‘Mythologies’: A 60th Anniversary Invitation

In 1957, the French literary theorist Roland Barthes (1915-1980) published Mythologies (Seuil, 1957), his most influential book, and perhaps one of the best-known books written by a 20th century French thinker. The book was a collection of fifty-three individual essays and a lengthy afterword that was meant to elucidate the theoretical vision that had informed the foregoing texts. The essays themselves dealt with a wealth of phenomena of modern life ranging from advertising, consumption, and mass media to cinema, sports, and popular culture. Barthes’s main claim in these short vignettes was that the phenomena that the essays dealt with were generally imposed on us in a ‘mythological’ manner.

What are the ‘new mythologies’ of our ‘post-truth’ world? Are they different? Or are we still dealing with the same themes that Barthes identified as meaningful? What form do myths take in an openly anti-intellectual environment? Are mythological analyses and semioclasm even possible anymore? Or are today’s myths too politically resistant, like the MDR microbes that have become such a menacing part of our everyday lives?

Consider this an invitation to wonder about these and other related questions in the spirit of Barthes’s book.

A blog symposium has been set up to hopefully offer a forum for a variety of analyses from a variety of ‘new mythologists’. You may either submit an original piece, or you may provide an abstract to a piece that you may have written elsewhere (e.g. on a blog site of your own) in which case a link will be provided. You can write essays proper à la Barthes, or you may write in a more academic style (in which case cite using MLA). Length is, again, mainly up to you, but as these are blog entries, a recommended maximum length would be 3.000 words.

For further details and submission, go to the blog symposium: http://blogs.helsinki.fi/newmythologies/

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