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Conference Program: "Heroism as a Global Phenomenon in Popular Culture"


Organized by Michael Butter (Tübingen), Nicole Falkenhayner, Wolfgang Hochbruck, Barbara Korte (Freiburg) and Simon Wendt (Frankfurt)

In an age of globalization and transnationalism, heroes transcend their cultural spheres of origin and are re-rooted, adapted and translated in new local contexts across the world. We understand heroes and heroines as a phenomenon of exceptionality that has a positive significance in relation to the values, ideals and norms of the communities in which these figures are admired, followed, functionalized but also debated. In this process of “glocalization,” popular culture, with its world-wide markets and media, is a driving force. Media as diverse as films, comics, graphic novels, computer games, or internet blogs construct and disseminate narratives about heroes and heroisms across the globe and are consumed in the Global North as well as the Global South. At the same time, there are centers of dissemination – including Hollywood, Bollywood, or Hong Kong – that continue to dominate processes of production and dissemination of hero narratives.

This multidisciplinary conference aims to highlight the complex and interrelated processes of creation, marketing, consumption and impact of globalized hero narratives, as well as the numerous cultural flows of exchange that have made them possible since the end of World War II. We are interested in contributions (case studies) which conceive of heroism as a transcultural and transnational phenomenon that may originate in one particular nation but ultimately transcends borders. Questions to be discussed include how the meanings of heroic figures and narratives are changed in cultural translation, or what specific processes are active in the world-wide exchange of figures and concepts of the heroic. Case studies will focus on situations in Europe, North America, Africa and Asia.

For more information see here.