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SHARING THE PLAY – A seminar on Play of and between Children and Adults

University of Jyväskylä, November 16th – 17th 2015

Play has traditionally been considered as something children do, whether as idle pastime and “mere play”, or as serving developmental functions. In recent research literature we still find the playful child contrasted to the goal-oriented adult. The picture is however quickly changing, as playing and games have been accepted as potentially productive modes of doing things. A playful attitude is promoted to children for educational purposes, to adults for improving work results, and to senior citizen for keeping them physically and mentally healthy. Today it is also increasingly common for people to carry on playing games after entering the adult world, with family and work responsibilities. Pop and rock music led the way here as it became evident that it was not just a question of a certain age of adolescence, but of an enduring habit. There are similar developments in the world of playing and games: instead of adults playing with children occasionally we now have adults playing games amongst each other, or children and adults playing together on more or less equal terms, whether with dolls or with virtual avatars in online worlds. Some indeed say that we have entered the ludic age.

The status of play is ambiguous in many academic fields. While it is a key concept in the classical tradition of aesthetics and hermeneutics, it is only recently that actual playing and games have gained more attention in humanities and social sciences. Within the multidisciplinary field of childhood studies there has been reluctance towards using the concept, as it has been felt that it degrades and marginalizes children’s activities. In education a trend identified as “the learnification of education” has brought with it an increased emphasis on measurable outcomes instead of human growth: there is then little room for play except as instrumentalised for learning purposes.

In the Sharing the Play seminar we hope to bring together researchers from different disciplinary backgrounds, such as childhood and youth studies, game studies, gender studies, arts and culture, media, education, psychology, sports and social sciences. There will be two internationally recognized keynote lecturers presenting in the seminar. We especially invite contributions that analyse participants’ – both children and adult – own perspectives and understanding of playing and gaming.

The keynote lectures will be delivered by Jessica Enevold (Senior Lecturer, University of Lund & IT University of Copenhagen) and Helle Skovbjerg Karoff (Aalborg University, Denmark). They will also provide comments on the seminar papers.

Papers may be related to topics such as:

-         Functions and ends of playing and gaming: psychological, social, existential and ontological;

-         Hermeneutics of playing and gaming;

-         The relationship of play and playfulness to imagination, creativity and the arts;

-         Improvisation, negotiation, rules in plays and games;

-         Co-operation and competition in plays and games;

-         Intergenerational, intercultural and gender issues of play and games: anonymity, roles and the re-positioning of identities;

-         Play-worlds and games as imaginary worlds and as transformations of the everyday;

-         Effects of play and playfulness on the experience of social and physical environments;

-         Affordances for play in physical and institutional environments: pros and cons;

-         Educational and learning games;

-         Playing, gaming and well-being.

Deadline for abstracts (400 – 500 words): September 6st. Please send your abstract as a pdf, rtf or word attachment to Mari Vuorisalo (mari.vuorisalo@jyu.fi).

Acceptance Notification: September 21st

Seminar Dates: November 16th - 17th

The Seminar is arranged by the LaNKa research cluster Children, Young People and their Growth Environments and the research project Ludification and Emergence of Playful Culture.

There is no participation fee!

Welcome!

More information: https://www.jyu.fi/edu/laitokset/lanka/lanka-tutkijafoorumi/ajan/call-for-papers-sharing-the-play-seminar-nov-16-17-2015

International Conference: Fictional Maps
21st -23rd January 2016

Mapping the imaginary has always been a challenge for world-building and storytelling alike. Map of the fictional world subverts the very essence of an actual cartography: it represents a territory that cannot be discovered or traversed in a non-fictional realm and yet it delivers much more than a usual map: a promise of the journey into unknown. An exquisitely quotable phrase coined by J. R. R. Tolkien, who claimed to “start writing with a map and [then] make the story fit” is only reprising what have always been evident to cartographers and creators of imaginary worlds: maps precede territories and are inevitably becoming the most essential part of modern and postmodern storyworlds. Ambrosius Holbein’s woodcut in the first edition of Thomas More’s Utopia, collectors editions map in video games, atlases of fictional universes, animated map routes in online reportages, or even interactive maps outlining the worlds of blockbuster TV shows—these are all indications of a significant shift in contemporary storytelling that looks for creating many and more access points to the fictional storyworld. Hence conference attendees will be asked to submit abstracts of presentations or posters' descriptions revolving around:

