International Conference, January 25 – 26 2019, Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
In 1993, David Foster Wallace called for a new generation of sincere literary rebels who would be “willing to risk the yawn, the rolled eyes, the cool smile, the nudged ribs, the parody of gifted ironists, the ‘How banal’.” If the logical conclusion of postmodern irony had been apathy and solipsism, Wallace argued, writers now had to find different ways of self-expression. This revaluation of sincerity struck a nerve. Its repercussions were not just limited to the domain of literature, however. In varying forms, sincerity has also become a trending aesthetics in music, film, and visual art. This cultural movement has come to be called the New Sincerity. It is characterized by a yearning for interpersonal connection, affect, trust, and belief. Despite poststructural proclamations of the “Death of the Author,” the New Sincerity reframes the artwork as a medium of communication between artists and their audiences.
Our conference brings a transdisciplinary approach to the New Sincerity movement. We would like to discuss not only what the New Sincerity stands for, but also what conceptual foundations it is built on. Why did sincerity emerge as an alternative to postmodern conventions of representation? How does the history of the concept influence its present use? Are there different understandings of sincerity at work in the New Sincerity? Is the movement still productive? Can we agree on a canon of works, or a canon of ideas? Last but not least, we intend to inquire how the New Sincerity is embedded into a specifically North American social and political context.
For further information, see the CfP.
Deadline for Proposals: Feb. 15, 2018.