Whether heroes of Antiquity such as Ulysses or Achill, biblical heroes like David or Judith, medieval folk heroes like Robin Hood or Joan of Arc, heroes of national revolution such as Danton or Marat, literary heroes and anti-heroes like Don Quijote or Faust or contemporary superheroes such as Lara Croft or Batman, heroes and heroines were always used as canvas and identificatory figures for individuals, social groups or societies as a whole.
Although a “postheroic age” is often postulated today, one can perceive a new boom of the heroic not only but especially within popular culture nowadays. Thereby, traditions are challenged by new types of heroes and hybrid forms and processes of trivialisation and diffusion stand alongside scepticism and taboos. helden.heroes.héros. e-journal on cultures of the heroic, an open-access journal published by the collaborative research center “Heroes – Heroization – Heroisms” at Freiburg University is exploring this tension between exceptionality of heroic figures and the social groups which they both stabilize and question.
Since the heroic can only ever be visible through representation and groups of followers can only be constituted through the medial dissemination of hero narratives, the second issue of the journal (summer 2014) will be concerned with the issue of “Popular Culture”. The issue will focus on figures, modes of presentation, media-specific phenomena and functions of popular representations of the heroic. What are characteristics of popular heroes? In which media are heroes and their heroic acts presented and who is selecting them? Are there connections between today’s heroes and the folk heroes of earlier times? These and similar questions should be discussed in the submitted contributions.
The Call for Papers is directed at researchers from all humanities and social sciences who are dealing with the representation of the heroic in popular media – not only of the 20th and 21st century, but of all ages. Contributions will be selected based on peer review and abstracts of 2000 characters (including spacing) as well as a short CV should be submitted until 31st January 2014 to: