The Persistence of the Short Story: Traditions and Futures

Date: July 10-12, 2024
Location: Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz
Hosted by the Obama Institute for Transnational American Studies, the Society for the Study of the American Short Story, and the American Literature Association
Venue: Campus JGU Helmholtz-Institute Mainz (HIM), Staudingerweg 18, 55128 Mainz


Wednesday, July 10, 2024  

3:00 pm        Registration

4:00 pm        Conference Opening (Senatssaal, Natural Science Building (room 07-232))

Vice-President for Research, Johannes-Gutenberg-UniversitĂ€t, Prof. Dr. Stefan MĂŒller-Stach

Dean, Faculty of the Humanities, Prof. Dr. Axel R. SchÀfer

Director, Obama Institute, Prof. Dr. Alfred Hornung

Conference Organizers, Prof. Dr. Oliver Scheiding, Prof. Dr. Jochen Achilles

4:30 pm        Roundtable: Short Fiction Research in a Transnational Context

Chair: Michael Basseler (Justus-Liebig-UniversitĂ€t Giessen): Coordinator Short Forms Beyond Borders-EU Strategic Partnerships

American Literature Association (ALA): Olivia Carr Edenfield, Director (Georgia Southern University), Alfred Bendixen, Executive Director (Princeton University) 

Society for the Study of the American Short Story (SSASS): James Nagel, President (University of Georgia)

European Network for Short Fiction Research (ENSFR): Michelle Ryan, Director (UniversitĂ© d’Angers), Ailsa Cox, Associate Director (Edge Hill University), Elke D’hoker, Communications Coordinator (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)

Studies in the American Short Story: James Nagel, Editor (University of Georgia), Kirk Curnutt, Associate Editor (Troy University)

Journal of the Short Story in English: GĂ©rald PrĂ©her, Editor (UniversitĂ© d’Artois) 
Short Fiction in Theory and Practice: Ailsa Cox, Principal Editor (Edge Hill University)

6.00 pm         Welcome Reception

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Conference Venue: Helmholtz Institute

9:00–10:20 am        Session 1: Aesthetic Dimensions

Chair: Jochen Achilles (Julius-Maximilians-UniversitĂ€t WĂŒrzburg)

Ailsa Cox (Edge Hill University), “Beyond the Collection”

Elke D’hoker (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven), “Serializing the Short Story”

Michelle Ryan (UniversitĂ© d’Angers), “The Ethics of Short Forms in Rikki Ducornet’s Late Career Writing”

10.20–10:40 am      Coffee Break

10:40–12.00 am      Session 2: Historical Dimensions

Chair: James Nagel (University of Georgia)

Alfred Bendixen (Princeton University), “New Voices Confronting the Silence – The Emergence of Feminist Traditions in the American Short Story”

Monika Elbert (Montclair State University), “Wealth, Handicaps, and Poverty: Women’s Gothic Tales of Dis-Possession”

Stefanie SchĂ€fer (UniversitĂ€t Wien), “The Man-Made Place: Yankee Storytellers and the Early American Short Story”

12:00 am -1:00 pm              Lunch

1:00–2:20 pm          Session 3: Current Trends

Chair: Laura Dietz (University College London)

Michael Basseler (Justus-Liebig-UniversitĂ€t Giessen), â€œIs there a Postsocialist North American Short Story?”

Gudrun Grabher (Leopold-Franzens-UniversitĂ€t Innsbruck), “Every Patient has Their Unique Story: The Significance of the Short Story for Medical Humanities”

Patricia MacCormack (Anglia Ruskin University), “Weird Madness: Brief Encounters Against the Anthropocene”

2:30–3:50 pm          Session 4: Region 

Chair: Stefanie SchĂ€fer (UniversitĂ€t Wien)

Alessandra Boller (UniversitĂ€t Siegen), “The Politics of Encounter: B/Order Crossings in Transnational (Irish) Short Fiction”

Olivia Carr Edenfield (Georgia Southern University), “The Poetic Landscape of Breece D’J Pancake”

GĂ©rald PrĂ©her (UniversitĂ© d’Artois), “The Past in the Present, or the Enduring South in Elizabeth Spencer’s Starting Over (2014)”

3.50-4:10 pm                        Coffee Break

4:10–5.30 pm Postgraduate Roundtable on Short Fiction Research 

Chair: Alessandra Boller (UniversitĂ€t Siegen)

Maegan Bishop (Georgia Southern University), “Re-imagining the American Landscape: Visual Rhetoric and the Influence of Image on the 21st Century American Short-Story Cycle”

VĂ©ronica Frejo (Universidad AutĂłnoma de Madrid), “Short Stories as Videogames: A Transmedia Analysis”

Carolin Jesussek (Johannes-Gutenberg-UniversitĂ€t Mainz), â€œDisability Gothic in William Alexander’s Short Story ‘The House on the Moon’”

Amina Grunewald (Humboldt-UniversitÀt zu Berlin), Topic to be announced.

