CFP: Exploring Nostalgia

July 3-5, 2015

Mansfield College, Oxford, United Kingdom

We have all probably had conversations with aged relatives and friends resulting in the oft repeated words “I remember when….”, spoken either as an illumination of the progress of the present in comparison to seeming simplicity of the past or a wistful longing for the past to be alive again in the midst of the present. Often focused on differences between generations and triggered by specific events and objects, there is an overpowering sense that things are not what they used to be. This can be a positive experience, for example, being impressed at technological progress, or conversely confusingly negative, for example, the sense of frustration with the same technology and a hankering for times when things were perceived to be much simpler and easier.

Nostalgia is an extremely powerful feeling; it can in equal measure lift us up, make us feel safe, create fond memories and/or it can bring us down, make us feel intensely isolated, lonely, left behind and depressed. There is nostalgia for things that are no longer with us and people who are no longer with us (individually and collectively). There is the sense that things that are out of place — and not only out of place but also out of time. It can be both missing things and the missing of things. Yet it can also be a real and quite intense force which forms the present and informs the future.

At the launch of this biennial project our interest is to begin to map the boundaries of nostalgia, explore the parameters within which it takes place and tentatively assess the consequences for ways of thinking, living and feeling in the 21st century. Nostalgia is being approached as a multi-layered phenomenon which consequently requires multiple insights and perspectives from academic disciplines, professional practice, NGO and voluntary activities, artists, song writers, performers and any one who engages with forms and varieties of nostalgia.

An indicative list of potential areas for exploration could include:

Exploring Nostalgia:
What is it? What triggers it? What motivates it? Nostalgia, perception and reality; nostalgia and meaning; nostalgia and emotion.

Nostalgia and Physical and Mental Health:
nostalgia, illness and disease; nostalgia and the impact of dementia, Alzheimers and neurological problems; nostalgia and the role of memory; nostalgia and the impact of age; nostalgia and trauma; nostalgia as therapy; nostalgia and health practices; nostalgia and reminiscence; reminiscence centres; managed nostalgia and therapy.

Nostalgia and Contemporary Culture:
Aesthetics of nostalgia: creating the look and feel of the past in visual culture.

Nostalgia as Business:
The Retro clothing movement, “vintage” stores, the “classic” sales movement; the antique trade, shabby chic and classic merchandise; classic cars; Nostalgia and business; advertising; selling; design; Nostalgia and reverence for the past

Nostalgia and Media:
genres of film, media, literature, visuals arts, music that are rooted in nostalgia, or which critique, supplement or illuminate the phenomenon, music studies — new artists with old sounds, vinyl records, placing old artists on new media: film — use of taboo words in classic film vs today, making modern films “true” to an old era: bloggers who reminisce of the past.

Negative Nostalgia:
Nostalgia and politics: conservatism and the call to return to ‘the way things used to be’; nostalgia as a cloak for racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia; nostalgia and revisionism; rewriting history; nostalgia and false memory.

Preserving Nostalgia:
nostalgia, memory and childhood; growing up and growing old; personal narratives, family histories and transmitting memories nostalgia and public memory; commemoration; memorials (physical and digital); spaces and places of remembrance; architecture and nostalgia.

The meeting will form an opening opportunity to develop a variety of further events, meetings, courses, activities, collaborative ventures, publications and other forms of activity which will enable us to explore nostalgia in all its various shapes and forms better.

The Steering Group welcomes the submission of proposals for short workshops, practitioner-based activities, performances, and pre-formed panels. We particularly welcome short film screenings; photographic essays; installations; interactive talks and alternative presentation styles that encourage engagement.

What to Send:
Proposals will also be considered on any related theme. 300 word proposals should be submitted by Friday March 13, 2015. If a proposal is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper of no more than 3000 words should be submitted by Friday May 22, 2015. Proposals should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs; proposals may be in Word or RTF formats with the following information and in this order:

a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) body of proposal, f) up to 10 keywords.

E-mails should be entitled: NOSTALGIA1 Proposal Submission.

All abstracts will be at least double blind peer reviewed. Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using footnotes and any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). We acknowledge receipt and answer to all proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend.

Organising Chairs:
Rob Fisher:

Cristina Santos:

The conference is part of the Making Sense of: programme of research projects. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are innovative and exciting. All proposals accepted for and presented at the conference must be in English and will be eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook.  Selected proposals may be developed for publication in a themed hard copy volume(s). All publications from the conference will require editors, to be chosen from interested delegates from the conference.

Inter-Disciplinary.Net believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract for presentation.

Please note: Inter-Disciplinary.Net is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence.

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