CFP, International Symposium: “Nineteenth-Century Transmedia Practices”
30th January – 1st February 2020
University of Vienna, Austria
Organizers: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Monika Pietrzak-Franger (University of Vienna, Austria) and Prof. Dr. Christina Meyer (FU Berlin, Germany)
The notion that media content can proliferate and that consumption practices converge has given rise to a host of fascinating research projects in and outside of academia in the past years. Next to pedagogy, literary and cultural studies, such disciplines as economics, film and media studies along with legal studies have begun to trace, analyze and interpret various patterns and practices of transmediality. Simultaneously, numerous (globally operating) transmedia consulting companies began to invest in transmediality as a central marketing strategy (M.-L. Ryan 2017). In general, scholarship on transmediality has tended to focus on contemporary participatory media practices and media convergences in a networked culture (e.g. Jenkins, Ford, and Green 2013) along with addressing various principles of storytelling (cf. H. Jenkins 2008; M. Freeman 2017, 2018; M.-L. Ryan & J.-N. Thon 2014; etc.). In the meantime, some efforts have been made to trace historical developments and cultural specificities in transmedia practices (esp. Freeman 2014, 2016), very few of these, however, went beyond the beginnings of the 20th century.
This conference aims to instead focus on the historicity of transmedia practices, with particular focus on the long nineteenth century (roughly from 1780 to 1920), a century that famously saw the birth of the mass media and brought the “frenzy of the visible” (J.-L. Comolli 1980). We understand practices not just as activities or performative acts of an individual, or a human being, but of ‘transpersonal” institutions (such as clubs, libraries, academies, advertising companies, syndicates, etc.). We thus read practices as forms and ways of actions, agency and performance that are discursive and systemic (networked) rather than as isolated acts. Moreover, the conference is interested in how specific content(s) in multiple media that stay recognizably the same dispersed across cultures in a time before digital convergence. Tracing the processes, economics and technologies involved in transmedia practices and the aesthetics of expansion and transgression in the long nineteenth century will allow for an enhanced understanding of specific configurations in the past and reconfigurations in our present moment. We are interested in contributions, both case studies that may act as models for specific developments as well as more theory-driven investigations, that address questions like: