German Historical Institute London

17 Bloomsbury Square
London WC1A 2NJ
United Kingdom

Phone: +44 (0)20 - 7309 2050
Fax: +44 (0)20 - 7309 2055 / 7404 5573

URI: http://www.ghil.ac.uk

calendar & information

Breadcrumb navigation:

Call for Papers


Pop Nostalgia
The Uses of the Past in Popular Culture

Venue: German Historical Institute London
Date: 10-11 November 2016
Dion Georgiou (BSSH South Sport and Leisure History Network), Tobias Becker (German Historical Institute London)

Deadline: 30 June 2016

Pop nostalgia, we are told, is everywhere. Our current golden age of television—from Mad Men to Vinyl, Downton Abbey to Call the Midwife—lovingly recreates earlier periods of the twentieth century, while club nights devoted to the 1980s or 1990s allow us to return to our youth. What is more, popular culture is, in the words of music journalist Simon Reynolds, addicted to its own past. It not only reminisces, it revives, reissues, remixes earlier forms and styles instead of coming up with genuinely new. Finally, our most modern technologies are always also time machines: producing sepia-coloured images of the present for an anticipated nostalgic recollection in the future.

These very different cultural phenomena, which are often subsumed under the term nostalgia, raise a number of still under-explored questions. How new is this development, given that period films are as old as the cinema and that popular culture and music has drawn on earlier periods as long as it exists? Can, contrary to Reynolds’ argument, the recycling of old styles and forms not also be highly creative and result in innovations? Are period settings and costumes, retro and vintage styles as such indicative and synonymous with nostalgia? Is it really nostalgia—a sentimental longing for yesterday—that drives our interest in and our engagement with the past? And if not what other motivations are at play? What role, for example, have media technologies such as film and the internet played in preserving the culture of the past in the present?

These are some of the questions the workshop Pop Nostalgia addresses. It explores the uses of the past in popular culture across all media and genre, from literature, cinema, television, and video games to theme park, club nights and sports events. It is interested not only in representations of the past but also in their production and circulation as well as in audiences and reception. The workshop is particularly interested in the historical dimension of pop nostalgia, namely how it has changed over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth century.

We welcome proposals for twenty-minute presentations from all disciplines and particularly encourage comparative and interdisciplinary perspectives. Please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words, along with a short CV, by 30th June 2016 to both Dion Georgiou (BSSH South Sport and Leisure History Network) at diongeorgiou@hotmail.co.uk and Tobias Becker (German Historical Institute London) at becker@ghil.ac.uk. The conference will take place from 10 to 11 November at the German Historical Institute London. Accommodation during the conference will be covered. Up to 100€ of travel costs will be reimbursed to those traveling within Europe; 800€ for those traveling from elsewhere.

Call for Papers (PDF file)


The Long End of the First World War. Ruptures, Continuities and Memories

Venue: Herrenhausen Palace, Herrenhäuser Straße 4A, 30419 Hannover, Germany

Date: 8-10 May 2017

Organized by the University of Hanover, Zentrum Moderner Orient, Volkswagen Foundation and the German Historical Institute London

Application for Travel Grants

Deadline: 1 November 2016

The symposium focuses on the relation between global history and social history, highlighting actors and regions, and it systematically engages with the issue of diverse periodizations. In discussing linkages between experience, historiography, and commemoration, the symposium aims at unsettling the notion of a static and clearly defined “end” of the First World War, a construct mainly based on European developments.

The Volkswagen Foundation offers travel grants for PhD Students researching on the First World War in an outer-European perspective. Successful applicants will get the chance to discuss their research with senior scholars and present their main argument in the plenum. Poster on each PhD project will be displayed during the symposium. The Grants include travel expenses and accommodation,

More information (PDF file)