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Fire Stories

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Fire, by Giuseppe Arcimboldi (1527 ca- 1593), oil on panel, © The British Library Board (11048399)

Date: 4-6 December 2013
Location: The University of Melbourne
Registration: closes Monday 25 November 2013.  Click here to register. 
Contact: fire-stories@unimelb.edu.au.  Further details here.

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A source of survival, comfort and terror, humans have struggled to control and harness fire since its discovery tens of thousands of years ago. This symposium will address emotional responses to fires in literature and history, looking particularly at how the fleeting destruction of a blaze is conveyed in narrative terms. Participants will be invited to consider a dialogue between ancient and modern representations of fire (including the mythical) and the affective responses that they evoke. Speakers are also encouraged to address the role that fictional representations of burning landscapes or cityscapes can play in the aftermath of a major disaster.

Keynote speakers:

Topics may include:

  • Disaster narratives/environmental catastrophe
    The ecology of fire
    Representations of bushfires/wildfires
    Climate change
    Performing fire/ the aesthetics of fire
    The poetics of the flame
    Fire in the colonies
    Fire and colonial settlers
    Indigenous representations of fire
    Fire and childhood
    Fire and folklore
    Fire and national identity
    Firescapes and emotions
    Psychological responses to fires
    Survivor stories
    Fire and memory
    The domestic hearth