- fictional topography and geopotics;
- map theory & theorists;
- the dichotomy of a map and a territory;
- ways of mapping the imaginary;
- fictional cartography (maps, atlases, mini-maps, plans, charts, etc.);
- maps of secondary, imaginary, fictional, possible or impossible worlds;
- relationship between world-building and map-making;
- function of maps: between navigating and augmenting the world;
- navigating the actual and the imaginary: Tim Ingold’s trail-following and wayfaring;
- case studies in literature;
- case studies in video games;
- case studies in movies and TV shows;
- case studies in comic books, graphic novels and other media;
- case studies in transmedia storytelling and transmedial franchises;
- case studies in fictional worlds;

Confirmed keynote speaker:
STEFAN EKMAN (University of Gothenburg, Sweden), author of the book Here Be Dragons. Exploring Fantasy Maps & Settings. (Wesleyan UP 2013).

The conference language shall be English. 600-words abstracts of presentations or posters featuring (1) the title of presentation or poster, (2) a concise bio-note, (3) current affiliation, and (4) all necessary contact information should be submitted until October 30th 2015 at fictionalmaps@gmail.com. Notifications on both accepted and rejected submissions shall be sent no sooner than in two weeks from the deadline. Poster presentations will be displayed during the poster session and accompanied by a general discussion with the presenters.

The conference fee will be 150€ (125€ for students) for the full coverage of English editions of printed conference materials and all other essentials. Polish attendees will be kindly asked to transfer the equivalent of the fee in local currency (600 PLN, 400 PLN for students).

Any further details regarding the venue, accommodation and transportation will be continuously updated at the website www.fictionalmaps.org. Organisers are also open to answering all questions and requests at fictionalmaps@gmail.com.
The conference will be followed by a peer-reviewed monograph, published by Facta Ficta Research Centre and licenced under Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 as an ebook stored in a globally accessible repository (CeON Center for Open Science).

We look forward to seeing you in Katowice!

Krzysztof M. Maj
Ksenia Olkusz

On behalf of Organising Committee

CFP: Reconfiguring Human and Non-Human: Texts, Images and Beyond

In recent years, scholars of different fields have turned their gaze to the complex relations between humans and non-humans. Theorists and thinkers of ecocriticism, animal ethics, queer studies, disability studies and numerous other disciplines have challenged the humanist notions that place (certain kinds of) human beings above all the “other” creatures, with whom we share our world. In the meantime, our material existence has been reconfigured by the human genome project, in-vitro meat, custom-made pharmacology, bioart and other scientific developments. Consequently, (re)definitions and (re)imaginations of humans and non-humans have gained new emphasis in cultural studies, as have the complex material-social entanglements of the production and reception of art and media. As our culture becomes saturated with technology and we begin to notice the consequences of human experiments and exploitation of nature, these questions of human‒non-human relations become more urgent by the day.

In the interdisciplinary seminar RECONFIGURING HUMAN AND NON-HUMAN: TEXTS, IMAGES AND BEYOND, we explore how humans and non-humans are represented, (re)imagined ‒ or, indeed, remade ‒ across arts and media. What political and ethical implications do cultural texts and images of human and non-human embodiments have? Can we really re-imagine non-humans beyond the humanist conceptions of human supremacy? How are art and media productions created in the complex material-social relations that encompass the spheres of both human and non-human? Can we step outside our limited perspectives by creating or engaging with human and non-human characters?

We invite papers on topics that include (but are not limited to):

- boundaries and relations between human and animal, organic and inorganic, animate and inanimate, living and non-living in art and media
- definitions and ontology of (fictional) characters; identification with or affective responses to human and non-human characters and figures
- (representations of) human and non-human embodiments in art and media; aliens, monsters, cyborgs and the “other others” of speculative fiction
- unnatural narratology; human and non-human narrators and narratees
- posthumanism and ecocriticism across art and media; reconfiguring the ethics of the non-human through texts, images and artistic practices
- human encounters with technology in or through art and media; intersections of art and science; bioart
- disabled and enhanced bodies in art and media; body modification and body as a medium

The seminar will take place at the University of Jyväskylä, Central Finland on 29‒30 of October. We are now looking for academics and artists of all levels and fields to present their papers and to participate in the international, interdisciplinary discussion the seminar aims to facilitate. The event is particularly suitable for researchers of art, culture, media and (post)humanist philosophy but abstracts from all academic and artistic fields are welcome.

