Konferenz 'Eine haarige Angelegenheit: Gegenständliche Poetiken des Haares / A Hairy Affair: The material Poetics of Hair'
Hair is fundamentally characterized by its precarious and mutinous materiality, which subverts conventionalized dichotomies between the passive and the active. In this capacity, it also serves as a mediator of aesthetic reflection and formalization. Be it knotted, cut or curled, braided, shaved or covered, head and body hair figure as a discursively overloaded site of poetological reflection, narrative composition or experiments in literary genre. One of the basic premises of this conference is that hair constitutes an interface between body aesthetics and issues of plot and narrative synthesis. Particular attention is paid not only to neatly ‘coiffed’ discursive formations or to hair’s narrative entanglements, but also to the poetological quality of hair as a disruptive literary factor.
‘Hair’ appears as the site of violent narrative cuts, lyrical excess and dramatic knotting, which, in turn, sheds light on the grotesque and uncanny dimensions of hair, that seem intimately tied to its specific materiality. Whether thin, thick, curly or shaved, hair – due to its status as dead matter that reaches beyond the flesh – threatens the integrity of body and text. An accumulated vitality seems concentrated within the dead substance of hair and this peculiar interim state of living-deadness inscribes it with an inherent negativity or resilience: it appears as abjectified human detritus fallen off from the body, as endowed with a ghostly presence, or bearing an uncanny agency.
By bringing together papers from various fields in media studies, this international conference seeks to open up new perspectives on the poetics, practices and functions of hair in literature and other media. With contributions ranging from Medieval Manuscripts, and 20th-century writing to contemporary performances, from theater practices to politico-economic and psychoanalytical discourses, questions of gender and identity politics, it lies an emphasis on the intersectional and transdiscursive capacity of hair.
Elena Casanova, Tamara Fröhler, Lilli Hölzlhammer, Pia Lobodzinski, Helen Moll, Chris Reitz, Fabiola Valeri
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