Cfp Between XII.23 (May 2022), "Estrangements"



Edited by Sergia Adamo and Niccolò Scaffai, with the collaboration of Michela Pusterla and David Watkins

The notions of estrangement and defamiliarization presuppose a detachment, a distancing that can foster an unprecedented act of looking at the world around us. In 1917, Viktor Šklovskij described exactly in these terms what he defined as “ostranenie”, i.e. the proceeding through which Tolstoj's writing faced otherness and a non-human point of view. The recently celebrated 100th anniversary of Šklovskij's definition has stimulated a widespread critical consideration of a stance that appears to be crucial in questioning the dimension of otherness. Various studies and research projects have celebrated its importance and recognized its role in the past and in the present. At the same time, similar notions and articulations of defamiliarization are both launched and being proposed and rediscovered, which are not entirely overlapping, but still part of the same semantic range of possibilities.

 We can ask ourselves what has become today of the strength and novelty of Šklovskij’s proposal, and how was his original notion taken up, revised and refunctionalized. And we can also try to identify the new ‘spaces’ that are being created and are opening up today in order to enact the possibility of always seeing things as if for the first time. On these grounds, the collection of essays we are proposing aims to answer these questions by interweaving different cultural discourses and case studies that can tackle the following topics:

  •  the theoretical stakes of the articulation between empathy and estrangement in the aesthetic realm
  • the reception in different cultural and historical contexts of Šklovskij's notion and the related critical outcomes to which it gave rise
  • differences and connections between the formalist notion of estrangement and other similar – though not coincident - theoretical notions the one that can be found in other similar but not entirely coincident proposals (for example Brecht’s Verfremdung, in the first place, but even, prior to that, also Freud’s uncanny, for instance)
  • the political impact of estrangement and defamiliarization
  • the intensive use of estrangement when non-human otherness is called into question and the related dilemma of giving it voice and visibility
  • the role of the visual and the gaze in the aesthetics and politics of estrangement
  • the consideration of sound in relation to the auditory dimension of estrangement
  • the possibilities or impossibility of estrangement opening up in the context of artificial intelligence
  • performance and performativity as spaces of estrangement
  • gender issues and estrangement

Interested parties are invited to contact the editors before sending their contributions if they would like more precise information or if they have doubts about the relevance of their proposal.

Proposals (articles ready for publication and accompanied by abstracts and metadata) must be sent by 31 October 2021 following the instructions available on Between's website, on the submissions page. The articles finally accepted will be published at May 2022.

Proposals in a language other than Italian or in a bilingual version (one of which is in English) are appreciated and encouraged.