Last week I attended a conference on “Nostalgia in Contemporary Culture” at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense organized by Rune Graulund, Niklas Salmose and Eric Sandberg. They are members of the project Nostalgia in Contemporary European Culture hosted by the University of Oulu, Finland. With participants from all over Europe as well as the United States, Turkey, China and Japan and with colleagues from literature, film and media departments, the conference was both extraordinary international and interdisciplinary. The topics of the papers were equally wide-ranging touching on poetry and crime fiction, autobiography and Ostalgie, digital kitsch and the Gothic (for the full conference programme click here). Yet, as broadly as nostalgia was used at the conference, it provided a common theme that helped to bridge the divides between disciplines and allowed for many interesting discussions and conversation. I was speaking
in the only panel directly dealing with politics, which shows that nostalgia studies are still primarily focused on culture—literature, film, TV, the internet etc.—rather than politics. However, Trump and Brexit were mentioned by many papers throughout the conference, which might suggest that nostalgia studies are increasingly discovering politics and the relationship between politics and culture. Whatever road nostalgia studies may take, I enjoyed the conference very much, all the more because I returned with two gifts: Analoge Nostalgia in der digitalen Medienkultur by Dominik Schrey and Once Upon a Time: Nostalgic Narratives in Transition edited by Niklas Salmose and Eric Sandberg.