Carmen and her others: call for papers!

Call for papers ¦ CONFERENCE ¦ Saturday, 12 February 2011
University College London ¦ Mellon Programme


The aim of this interdisciplinary conference is to conduct an in-depth study of Carmen in her various manifestations. By exploring Carmen in text, opera, film, dance and theatre, the conference hopes to trace various incarnations of the work across time and space. By juxtaposing multiple versions, we will explore issues of inter-cultural and inter-medial translation and adaptation.

The most famous versions of Carmen are the Merimee novella (1845) and Bizet’s opera (1875). Subsequently, the story proliferated into over eighty films and numerous re-stagings, including notable versions such as those by Cecille DeMille (1915), Otto Preminger (1954) and Carlos Saura (1995). More recent interpretations include Karmen Gei (2001, Senegal); U-Carmen e-Khayelitsha (2005, South Africa); and a television remake starring Beyonce Knowles (Carmen: A Hip Hopera, 2001).

In addition to these, there are other lesser-known versions of the work. For example, the film The Wild, Wild Rose (1960, Hong Kong); a manga version produced for the Vancouver Opera; and a Danish staging as 2200 Carmens at the Nørrebro Teater with the rapper Isam B in 2009. There have also been numerous uses of the figure of Carmen as an archetype: for example, by the Symbolist poet Aleksandr Blok and the director Petr Chardyninin late Tsarist Russia. Moreover, there have been countless references to Carmen in films such as Mr X, Part 1 (1967, Egypt) and Love Drives Them Mad (1946, Mexico).

The conference invites papers dealing with any version of Carmen in any culture, form and language (including, but not limited to, those mentioned above). We particularly welcome papers that address non-European adaptations or lesser-known re-workings. The papers should address issues such as:
* Genre and media and their impact on representation;
* Cultural adaptability of stories and archetypes;
* Issues of translation across cultures and media;
* The configuration and representation of issues of gender, race and criminality;
* Dissemination and migration of cultural tropes.

Presenters will have 30 minutes for their papers. In addition, each presenter will be asked to respond (in less than 10 minutes) to one other paper. Therefore, all presenters will be also asked to circulate a draft of their paper to their ‘partner’ a week in advance of the conference. It is hoped that this activity will encourage debate across discipline, culture and media.

A book proposal will be drafted once the conference programme is finalised.

Two evening events related to the conference will be held at the Bloomsbury Theatre on 11 and 12 February including a concert version of Carmen with video projections, and a performance with the multimedia artist, Robin Storey (Rapoon).

Please send your proposal (no more than 500 words) by 8 October 2010 to:
carmenandherothers AT

Please direct any questions to:
Dr Mi Zhou (UCL Mellon Programme)
zhou.mi AT


Filed under: arts, conference, films, literature

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