Focus on Fathers – conference (Wroclaw, 4th – 5th of September 2015)

FOCUS ON FATHERS: Fatherhood in contemporary discourse

“I started calling her Moppa,” declares Ali, coming to terms with her father’s recent announcement: he has always identified as a woman, and his daughter’s clever portmanteaux is supposed to combine “momma” and “poppa.” The recent TV series wittily called Transparent, whose success is subsidized by two Golden Globe awards, is one of the more radical approaches to the theme of fatherhood, as it depicts the struggle of a transgendered father of three finally coming out to his adult children. It is by no means, however, a novelty in terms of treating fatherhood as a central theme. Male parenting has gradually come to mark its presence in contemporary discourse, be it in art, media, or social and cultural studies. Literary examples of such endeavours would include Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (2006) or Junot Diaz’s The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007). Even game developers decide to incorporate father figures into their interactive narratives, as it can be observed in titles such as The Banner Saga (2012) or The Last of Us (2013). The popularity of Dan Pearce’s blog Single Dad Laughing no longer surprises, as more and more fathers speak up and share their experiences. The founding and popularity of “The Faces Of Our Fathers” Film Festival in the USA demonstrates a growing need for a more thorough study and increased visibility of fatherhood as a social and cultural phenomenon. As men’s studies unveil and examine the plurality of masculinities, various categories of fatherhood and father figures come to be represented in contemporary culture – from very strict and conservative, through the “traditional,” often sitcom-like model, to the more troubled males for whom parenting is yet one more issue to tackle (think of Tony Soprano, think of Adaś Miauczyński). Our conference aims at exploring the plethora of father figures present in literature, film, television series, video games, social media, media publications. We invite contributions from scholars and students representing all academic disciplines, including but not limited to literature studies, film studies, pop cultural studies, social studies, trauma studies, disability studies, queer studies, and more.

Suggested areas of research include but are not limited to:

• Depictions of fathers/father figures in literature, film, and new media • Fatherhood and the cultural and social norms • Fatherhood versus motherhood; fatherhood and gender roles • Non-biological fatherhood • Toxic fatherhood • Blogging and digital fathers • Fatherhood and posthumanism • Fatherhood in the public discourse • Discrimination of fathers • Masculinities and fatherhood; hegemonic masculinity versus fatherhood • Non-normative fathers • Absence of fatherhood • Fatherhood in relation to centers of authority and economy • Parenting how-to books

Abstracts, not exceeding 300 words, should be sent to focusonfathers2015@gmail.com and include name, affiliation, e-mail address, and up to 6 keywords. Abstract submission deadline is 15th of July 2015, notifications of acceptance will be sent by 25th of July 2015, the conference will take place on the 4th and 5th of September 2015. After the conference, all papers will be eligible for publication in a post-conference peerreviewed monograph.

Conference fee: 300 PLN or 70 EURO (for participants from abroad). The conference will be held at the Institute of English Studies, University of Wrocław, Poland. To learn more please visit the conference website https://focusonfathers.wordpress.com

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