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Material Traces of the Past in Contemporary Literature

6-8 May 2015

University of Málaga

The critical notion of the ‘trace’, as developed by the philosophies of Jacques Derrida and Paul Ricoeur, has proved to be very profitable for the analysis of memory, history and the past in contemporary historical literature. By intersecting the notion of the ‘trace’ with more recent and innovative perspectives on past-present relations (such as Thing Theory or phenomenology), this Conference takes a step further by approaching traces from a material point of view. The focalization on the object in contemporary literature reveals not only the tangible endurance of the past into the present but also the inherent potential of the material object to reanimate memory and history. We invite papers dealing with contemporary literature and material traces in the guise of objects, sensations or bodily traces, to name just a few, to demonstrate that the past can be rendered visible and palpable through its materiality.

Possible topics may include (but are not limited to):

  • Neo-Victorianism and material traces of the Victorian past
  • The trace of the past/s in recent fiction
  • Contemporary uses of the trace in literature and culture
  • Material traces and “the sensory turn”
  • The trace in connection with excavation and the archeology of the past
  • The trace and museum studies
  • Tangibility of the past through photographs, mementos, keepsakes, memorials, archives, etc
  • Bodily traces: ageing and material memory

Main organiser

Rosario Arias
( Universidad de Málaga )

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If you have any question regarding the Conference, please send an email to:

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