A Symposium at Oxford Brookes University

Saturday January 13th 2018

This one day symposium aims to re-examine the discourse, debates, and products of the hyperreal in the light of contemporary media culture’s nostalgic impulses. Nostalgia is now a keystone in transnational popular culture – from the Instagram-framed figure of the urban hipster, the lifestyle promises of women’s magazines to the re-boot of the infinitely nostalgic Star Wars franchise. Just as nostalgia haunts media culture, it has also prompted us to look back towards the cultural theory that first began flagging up the nostalgic mode of those cultural products.

It has been approximately 40 years since Umberto Eco first travelled in hyperreality and Jean Baudrillard ordered the simulacra; it has been almost 20 years since Morpheus offered Neo the choice between a red or blue pill in The Matrix. While scholarly interest in these seminal texts has trailed off somewhat, both nostalgia and the hyperreal are urgently relevant in a mediascape populated by ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts.’ Now, it seems, is the perfect opportunity to re-visit these modes and concepts.

We are seeking papers of approximately 15-20 minutes that engage with the concepts and cultural products marked by nostalgia and the hyperreal.

We welcome discussions of all media forms (including videogames, music, film, television, theatre, sport, magazine publishing, fiction, and fine art) and encourage interdisciplinary approaches. We are particularly interested in those works that complicate the relationship between hyperrreality, nostalgia, and postmodernism. In addition to panel presentations, this day will include brief workshop discussion sessions.

Please send a 150-200 word abstract and a brief biography to Lindsay Steenberg ( and Leander Reeves ( by Friday September 22nd 2017. We will be in contact with you by the end of September. If you would like to participate in the workshops rather than presentation a paper, please contact us directly.

All the best,
Lindsay Steenberg and Leander Reeves