Call for papers

« Returning (Nostalgia) / Retourner (la nostalgie) »

n° 39 (spring 2022)

Intermediality. History and Theory of the Arts, Literature, and Technologies

Intermédialités. Histoire et théorie des arts, des lettres et des techniques

Guest editors :

André Habib, Université de Montréal

Suzanne Paquet, Université de Montréal

Carl Therrien, Université de Montréal

Deadline for submitting a proposal: July 15, 2021
Announcement of proposal selection results: August 15, 2021
Submission of completed texts for peer review: October 15, 2021
Publication of the texts approved by the journal’s editorial board: spring 2022


Returning (Nostalgia)

The neologism “nostalgia” was first coined in 1688 by the Swiss medical student Johannes Hofer in order to give a scientific name to a peculiar affliction and to inscribe it in the catalogue of nosographical entries (which was in full expansion in the seventeenth century): the sickly desire to return to one’s distant native land, a desire that until then had been known in common parlance as Heimweh, Sehnsucht, mal du pays, homesickness, saudade, desengaño, etc. From the scholarly language of medicine (and military medicine in particular) in the eighteenth century to the language of Romantic literature and music in the nineteenth century, and then entering into common usage, the term would lose, over time, both its prominent place in the inventory of medical pathologies and its relevance as a poetic mode or wellspring (Starobinksi, Bolzinger). In the meantime, it had come to designate a sense of distance from one’s homeland as well as the pain associated with the irreversible passage of time and the loss of childhood. Thus, after deserting the dissecting rooms, the doctors’ offices, and the poetry books of the avant-garde, nostalgia migrated into popular culture and, since the 1960s and 1970s, has marked in a substantial way the realms of cinema, music, and television (Davis, Cook, Dwyer, Holdsworth, Lizardi). It has come to define a way of relating to the past—and our digital environment has only reinforced this trend—that makes the past conceivable primarily in terms of regret or lack, thus also incorporating, some would say, a regressive and reactionary dimension, sometimes coupled with dubious political connotations (which we still haven’t completely gotten rid of). For this reason, the 1970s and 1980s gave rise to a scathing critique of nostalgia and the “retro” trend in general (Baudrillard, Jameson). For the last twenty years or so, however, we have been witnessing nostalgia’s slow rehabilitation, or rather a move towards making this concept more intellectually and critically complex (Svetlana Boym’s seminal work is a notable starting point), including its potentially positive, progressive, and even curative aspects. Various approaches—a closer look at the history of nostalgia (Bolzinger, Starobinski), the emergence of new cultural and aesthetic expressions of nostalgia’s “symptoms” (in video games, music, photography, cinema), and the advent, in the digital age, of technological and media-based forms of this feeling (one speaks of technostalgia, analog nostalgia, of online nostalgic “communities”)—have invited researchers from the social sciences and the humanities as well as from media studies, literature, and the artistic disciplines to “return” (towards) nostalgia, thinking of it as an activity (“to nostalgize”) and as a productive way to describe the modes of interaction that individuals and communities maintain with the past and with technology (Niemeyer, Fantin, Févry, Schrey, van der Heijden). Other approaches have considered nostalgia from an anthropological, intercultural, global, queer, and decolonial perspective, revealing nostalgia’s new, contemporary critical potential (Angé, Berliner, Bonnett, Duyvendak, Padva).

What, then, can an intermedial approach to nostalgia contribute? Intermediality, considered not as a transcendent concept or as an autonomous metadiscipline, but as an interdisciplinary (and often undisciplined) method, allows one to situate, question, and seize the objects of analysis from within their environment, from the interweaving of the material conditions and techniques, as well as ideas and discourses that constitute their a priori. In this issue of Intermédialités/Intermediality we will approach nostalgia by analyzing, through its various manifestations (medical dissertations, popular songs, TV series, video games, novels, etc.), the tangle of media connections that underlie its effectiveness and relevance. Intermediality also invites us to think of nostalgia across historical epochs and at the intersection of several media in order to unfold the clichés associated with the concept, its notions of cultural survival, temporal montages, remediations of memories. By approaching nostalgia in terms of intermediality, we seek to underscore the plurality of relations that overlap within different phenomena, and the different ways they engage with the media’s material conditions, the media environments in which distinct practices and exchanges develop, and the production of discourses and affects.

This issue aims to gather contributions by researchers from diverse disciplinary backgrounds. The articles should focus on specific case studies that demonstrate the diverse intermedial dimensions of nostalgia. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

– Media, memory, and nostalgia

– Retrogaming

– Fake vintage, retro, and nostalgia

– Non-western nostalgia

– Nostalgia and social media

– Technostalgia (analog and digital nostalgia)

– Literature(s) of exile and nostalgia

– Contemporary cinema and TV series

– Nostalgia, queer, and kitsch

– Industries of nostalgia: economy, value, and affect

– Nostalgia and melancholy

– Nostalgia and psychoanalysis

– Nostalgia(s): global and postcolonial perspectives


Intermédialités/Intermediality is a biannual journal, which publishes original articles in French and English evaluated through a blind peer review process.


Proposals (350–400 words) in English or French should include an abstract, a preliminary bibliography (five books or articles) and a brief biographical note (academic program, fields of interest, 5–10 lines). Proposals will be evaluated by the journal’s scientific committee, based on the originality of the approach and the relevance of the problematic. They should be sent before July 15th, 2021 to André Habib at the following email address:

Completed texts should be sent before October 15th, 2021. They should be no longer than 6,000 words (40,000 characters, including spaces) and can incorporate illustrations (audio, visual, still or animated) whose publication rights should be secured by the authors.


Authors are requested to follow the submission guidelines available at:




For more information on Intermédialités/Intermedialities, please consult the journal issues available through the online portal Érudit:




Angé, Olivia, and David Berliner (ed.), Anthropology and Nostalgia, New York–Oxford, Berghahn Books, 2015.

Böhn, Andreas, « Nostalgia of the Media/in the Media », in Winfried Nöth and Nina Bishara (ed.), Self-Reference in the Media, Berlin–New York, De Gruyter Mouton, 2007, p. 143–153.

Bolzinger, André, Histoire de la nostalgie, Paris, Campagne Première, coll. « Recherche », 2007.

Bonnett, Alastair, The Geography of Nostalgia: Global and Local Perspectives on Modernity and Loss, London, Routledge, 2017.

Boym, Svetlana, The Future of Nostalgia, New York, Basic Books, 2001.

Cook, Pam, Screening the Past. Memory and Nostalgia in Cinema, London–New York, Routledge, 2005.

Davis, Fred, Yearning for Yesterday. A Sociology of Nostalgia, New York, The Free Press, London, Collier Macmillan Publishers, 1979.

Duyvendak, Jan Willem, The Politics of Home – Belonging and Nostalgia in Western Europe and the United States, London, Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

Dwyer, Michael D., Back to the Fifties: Nostalgia, Hollywood Film and Popular Music of the Seventies and Eighties, Oxford, Oxford University Press, coll. « Oxford Music/Media », 2015.

Ericson, Staffan, Johan Fornäs and Anne Kaun (ed.), « Media Times: Mediating Time –Temporalizing Media: Introduction », International Journal of Communication, vol. 10, 2016, p. 5206–5212.

Fantin, Emmanuelle, and Thibault Le Hégarat (ed.), « L’Âge d’or », Le Temps des médias, vol. 27, n° 2, 2016, p. 5–15.

Habib, André, and Alice Michaud-Lapointe (ed.), Dossier « Le temps du rétro », Spirale, nº 266, 2018, p. 27–65.

H-ermes. Journal of Communication, Dossier « Nostalgia », nº 8, 2016, (accessed 17 February 2021).

Hofer, Johannus, Medical Dissertation on Nostalgia or Homesickness, Basel, Jacob Bertschius, 1688, in Bulletin of the Institute of the History of Medecine, 1er janvier 1934, trans. Carolyn Kiser Anspach, p. 376–391.

Holdsworth, Amy, Television, Memory and Nostalgia, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

Lizardi, Ryan, Mediated Nostalgia. Individual Memory and Contemporary Mass Media, Washington, Lexington Books, 2015.

Niemeyer, Katharina (ed.), Media and Nostalgia. Yearning for the Past, Present and Future, Houndmill (R.-U.), coll. « Macmillan Memory Studies », 2014.

Niemeyer, Katharina, Emmanuelle Fantin and Sébastien Févry, Nostalgies contemporaines. Médias, cultures et technologies, Villeneuve-d’Ascq, Presses universitaires du Septentrion, 2021.

Padva, Gilad, Queer Nostalgia in Cinema and Popular Culture, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

Schrey, Dominik, Analoge Nostalgie in der digitalen Medienkultur, Berlin, Kadmos, 2017.

Starobinski, Jean, L’encre de la mélancolie, Paris, Éditions du Seuil, coll. « Essais/Points », 2012.

Van der Heijden, Tim, « Technostalgia of the present: From Technologies of Memory to a Memory of Technologies », NECSUS, November 16th, 2015, (accessed 14 May 2021).