Call for Papers: “Dark Romantic Automata”

Call for Papers: Special Session on “Dark Romantic Automata”

Organized by Chris Clason and Michael Demson

International Conference on Romanticism, October 20-23, 2016 (abstracts due May 25, 2016) Colorado Springs, Colorado

At the turn of the nineteenth century, ‘dark’ engineers – working at the intersection of artistic imagination and technological ‘progress’ – produced a number of automata, robots, and other simulations of life, both via literary conceptualization and in material realizations. While in some circles these developments were heralded as scientific advancement, in others dire warnings were sounded against such uncanny imitations of life – ‘horrid aberrations,’ the production of which evinced technological hubris, the arrogance of Enlightenment philosophy, and the vain attempt of science to supplant God and nature in the act of creation. Indeed, these manufactured monsters were sometimes taken as assaults upon human identity, psychology, and religion.

In line with the conference theme of “Dark Romanticism,” we are proposing a session of 15-20 minute papers on “Dark Romantic Automata,” to focus on the broadest possible interpretation of the title. We encourage submissions of 300-word abstracts by May 25, 2016 to Chris Clason and Michael Demson on this topic, including (but not limited to):

Automata in Romantic literature & art

The borders of life – human & mechanical

Romantic prostheses & the able-bodied

Ocular & auditory instruments: Romantic telescopes, eyeglasses, hearing aids

Devious puppets & dolls

Uncanny mechanisms

From Metropolis to Blade Runner and beyond: automata and Romanticism in film

Romanticism and science fiction

Automata, exhibitions and exhibiters

Animations & reanimations

The machinery of the theater

Musical automata, player pianos, Aeolian harps

Automata, Doppelgänger, & psychological responses

Automata & Romantic apocalypse