Conference: Transnational Periodical Cultures – Interdisciplinary Perspectives





Conference venue: Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz (Germany)

Time: January 29–31, 2020

Conference languages: English, German

Keynote speakers:

Jeremy Leslie (magCulture, London), Wednesday, January 29.

Prof. Dr. Nicola Kaminski (Ruhr-Universität Bochum), Thursday, January 30

Call for papers

Research into periodicals is highly revealing of the medium’s pervasiveness and its enmeshment with the formation of communities, be it on a local, regional, national, or global scale. Moreover, periodicals elicit pleasure, encourage the acquisition of knowledge, and play an important role in the formation of identity. This all makes periodicals an extremely successful cultural form which significantly shapes transcultural and transnational media landscapes.

In recent years, periodical studies has developed into a bourgeoning field of research, not least thanks to major digitization initiatives which have enabled researchers to engage in close and distant readings. Qualitative and quantitative approaches have emerged, helping to transform periodical studies into an autonomous discipline, but also raising many questions about how to read and handle the massive out­put of periodicals since the eighteenth century or how to grasp the specific aesthetic and cultural dimen­sions of the medium. Currently, periodical studies seem to privilege historical readings focusing on cer­tain periods (i.e. Victorianism or modernism) and specific magazine genres (i.e. little magazines, illus­trated weeklies). Contemporary developments in the periodical market such as the resurgence of inde­pendent magazines and related global creative communities, which pose new questions and call for innovative approaches that exceed traditional analyses of content, editorial, and seriality, have still hith­erto been largely ignored. A widening gap in the field of periodical studies is thus emerging between scholarship and practice, which the conference organizers seek to bridge by, first, inviting contributions from the broadest possible timeframe, second, by initiating a truly interdisciplinary dialogue, and, third, by integrating current editors and other present-day practitioners into the research questions examined.

Promoting a “relational turn” in periodical studies, “Transnational Periodical Cultures: Interdisciplinary Per­spectives” will address a number of problems that concern what we propose calling “periodicality,” i.e. magazines, newspapers, and other forms of serialized print media, examined in conjunction with both their affordances as material objects and their agency in the context of transnational production, distribution, and reception, thus including periodical-organized events, blogs, cooperations with concept stores as well as multifarious readerly and social practices. In addition to comparing both past and pre­sent developments, this conference strives to reassess periodical studies by linking it to linguistics, liter­ary and cultural studies, translation studies, journalism and communication studies, economics, social media studies, design studies, archival studies, history of the book and print culture studies, art history, fashion studies, sociology, ethnic studies, and political science.

We invite conference participants to address one or more of the following issues in their 20-minute papers:

  • multilingualism and translation
  • materiality, typography, and design
  • dynamics of periodical genres
  • little/independent magazines
  • magazines engagés
  • readers and reading communities
  • social media networks and periodical events
  • markets and legal frameworks
  • periodicals and agency
  • periodicals and digital humanities
  • corpus linguistic approaches to periodicals
  • cognitive approaches to periodicals
  • periodicals and public diplomacy
  • institutions and periodicals