The 19th Space Between Annual Conference will be on ‘Memory and Prophecy in the Space Between, 1914-1945’, and will be held on 25 to 27 May 2017 in Oxford MS, at the University of Mississippi. The Call for Papers can be downloaded here: sb-2017-flyer
Seen from a distance of several decades, the years 1914-1945 appear dense with both endings and beginnings. What did the past and the future promise at this claustrophobic historical moment? If occupants of the “Space Between” often understood their position as one between cataclysms, the first realized and the other potential, they also understood themselves as situated in a series of much longer historical trajectories. From cenotaphs and memoirs to manifestos and utopias, the matter of memory and prophecy was in constant circulation, as collectives and individuals struggled to articulate usable versions of the past and the future.
The past returned in forms both wanted and unwanted, as official modes of memorialization clashed with unofficial ones, and as fond recollection jostled with traumatic repetition. Histories of colonialism and racial oppression pressed on the present, even if the future hinted at possible new horizons; muted narratives of queer history and class struggle took shape in the face of dominant ideologies. But just as the past could take many forms, so could the future: while totalitarianism rendered dystopias in the present by foreclosing and foreshortening the futures of those exiled, displaced, and victimized by regimes both Fascist and Communist, cultural producers persisted in crafting utopias. The growth of speculative fiction in this period testifies to a widespread interest in the technological and social possibilities of the future, while nonfiction cultural forms imagined political revolution, ideal and rebuilt communities, social engineering, and spiritual ascension as means of translating the frequently troubling realities of the interwar and wartime years into opportunities for meaningful change.