CFP Imaginaires – Pop Culture Online Journal
University of Reims
RETROPHILIA, NOSTALGIA, AND THE END OF POP CULTURE
In 2011, music critic Simon Reynolds's essay Retromania came out, the main argument of which was that “We live in a pop age gone loco for retro and crazy for commemoration. […] Could it be that the greatest danger to the future of our music culture is … its past?” (Reynolds ix). Reynolds’s focus was on pop music at the turn of the new millennium, questioning the role of its producers and the tastes of its audience, stuck in a state of “hyper-stasis”. One decade after Reynolds’s thought-provoking analysis, one may wonder whether this assumption is still relevant today. Can it be extended to other objects of pop culture?
In a 2021 Guardian article, Mark Singer contended that “Covid has pushed pop culture into nostalgia. It’s time for something new”. The American journalist “worried that culture was increasingly trapped in its own past, awash with reissues and remakes. In contrast to most of the 20th century, very little in the world of music or cinema felt radically new” ( last accessed 11/08/22)
-Consumption-based nostalgia for children: books, films, and toys.
- Retro-consumption in music: revival of vinyl discs, CDs, even cassettes (and their players) Old bands reforming for special concerts/performances.
-Retro-parties or revival parties: The Jazz Age Lawn Party (New York City’s original prohibition era inspired gathering. ); The Blitz Party in London (“London’s best-loved and most authentic 1940s party”, <London's Best 1940s-Theme New Years Eve Party (theblitzparty.com)>
2- Retro and vintage culture: forms and formats
-Back to traditional forms of serialisation: weekly episodes vs binge watching – what narrative (and marketing) issues? Ex. On Netflix, Better Saul => one episode per week; more recently, Guillermo Del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities built up viewers “curiosity” by releasing two episodes every day.
-Viewers’ relation to time => Television grid based on a chronological, linear programming to be opposed to digital, non-linear temporality => Can binge-watching be interpreted in terms of Foucault’s heterochrony?
-Streaming platforms and social networks mimicking TV temporality – cf. Live broadcasts on Twitch.
-A new recipe with outdated ingredients: ex.: Black Mirror’s interactive episode, “Bandersnatch” (Netflix, December 2018) => Ambiguous example – using retrogaming mania in the digital age: the viewers can “play” the episode and influence the plot and the fate of the main character.
-The death of television or a renewal of the “television” format?
-Marketable nostalgia in the industry (food industry, fashion industry, etc…) ex. Nostalgia for US Southern history in Dixie Land, the case of “ante-bellum restaurants” serving “plantation food”: Aunt Pittypat’s Porch, Mary Mac’s TeaRoom, and Empire State South (cf. talk given by Lily Kelting at a London conference dedicated to “Pop Culture Nostalgia” in 2016, entitled: “From fried chicken to kimchi grits: restaurants and the nostalgia industry in the U.S. South”, review of the conference here : index.asp (hu-berlin.de)).
-“Retromarketing”: defined as “relaunch or revival of a product or service from a historical period, which marketers usually update to ultramodern standards of functioning, performance or taste.” (<It's not nostalgia. Stranger Things is fuelling a pseudo-nostalgia of the 1980s (theconversation.com)> last accessed 11/08/22)
Please send a 250/300-word abstract with a short resume by December 27th 2022 to the following Email address:
Articles will preferably be in English, occasionally in French.
Notifications of acceptance by January 10th ‘23
Full papers due by April 15th ‘23
Style sheet available here: Submissions | Imaginaires (univ-reims.fr)
Double-blind peer reviewing process until May 31st ‘23
Revised papers due by August 1st ‘23
Online Publication fall/winter 23
BAUMAN, Zygmunt. Retrotopia. Cambridge: Politi Press, 2017.
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BROWN, Stephen. Marketing. The Retro Revolution. London: Sage Publications, 2001.
BURNS, Jehnie I. Mixtape Nostalgia. Culture, Memory, and Representation. New York: Lexington Books, 2021.
DIKA, Vera. Recycled Culture in Contemporary Art and Film: The Rise of Nostalgia. New York: Cambridge UP, 2003.
FLYNN, Susan, and Antonia MACKAY, ed. Screening American Nostalgia. Essays on Pop Culture Constructions of Past Times. Jefferson (North Carolina): McFarland, 2021.
GRAINGE, Paul, ed. Memory and Popular Film. Manchester: Manchester UP, 2003.
HIGSON, Andrew. English Heritage, English Cinema: Costume Drama since 1980. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2003.
LEGGATT, Matthew, ed. Was it Yesterday? Nostalgia in Contemporary Films and Television. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2021.
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REYNOLDS, Simon. Retromania. Pop Culture’s Addiction to its Own Past. London: Faber and Faber, 2011, 2012.
SPERB, Jason. Flickers of Films. Nostalgia in the Time of Digital Cinema. Rutgers UP, 2016.
SPRENGLER, Christine. Screening Nostalgia. Populuxe Props and Technicolor Aesthetics in Contemporary American Film. New York: Berghahn Books, 2009.
WESSELING, Elisabeth, ed. Reinventing Childhood Nostalgia. Books, Toys, and Contemporary Media Culture. New York: Routledge, 2018.