I am very pleased to be coordinating a workshop titled ‘Uncanny Landscapes’ with Dr Jon Mitchell at the conference ‘Wild or domesticated – Uncanny in historical and contemporary perspectives to mind‘ 20-22 September 2016, at The House of Science and Letters in Helsinki, Finland. We are now inviting submissions to present as part of the workshop.
Uncany Landscapes Workshop Abstract
This workshop explores the context of the uncanny as experienced through people’s embodied engagements with landscape. The understanding of landscape across the social and cultural sciences has shifted in recent years, away from the ‘objectifying’ vision of landscape as representation, or as a base upon which humans live and act. In its place has emerged a new concern with the materiality of landscape, with landscape as a context through which people live and move, and landscape as an agent or actant . This workshop picks up on this concern with landscape as ‘subject’ to raise questions about its capacity to generate the uncanny.
Across times and landscapes, people have reported uncanny experiences within, and of, landscape. This panel asks, do landscapes have inherent qualities that we experience as uncanny or is this uncanniness a product of our perception of the landscape? What are the theoretical and methodological implications of this question? Further, are these experiences brought about by what we might recognise as the landscape’s inherent “wildness”, or through the process of our dwelling in it? This panel asks whether we can understand landscapes as characterised by certain energies, memories, or affects, which are experienced as uncanny, as people move through them. What are the limits of an approach to landscape that pushes our research towards that which Abram (1997) referred to as a ‘more than human’ world?
We are interested in contributions which explore examples of uncanniness in particular landscapes, or particular environments. We invite case studies of how experiences of the uncanny are evoked or triggered and how these differ across cultural, social and spatial contexts. What kind of methodologies can we use to investigate the uncanny and what analytical tools do we need? How might the theoretical turn to affect be useful in understanding uncanny landscapes? How does one capture or (re)present the uncanny in scholarship and what are the implications of this?
Please send inquiries to Dr Jon Mitchell – J.P.Mitchell@sussex.ac.uk.
Abram, David, 1997, The Spell of the Sensuous: perception and language in a More-Than-Human World (Vintage).