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Call for Papers

Be cool. How a cultural icon is born

editors Andrea Bernardelli and Eduardo Grillo.

deadline: 27 November 2018

Be cool. How a cultural icon is born

Some cultural elements immediately recognizable and repeated in various contexts maintain a productive capability and repeatedly capture the audience's interest. These elements can be defined as cultural icons because of their mass culture utilization, and they can be also considered as topoi, or in Barthesian terms (Barthes 1957), privileged places of cultural dynamics, archetypes or myths. They can be perceived as recurrent fragments of narratives and images used and abused outside of their context of origin.
These elements are mobile and create, what Jenkins has defined as transmedial narratives (Jenkins 2006). If once these elements came almost entirely from the literary and visual fields, today their origins are mainly audiovisual - they come from movies and TV series (Scaglioni 2006) - or they belong to the new media like, for example, meme, satire and web. They are viral and they constitute an "open canon" (Eibl 1998), an encyclopedic section of our imaginary. They are forms which strongly bring to semantic transformations.
If cultural icons have been described by Fiorentino (Fiorentino 2009), our aim is to analyse how they are generated and perpetuated, their "mechanisms" of their re/creation.
Our call for paper aims at offering a reflection on:

  • How iconical characters and images are presented in linguistic terms (for example religious icons, and their hypercodification)

  • How the concept of icon is related to our cultural imaginary and toUmberto Eco's notion of encyclopedia

  • Icons and intertextuality. How do icons evoke their context of origin?

  • The archetypical nature of icons

  • How does a cultural icon become a political and ideological reference? And which are the effects from an aesthetics point of view of their fruition?

  • Which is the role of cultural icon in the new media through concepts such as transmediality and virality?

  • Which role do cultural icons have in the success or failure of a literary, cultural, audiovisual and musical text?

  • Why do we talk about cultural icons in marketing and advertising?

  • How do cultural icons influence behaviours, cultural stereotypes and political preferences?

  • How do cultural icons represent gender/transgender political and social issues?

  • How do cultural icons represent/deconstruct notions such as race and ethnicity?

General Informations

  • The acceptance of the articles and their publication is subject to double blind peer review.

  • The Authors can find all the editing and format rules at the page "Come si collabora" (How to contribute to Ocula), on the home page. Please read it carefully and follow the recommendations.

  • There are no official limits of length to the articles, yet we recommend 40.000 characters as a reasonable maximum measure (including spaces, notes and references).

  • Files format accepted are .doc, docx, .odt.

  • The articles may include any kind of images.

  • Images (photographies, graphs, tables) must be included in the main text file and submitted each as a separate file, in .jpg, .png, .tif, .eps, .psd formats.

  • The Authors must send their contribution in two versions: one in anonymous form, to be sent to the reviewers, and the other containing name, position, email, website, biographic notes. Each version must be a separate file.

  • In the anonymous file, in any reference to the Author�s publications the name must be cancelled and replaced by ''Author� and the titles by ''Title of the publication''. The date must be let visible.

  • Please, add an abstract of the paper.


  • Abstracts Proposal: January 31, 2019.

  • Submission of the essays: May 30, 2019.

  • Notification of acceptance, rejection or revision request: July 31, 2019

  • Scheduled Publication: November 30, 2019

  • Accepted languages: Italian, English

Abstracts and articles must be sent to:
Andrea Bernardelli: andrea.bernardelli@unipg.it
Eduardo Grillo: eduardogrillo79@gmail.com


Barthes, R. (1957), Mythologies, Paris, Seuil (trd. It. Miti d'oggi, Torino, Einaudi, 1974).
Brooker, W. (2001), Batman Unmasked: Analysing a Cultural Icon, New York, Continuum.
Eco, U. (1963), "Fenomenologia di Mike Bongiorno", in Diario minimo, Milano, Bompiani, pp. 30-5.
Eco, U. (1976), Il superuomo di massa. Retorica e ideologia nel romanzo popolare, Milano, Bompiani.
Eco, U. (1977), "Casablanca, o la rinascita degli dei", in Id., Dalla periferia dell'impero, Milano, Bompiani, pp. 138-143.
Eco, U. (1984), "Dizionario vs. enciclopedia", in Semiotica e filosofia del linguaggio, Torino, Einaudi, pp. 55-198.
Eibl, K. (1998), �Textk�rper un Textbedeutung. " Textkï per un Text Bedeutung über die Aggregatzustinde von Literatur, mit einigen Beispielen aus der Geschichte des Faust-Stoffes", in von Heydebrandt R. (hrsg.), Kanon Macht Kultur. Theoretische, historische und soziale Aspekte Estetischen Kanonbildung, Stuttgart-Weimar: Metzler, pp. 60-77.
Fiorentino, F. (2009), a cura di, Icone culturali d'Europa, Macerata, Quodlibet.
Heyer, P. (2012), Titanic Century: Media, Myth, and the Making of a Cultural Icon, London, Praeger.
Jenkins, H. (2006), Convergence Culture. Where Old and New Media Collide, New York, New York University Press.
Panofsky, E. (1955), Meaning in the Visual Arts, Papers in and on Art History, New York, Garden City (trad. it. Il significato nelle arti visive, introduzione di Enrico Castelnuovo e Maurizio Ghelardi, Torino, Einaudi, 1999).
Scaglioni, M. (2006), Tv di culto. La serialit� televisiva e il suo fandom, Milano, Vita & Pensiero.
Spaziante, L. (2016), Icone pop. Identit� e apparenze tra semiotica e musica, Milano, Pearson.
Warburg, A. (1966), La rinascita del paganesimo antico, contributi alla storia della cultura raccolti da Gertrud Bing, Firenze, La nuova Italia.

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