Crosspost: International Conference "Pop Cultures and Ecstatic States of the Body, 1950s-1980s", University of Copenhagen, 30 September - 2 October 2021

Kristoff Kerl's picture

Your network editor has reposted this from H-Announce. The byline reflects the original authorship.

September 30, 2021 to October 2, 2021
Subject Fields: 
Contemporary History, Cultural History / Studies, German History / Studies, Popular Culture Studies

Pop Cultures and Ecstatic States of the Body, 1950s - 1980s

During the 1950s, pop cultures became a phenomenon on a global scale. From the beginning, ecstatic states of the body – caused by the use of substances, by experimenting with different sorts of sexuality, by immersing into music and dancing, by reaching out to religion and spirituality – played an important part in pop cultures. Pop cultures and ecstatic bodies often depended on and referred to each other. States of ecstasy and trance, on the one hand, constituted driving forces in the shaping and the development of pop cultures. On the other hand, pop cultures created and spread new types of ecstasies and new practices of getting ecstatic.

Relying on concepts of ‘doing ecstasy,’ ‘controlling ecstasy,’ and ‘representing ecstasy,’ the conference examines important aspects of the entanglement between pop cultures and ecstatic bodies. Case studies include, e.g., punk music, Hollywood films, and marijuana usage, and they range geographically from Europe and North America to India or Nigeria, together exploring the role of gender, race, age, spaces, travelling, and various other aspects related to the corporeal dimensions of ‘getting high.’

If you are interested in joining the conference, please register by writing an email to:

Conference Program

Thursday, 30 September 2021
13:00 Conference opening

13:30 Panel 1: Framing Ecstasy
Chair: Detlef Siegfried (University of Copenhagen)
- Kristoff Kerl (Feodor Lynen-Fellow/University of Copenhagen): Pop Ecstasies. Reflections on Ecstatic States of the Body in the History of Pop Cultures.
- Commentary by Bodo Mrozek (Berlin Center for Cold War Studies) and discussion

15:30 Panel 2: Doing Ecstasy 1: Gender
Chair: Carl-Henrik Bjerstrom (University of Copenhagen)
- Vojin Sasa Vukadinovic (Free University of Berlin): No Future Whatsoever. Punk as Negative Ecstasy at the End of the 1970s.
- Peder Clark (University of Liverpool): Big Fun. Ecstasy, Rave and Gendered Pleasure in Britain, 1988 to 1996.
- Commentary by Joana-Isabel Duyster Borreda (University of Copenhagen) and discussion

18:00 First Keynote
Chair: Robert Stephens (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)
- Julia Sneeringer (City University New York): From Bare Bulbs to Liquid Light Shows. Music Club Environments in Hamburg-St. Pauli across the 1960s.

Friday, 1 October 2021
09:00 Panel 3: Doing Ecstasy 2: Spaces
Chair: Kristoff Kerl (Feodor Lynen-Fellow/University of Copenhagen)
- Ralph Höger/Sebastian Knoll-Jung (Heidelberg University): Ecstatic Violence. Pogo Culture and the Body Turn in Gig Practices from Protopunk to Hardcore.
- Nikolai Okunew (Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History Potsdam): Ecstatic Escapism. Heavy Metal Concerts in East Germany.
- Bob Beach (University at Albany, SUNY): „My whole body’s sent, I feel like a millionaire.“ Ecstasies (and Agonies) of Cannabis Intoxication in Jazz-era Tea Pads, 1930-1950.
- Commentary by Holger Schulze (University of Copenhagen) and discussion

11:30 Panel 4: Doing Ecstasy 3: Travel
Chair: Daniel Steinbach (University of Copenhagen)
- Joshua Hill (University of St. Andrews): Spanish ‚Jippies‘, Marijuana, and the Creation of a Moral Panic under Franco’s National Catholicism.
- Isabel Richter (University of Berkeley): ‘Drifting into Uncertainty‘. World Music, 1960-1980.
- Commentary by Michael Alexander Langkjaer (University of Copenhagen) and discussion

15:00 Panel 5: Controlling Ecstasy
Chair: Ana Antic (University of Copenhagen)
- Lucky Igohosa Ugbudian (Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike): Pop Cultures and Ecstatic States of the Body. The Nigerian Experience.
- Jake P. Smith (Colorado College): Archeological Ecstasies. Music, Memory, and the Built Environment in the Punk and New Wave Movements.
- Ondrej Daniel (Charles University): Hooligan Frenzy. Ecstatic Violence and Late State Socialist East European Football.
- Commentary by Florian Schleking (University of Cologne) and discussion

17:30 Second Keynote
Chair: Olaf Stieglitz (Leipzig University)
- Juliane Fürst (Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History Potsdam): Ecstacy as Prayer and Salvation. Soviet Hippies and their Kaif.

Saturday, 2 October 2021
10:00 Panel 6: Representing Ecstasy in the Media
Chair: Tobias Wung-Sung (University of Copenhagen)
- Karl Siebengartner (Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich): Unruly Bodies. Punks, Ecstasy and Pop Culture in West Germany.
- Robert P. Stephens (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University): The Ecstasy and the Agony. Hollywood and the Construction of Mental Maps of Addiction.
- Olaf Stieglitz (Leipzig University): A Tunnel at the End of the Light. The New Hollywood, White Masculinity, and the Limits of Ecstasy.
- Commentary by Ana Vera (University of Copenhagen) and discussion

12:30 Closing discussion

Contact Info: 

Kristoff Kerl, University of Copenhagen