CFP: international conference on ostranenie (aka estrangement/defamiliarization)

2 replies, 2 voices Last updated by Alexandra Berlina 7 years, 8 months ago
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    Alexandra Berlina

    Dear all,

    I’m organizing a conference at which I’d love to meet some of you:

    A Hundred Years of Ostranenie: an International Conference

    <u>University of Erfurt, December 15-17 2016</u>

    A century ago, in 1916, a young student named Viktor Shklovsky self-published his precocious essay-cum-manifesto “Art as Device”. In it, he coined a term which became crucial in literary studies, and important in the study of cinema and visual art: ostranenie. Also known as “defamiliarization”, “estrangement”, “enstrangement”, “making strange” and “foregrounding”, ostranenie is about rendering the usual extraordinary and thus making the reader (or viewer) perceive it anew.

    The conference is international and interdisciplinary; scholars beyond Slavic and literary departments are expressly invited. Cognitive approaches are very welcome. Funding for travel costs will be probably available. Please find a detailed call for papers at

    On a related note: I am looking for example of human violence made strange in fiction — things like the description of war from a Tralfadamorian perspective in Slaughterhouse-Five (or from a little girl’s view in War and Peace). If you come across something of the kind, could you perhaps contact me? Thank you so much! Please forgive me for making this post in two forums.


    Elana Gomel

    Dear Alexandra, I am not sure whether it fits your definition of ostraneniye but the last scene in H. G. Wells’ “The Invisible Man” has the violated body literally develop into visibility as the victim is dying. I wrote a book on violence (Bloodscripts, 2003) and though I did not deal with Shklovsky’s theory at any length, I was very intrigued by your question. Good luck with your project!


    Alexandra Berlina

    Hello Elana!

    Your book is on my reading list. How strange that authors of books intended for reading materialize as people… I’ve been thinking of Wells; it’s not quite ostranenie, methinks, but perhaps DIY ostranenie, available for possible reader construction.

    Thank you!

    …и вообще много общего у нас: только мой третий язык не иврит, а немецкий — мои родители в свое время не выбрали Израиль…:)

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