Please send your abstract of 200‒300 words and information on your institutional affiliation to aino-kaisa.koistinen(a)jyu.fi by August 9, 2015. Panel proposals (200‒300 words, 3‒4 panelists) are also welcome. We will contact all respondents shortly after the deadline. Should you have any questions, you are welcome to contact the organizing committee at: aino-kaisa.koistinen(a)jyu.fi or essi.e.varis(a)jyu.fi.

We are proud to present the second issue of Fafnir – Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research in the year 2015! The issue can be read at http://journal.finfar.org.

Interesting texts and topics are abundant in the newest issue. The articles examine female protagonists in self-insertion fan fiction texts based on Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight novels and concentrate on the central role of water in the poetics of Rikki Ducornet’s novel The Fountains of Neptune.

We are also proud to present the first lectio praecursoria in the history of Fafnir, one investigating the so called human question in science fiction television. The issue also contains a report of the 36th International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts and two literary reviews in two Nordic languages.

Please do remember that Fafnir welcomes submissions of research articles, short overviews, academic book reviews, essays, opinion pieces and the like. More detailed information on the journal and the upcoming issues is available at journal.finfar.org.

The next issue is scheduled for September 2015. In the meantime, Fafnir wishes our readers a warm and relaxing summer!

Remember to join Fafnir’s Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/fafnirjournal.

Best regards,

Jyrki Korpua, Hanna-Riikka Roine & Päivi Väätänen
Editors-in-chief, Fafnir – Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research
e-mail: submissions@finfar.org
http://journal.finfar.org

We are proud to present the first issue of Fafnir – Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research in the year 2015!

This first issue of Fafnir’s second year is multilingual and focuses mainly on the works of science fiction. We are happy to publish our first peer reviewed article in Finnish, discussing The Quantum Thief, the debut novel by Finnish writer Hannu Rajaniemi. The other article included in this issue uses the tools of posthumanism and posthumanist studies to discuss the changes in the world influenced by technology.

These articles are fruits of the annual Finfar seminar, which was held in Jyväskylä, Finland, in July 2014. The issue also contains a report from the seminar, an overview of Fafnir’s first eventful year and a literary review of a recent collection discussing the classic fantasy theory of Tzvetan Todorov.

Please do remember that Fafnir welcomes submissions of research articles, short overviews, academic book reviews, essays, opinion pieces and the like. See more detailed information on our current call for papers. The issue 3/2015 will be the first Fafnir with a specific theme and it is going to focus on the history of science fiction and fantasy research in the Nordic countries.

The first year of Fafnir was a thrill – but there are still many articles and texts to be published. We hope that you are looking forward to this year as much as we do!

Remember to join Fafnir’s Facebook group!

BORDERS -- Call for Workshop Proposals

VIII Conference on Cultural Studies
December 3−4, 2015, University of Oulu, Finland

The 8th Conference on Cultural Studies in Finland will take place on December 3−4, 2015 at the University of Oulu. The theme of this year’s conference is Borders. The conference discusses and problematizes the meanings and manifestations of various kinds of borders, both concrete and more metaphorical or symbolic by nature. Borders can mark distinction and otherness, wherein exclusion is made on grounds of gender, ethnicity, class, culture, or language, for instance. On the other hand, borders can be crossed and blurred, as for example in multidisciplinary research of which Cultural Studies itself is a good example. Borders can also function as an inclusive construction, in which case their significance lies in their ability to connect. However, defining borders is often more or less an artificial act, as for example the discussion concerning imagined communities has demonstrated. Therefore borders can also be deconstructed and made open to negotiations.

We are now inviting workshop proposals on topics related to the theme of the conference. An abstract (max. 300 words) should be sent to rajat@oulu.fi no later than March 31, 2015. The workshop chairs will be notified of the approval by April 15, 2015. The workshops can be held in Finnish, Swedish, Sami or English. Upon submitting your proposal, please inform the committee which of the conference days (Thu, Fri, or both) is best suitable for your workshop.

The conference is organized by the Society for Cultural Studies in Finland and the University of Oulu.

Welcome to Oulu!

Organizing Committee of Borders − The 8th Conference on Cultural Studies in Finland
Society for Cultural Studies in Finland

For more information, visit http://kultut.fi