Heroism as a Global Phenomenon in Popular Culture

Heroism as a Global Phenomenon in Popular Culture

Collaborative Research Centre 948: Heroes—Heroizations—Heroisms / Sonderforschungsbereich 948: Helden—Heroisierungen—Heroismen
Vom - Bis
28.09.2017 - 30.09.2017
Ulrike Zimmermann, SFB 948, Universität Freiburg

Organized by Michael Butter (Tübingen), Nicole Falkenhayner, Wolfgang Hochbruck, Barbara Korte (Freiburg) and Simon Wendt (Frankfurt)

In an age of globalization and transnationalism, heroes transcend their cultural spheres of origin and are re-rooted, adapted and translated in new local contexts across the world. We understand (male and female) heroes as a phenomenon of exceptionality that has a positive significance in relation to the values, ideals and norms of the communities in which these figures are admired, followed, functionalized but also debated. In this process of “glocalization,” popular culture, with its world-wide markets and media, is a driving force. Such different media as films, comics, graphic novels, computer games, or internet blogs construct and disseminate narratives about heroes and heroisms across the globe and are consumed in the Global North as well as the Global South. At the same time, there are centres of dissemination – including Hollywood, Bollywood, or Hongkong – that continue to dominate processes of production and dissemination of hero narratives.

This multidisciplinary conference aims to highlight the complex and interrelated processes of creation, marketing, consumption, and impact, of globalized hero narratives, as well as the numerous cultural flows of exchange that have made them possible since the end of World War II. We are interested in contributions (case studies) which conceive of heroism as a transcultural and transnational phenomenon that may originate in one particular nation but ultimately transcends borders. Questions to be discussed would include how the meanings of heroic figures and narratives are changed in cultural translation, or what specific processes are active in the world-wide exchange of figures and concepts of the heroic. Case studies can focus on situations in Europe, North America, Africa and Asia.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
- culturally different notions of the heroic that come into contact when hero narratives cross borders and function globally
- superhero movies and the role that global markets play in the ways in which they are designed and narrated
- the ways in which hero narratives from one nation (e.g. the United States) are adopted and adapted in other nations or regions (e.g. Japan/Asia) and vice versa
- the processes of exchange between the fictional and the factual in relation to the heroic (e.g. the adoption of the Hunger Games gesture by political protesters in Thailand)

Please submit abstracts of c. 200 words and a short CV to the organizers via sekretariat.korte@anglistik.uni-freiburg.de by December 31, 2016.
Selected speakers will be reimbursed for the travel and accommodation costs.



Ulrike Zimmermann

SFB 948, Hebelstr. 25
79104 Freiburg