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10/14/2021 - 10/16/2021 | Online

'Artpolitical': Margaret Atwood's Aesthetics

Die erste, exklusiv der kanadischen Schriftstellerin Margaret Atwood gewidmete internationale Konferenz "'Artpolitical': Margaret Atwood's Aesthetics", organisiert von Dr. Dunja M. Mohr (Universität Erfurt, Sektionsleitung Frauen- und Geschlechterstudien der GKS, Officer Margaret Atwood Society) und PD Dr. Kirsten Sandrock (Universität Göttingen), findet online (Zoom) vom 14-16. Oktober 2021 statt.

Die Tagung fokussiert die Verschränkung von Politik und Ästhetik in Atwoods Werk sowie den zahlreichen transmedialen Adaptionen und wird von der DFG, der Margaret Atwood Society, der Gesellschaft für Kanada-Studien und der Hans-Böckler-Stiftung unterstützt. Die Konferenz offeriert eine breites Spektrum an wissenschaftlichen Vorträgen, die sich u.a. mit Atwoods spekulativer Fiktion, frühen Werken, aber auch Gedichten und Comics auseinandersetzen. Ergänzt wird das wissenschaftliche Programm durch eine "Atwood Games Night" sowie eine exklusiv für die Tagung aufgezeichnete Lesung der Autorin.

For Margaret Atwood, politics and art inherently belong together. In the pioneering poetry collection Power Politics (1971), Atwood addresses the intertwining of the personal and the political, which has run through her oeuvre ever since. “Power is our environment. We live surrounded by it: it pervades everything we are and do, invisible and soundless, like air.” (1973, 7) For decades Atwood’s work has resonated as tales of and testaments to political, socio-economic, and (bio)technological concerns of our present times. While Atwood has been vocal about politics, an environmental activist, and keenly involved with the PEN association, her writings have recently acquired a new international impact that underlines the fusion of politics and aesthetics in her work. Her classic female dystopia The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) has gained momentum as a prophetic 20th-century allegory of 21st-century political developments in the US, seeing a 670% year-on-year increase in sales and firmly sitting on the Sunday Times bestseller list for sixteen weeks in 2017. Exceptionally popularized by the multi-Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning Hulu TV series adaptation (Miller 2017–), Atwood’s dystopian work has received a surprising fan following, including admonitory dress-ups in Handmaiden gowns.
In Political Aesthetics (2010) Crispin Sartwell terms the conceptual “intimate” (11) relationship between politics and aesthetics “artpolitical”, arguing that all political systems, and politics of resistance, use aesthetics and an aesthetic system. With reference to the importance of aesthetics for a political philosophy, Ernst Bloch has emphasized the important political function of narration, “Stage and story can be either a protective park or a laboratory; sometimes they console or appease, sometimes they incite; they can be a flight from or a prefiguring of the future” (1968). In this sense, literary and media representations and cultural adaptation practices contain a significant transformative potential that reaches beyond the page. Although arguably not all literature is driven by a political impetus, literature that intentionally triangularly oscillates between reality, speculation, and fiction provides an exceptional imaginary laboratory for ethical, political, and personal choices and for concerns about resilience, responsibilities/respons-abilities, and vulnerabilities (cf. Johnson 1993; Nussbaum 1995, 1997, Butler 2016, Haraway 2016).

Information on participating / attending:
Die Teilnahme ist kostenlos, eine Registrierung aber notwendig.


10/14/2021 - 10/16/2021

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Target group:

Journalists, all interested persons


transregional, national

Subject areas:

Language / literature

Types of events:

Conference / symposium / (annual) conference, Seminar / workshop / discussion




Romas Bielke



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