 28th. If accepted, plan on a presentation of 15 minutes.

Possible (but certainly not exhaustive) Topics:

– Identity crisis
– Managing trauma through representation
– Theories of memory
– Representations of youth and childhood
– Nostalgia in text, film, or television
– Reconfiguring personal or collective memory
– Nostalgia as the repression of historical memory
– Nostalgia as physical/cultural displacement
– Recovering pre-colonial identity
– Nostalgia and the reproduction of gender
– Theory as a form of nostalgia
– Nostalgia as origin: Foucault’s critique.
– Visions of utopia/dystopia

Program

Thursday 12 November

210 Pugh Hall

Panel A
9:00-10:30

Disrupted Development: Youth and Childhood Culture
Moderator: Todd Jurgess

Poushali Bhadury:
The Return to Innocence: Nostalgia, Time Travel, and the Garden Tradition in Tom’s Midnight Garden

Rebekah Fitzsimmons:
Competing Identities: Representations of Self and Historical Memory in The Hunger Games

Michele Lee:
The American Girl Goes Abroad: Ocean Travel in Girls’ Series

Cari Keebaugh:
Unhappy-Ever-Afterlife: The Memory of Childhood in Little Red Riding Hood’s Zombie BBQ

Panel B
10:45- 12:00

Narrating Past Identity: Memoir and Literary Expression
Moderator: Trisha Kannan

Matt Sherling (U. of West Georgia):
Let’s Walk, Walk, Walk, Pondering Meanings of the Concrete

Anastasia Kozac & Nadine Flagel (Asst Professor, Brock University):
The Archaeology of Memory: Excavating Self in Penelopy Lively’s Oleander, Jacaranda

Katherine Peters:
Reading from Searching for Tsarnin, A Novel

Panel C
2:00- 3:15

Media-ting Memory: Nostalgia across Multiple Forms
Moderator: Kevin Sherman

Aaron Keebaugh (UF School of Music):
Politics and Nostalgia in Victor Herbert’s Irish Rhapsody

Jimmy Newlin:
Boxcutters, or The New Nostalgia For The Old Misogyny: Hyst-horror-cizing in Antichrist and Jennifer’s Body

Allison Rittmayer:
“Where we ache to go again”: The Nostalgias of Mad Men

Panel D
3:30- 4:45

Impossible Pasts: Illusions of Historicity. Feature Presentations by UF Department of English
Moderator: Mike Mayne

Camelia Raghinaru:
Subjectivity and the Social Other in Judith Butler’s The Psychic Life of Power

Eric Doise:
Rearranging Past Reality: Nostalgia, Simulation, & Testimony in Radio Free Albemuth

Phil Wegner (Associate Professor):
The Worst is Better Than Nothing at All: Nostalgia in Nineteen Eighty-four (1949 & 1984)

Friday 13 November
150 Pugh Hall

Panel E
9:00- 10:30

Romantic-ized or Decaying Memory? Nostalgia in 19th-Century Culture
Moderator: Asmaa Ghonimz

David Stahl (U. of West Georgia):
Refashioning the Past: The (Re)Construction of American Identity in Hobomok

Jessica Reeves (Louisiana-Lafayette):
Nostalgia & Necrophilia in Poe’s “Ligeia”

Annie Abrams (UC Santa Barbara):
Literature is an Heirloom”: Antebellum Nostalgia for Anglo-Saxon Culture

Miranda Mattingly (Florida State):
Haunted by Our Liminal Humanity: Examining the Abject Identities in Marsh’s The Beetle

Panel F
10:45- 12:00

Evocations of Empire: Political Analyses of the Past and Present
Moderator: Jackie Amorim

Scott Craig (Florida State):
Did Germany Mobilize Women’s Labor?

Shaun Duke:
Fabricated Histories and Non-nationalist Identities in The House of the Stag by Kage Baker and In an Antique Land by Amitav Ghosh.

Erich Simmers:
Ghosts of Empire: T. E. Lawrence & the Haunted Narratives of Contemporary American Counterinsurgency Doctrine

Christopher Garland:
Our ancestors were Gauls and Britons: Frantz Fanon, The Metropole, and Colonial Discourses of “Home”

Panel G
2:00- 3.15

Writing History, Writing Trauma: Literary Representation of Experience
Moderator: Raúl Sánchez (Associate Professor)

Nathaniel Deyo:
Historical Representation & Nostalgia in Thomas Pynchon’s Vineland

Mariko Turk:
Trauma and the Teaching of History in Anderson’s Speak

Arun Pokhrel:
Representations of Time and Memory in Holocaust Literature: A Comparison of Charlotte Delbo’s Days and Memory and Ida Fink’s Selected Stories

Paul Ardoin (Florida State):
Impossible Pasts: Taking Liberties with Literary History in Travesties

Panel H
3:30- 4:45

Theorizing the Past: Historical Issues, Contemporary Perspectives
Moderator: Thomas Cole

Taylor Murphy: (Florida State):
“My Intention Had Been to Give it to Her”: Rousseau’s Nostalgic Pornographic Fantasies in Confessions

Léa Gamache (U. of Victoria):
Barthes or the Mad Collector

David Lawrimore:
The Dialectic of American Renaissance: The Historical Act of (Re)presenting the Early American Canon

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