Conference: Stranger Things: Rethinking Defamiliarization in Literature and Visual Culture

Conference Stranger Things

Dates: 12-13 December 2019
Venue: Amsterdam, NIAS
Open to: PhD Candidates and RMa Students, OSL members will have first access
Credits: 1-2 EC (depending on attending 1 or 2 days)
Organizers: Dr Nilgun Bayraktar (California College of the Arts; NIAS) and Dr Alberto Godioli (University of Groningen)
Registration will open October 2019
Please specify which day(s) you want to attend when you register.

The notion of defamiliarization is strikingly undertheorized; in order to find a systematic reflection on the topic, we need to go back to the Russian Formalist Viktor Shklovsky’s work on ostranenie in literature in the early 20th century or to German playwright Bertolt Brecht’s theorization of Verfremdungseffekt in the 1930s to describe theatrical devices that break audiences’ passive absorption in theatrical illusion.

Defamiliarizing practices today play a key role in contemporary artworks engaging with highly topical issues, such as migration, climate change or the rise of right-wing populist discourses. Whether we are dealing with retro-futuristic dystopias, films breaking the fourth wall, or darkly humorous cartoons, defamiliarization can be an effective tool for political activation – one based on formal innovation, rather than on content or on superficial emotional engagement.

But how exactly can we distinguish between different forms of defamiliarization? How can we investigate its effects on the reader/viewer? How does defamiliarization relate to neighboring notions such as the weird, the eerie, or the uncanny? During this two-day conference, 12 scholars working on defamiliarization across media will tackle these questions. The conference will also feature a panel with 2 artists whose work addresses these issues.

Confirmed keynote speakers: Prof. Caroline Levine (Cornell University; Skype lecture and debate) and Prof. Dr. Sandra Ponzanesi (Utrecht University).

More details and a complete programme will follow soon