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Call for papers

The Conference End Games and Emotions focuses on the affective aspects of literature and arts sensitive to the threats and fears of modernity, like the ideas that “all that it solid melts down”, that the modern culture and modern man is decaying, or that the whole existence of human life may be threatened by different aspects of modernization process. We ask how moods and emotions are depicted and evoked and emotion effects produced by the literature and art of what we call the long twentieth century. With this notion we understand broadly the period beginning with the nineteenth-century naturalism and decadence, encompassing the twentieth-century developments of a variety of modernisms, and reverberating into the contemporary literary and artistic or musical scenery. Focus on the dystopic and decadent, on fears rather than hopes concerning modernity, gives a precedence to negative emotions and dismal moods but also invites considerations of the ambiguity of emotions, oxymoronic expressions like the entanglement of pleasure and “ugly” feelings, and the positive functions of evoking negative affects. We ask how the aesthetic feelings relate to depicted and evoked horrors or misery, how ecstasies alternate with depression and melancholy, and what are the critical and ideological stakes of evoking emotions and affecting audiences. All in all, the multiple functions of emotion effects as well as the variety of ways in which artworks affect audiences are a central field of discussion which we hope to open by the conference.


Suggested topics

  • Affects of decadence: moods and the production of emotion effects relating to descriptions of decay and entropy
  • The emotional landscapes of naturalist literature and art
  • Imagining the end (of civilization, of human kind): dystopic moods and modes
  • The melancholic visions of modernism
  • Disgust, contempt and other ugly feelings
  • Extreme feelings: ecstasy and apathy; euphoria and dysphoria
  • Shame and grace – affects and religion
  • Negative affects – positive functions?


We also invite special panels focusing on emotional aspects of specific authors and genres and welcome contributions on emotions and moods in visual art, theatre and music. The main conference language is English but presentations and individual panels in French and German are warmly welcome.


Thank you for sending your proposals for papers or panels/sessions (max 300 words), as well as a short biographical sketch, before February 28th 2017 to the following address endgamesconf....at....gmail.com

Please note that there is no need to send the entire presentation beforehand. We kindly ask presenters to bring their presentations to the conference on an USB-stick.  

Please notice that the conference will take place in two cities: 15.-16.8. in Tallinn and 17.-18.8. in Helsinki.