CFP: For What It’s Worth: Nostalgia, Sustainability, and the Values of the Present

An Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference in Celebration of the Tenth Anniversary of the International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture at Justus Liebig University, Giessen, to be held on 28-30 April 2016, with Keynote Lectures by Prof. Mita Banerjee (Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz) and Prof. Nicholas Brown (University of Illinois, Chicago).


 “Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.”

(T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets)

The aim of this conference is to investigate the implications of sustainability as a concept used in the study of culture. Since the publication of the Brundtland Report in 1987, there have been calls for sustainable development in almost every facet of life, but what assumptions do we make about the past and the present when we attempt to sustain something for the future? Used in a cultural context, the concept of sustainability often invokes the ideas of stewardship and heritage, of protecting and preserving values, traditions and works of art, alongside notions of change and development. It thus acquires a complex temporal dimension, which combines progressive elements with a kind of nostalgia (in the sense of ‘homesickness’, ‘longing’)—the desire to sustain past values and conditions for future generations. Positing this potentially nostalgic element within the culture of sustainability, we invite contributions which explore this entanglement from a variety of humanities and social science perspectives. More details:


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