7:00 pm         Mainz City Hall

Reception by the City Authorities

City Hall-Lecture: James Nagel (University of Georgia), “The American Short Story in Academia: A Personal Report” 

Friday, July 12, 2024

Conference Venue: Helmholtz Institute Mainz

9:00–10.20 am        Session 5: Media and New Approaches

Chair: Oliver Scheiding (Johannes-Gutenberg-UniversitĂ€t Mainz)

Kirk Curnutt (Troy University), “Prophecies of Extinction, Prospects for Evolution: Whither the Future of the Short Story?”

Bernardo Manzoni Palmeirim (Universidade de Lisboa), “Paying Attention in Lydia Davis and Short Forms”

10:20–10:40 am      Coffee Break

10:40–12:00 am      Session 6: Digitization

Chair: VĂ©ronica Frejo (Universidad AutĂłnoma de Madrid)

Laura Dietz (University College London), â€œDigitization and Short Story Authorship: Authorial Careers on Emerging Platforms” 

Jana Keck (German Historical Institute Washington), “Fact or Fiction? Computational Analysis of Short Stories in Nineteenth-Century German-American Newspapers”

Damien B. Schlarb (Johannes-Gutenberg-UniversitĂ€t Mainz), “Short Stories, Longplay: Formal Influences of the Short Story on Digital Games and the Integration of Narrative and Play”

12:00 am–1:00 pm Lunch 

1:00–2:50 pm          Session 7: Science Fiction

Chair: Sabina Fazli (Johannes-Gutenberg-UniversitĂ€t Mainz)

Andrew M. Butler (Canterbury Christ Church University), “’The Flimsiest of Tissues’: Pamela Zoline’s ‘The Holland of the Mind’”

Gary Westfahl (University of La Verne), “Confronting the Alien in the Science Fiction Short Story”

2:50–3:10 pm                       Coffee Break

3:10–4:10 pm          Session 8: Diversity

Chair: Michelle Ryan (UniversitĂ© d’Angers)

Erik Redling (Martin-Luther-UniversitĂ€t Halle-Wittenberg), “Modernist Politics of Race: Allegorical Readings of Zora Neale Hurston’s Early Short Fiction”

Hertha Dawn Sweet Wong (University of California, Berkeley), “The Future of the Indigenous Short Story”

4:20–5:20 pm          Session 9: Horror and Crime

Chair: Olivia Carr Edenfield (Georgia Southern University)

Will Norman (University of Kent), â€œPaul Linebarger, Cordwainer Smith and the Affordances of Mid-Century Science Fiction Tales”

Whit Frazier Peterson (UniversitĂ€t Stuttgart), “The Sunken and the Ascending: Black Horror Short Fiction” 

8.00 pm                    Conference Dinner at Weingut Philipp Dhom, Jakob Braunwart Weg 3, 55129 Mainz (meet up tba, joint travel to the location;

Maps (Hotels, Campus, and Venues)

Frankfurt Airport to Mainz (S-Bahn)

Take the train from Frankfurt Airport to Mainz Central Station (tram line: S8). Tickets can be purchased at the airport vending machines (approximately 9,90€). Both hotels are a short walk from the main entrance of the train station.

Mainz Station to University (Tram lines 51, 53, and 59)

There are a variety of buses and trams from Mainz Central Station to the JGU campus. We recommend you take the trams (lines 51, 53, or 59) to travel to campus, since they all stop at the university (cf. (2)) and the Friedrich-von-Pfeiffer Weg (cf. (3)). It will take about 5 minutes from Mainz Central Station to the JGU campus and a ticket will cost 2,50€.

Follow the directions on the map below to find your way to the conference venues. Please keep in mind that there are different venues (Wednesday: Senatssaal (cf. (B)), Natural Science Building (07-232), elevator accessible); Thursday-Friday: Helmholtz Institute (cf. (A)).

Mainz Station to City Hall (Tram lines 51, 52, and 53)

Thursday evening, we invite participants to join us for a reception at Mainz City Hall, as well as a City Hall-Lecture held by James Nagel (cf. program above). Similar to the route from Mainz Central Station to the JGU campus, there are a variety of buses and trams from Mainz Central Station to Mainz MĂŒnsterplatz (cf. (2)). We again recommend you take the tram (lines 51, 52, or 53) and then walk to City Hall (walking distance roughly 500m).

This conference is made possible by the funding of the DFG.

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