CFP: At Play in the Space Between, 1914-1945

The organisers of At Play in the Space Between, 1914-1945, the 15th annual conference of the multidisciplinary society, to be held June 20-22, 2013, at DePaul University, Chicago IL have issed a call for conference papers.

Deadline:  7 December 2012.
The 15th annual conference of the Space Between society will explore the multifaceted subject of play as it relates to literature, art, history,music, theater, media, and spatial or material culture in any country between 1914 and 1945. From surrealist games to improvisational jazz, from Mrs Dalloway’s party to Archibald Motley’s Nightlife, from the exploits of the “Bright Young People” to the political games of wartime, play figures prominently in the arts and culture of this period. We invite proposals for papers considering any aspect of play—light or dark, free or controlled, experimental or entertaining. Papers that complicate or challenge conventional notions of play are also welcome.

Topics might include:

  • studies of comedy, parody, burlesque, satire, laughter, or humor
  • formal or linguistic play in literature, music, art, and other media
  • theories of play or games in relation to the arts
  • representations of games or sports
  • dark, serious, subversive, or transgressive forms of play or humor
  • cultures of entertainment, leisure, or recreation
  • constructions of the interwar period as the “Jazz Age” or the “Long Weekend”
  • political or imperial games
  • play and the irrational as resistance to bourgeois culture or militarism
  • playing games with readers, spectators, listeners, or audiences
  • occasions for play: parties, salons, celebrations, flirtations, holidays, weekends, entertaining the troops
  • spaces for play: pubs, hotels, resorts, casinos, racecourses, country houses, night-clubs, music halls, picture palaces, dance halls, circuses, parks, schools
  • objects for play/playful objects: toys, games, equipment, whimsical design
  • figures associated with play: flappers, dandies, flaneurs, playboys, gamblers, speculators, athletes, children, tourists, entertainers, celebrities
  • playing with identity: costumes, disguises, impersonation, drag, passing, queering
  • hoaxes, pranks, cons, jokes, puzzles, riddles, tricks, lies, deception, propaganda
  • literature, art, or music produced by or for children or inspired by childhood


Keynote speaker: Dickran Tashjian, Professor Emeritus of Art History, University of California at Irvine, a leading scholar of New York Dada and Surrealism.

Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words along with a short biographical statement to Rebecca Cameron at by 7 December 2012.

Conference Organizing Committee:

Rebecca Cameron, Department of English, DePaul University

Analisa Leppanen, Department of History of Art and Architecture, DePaul University

Patrick Deer, Department of English, New York University

Christina Hauck,Department of English, Kansas State University

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