CFP: Puppen/dolls like mensch – dolls/puppets as artificial people

„denkste: puppe“, multidisziplinäre Online-Zeitschrift für Mensch-Puppen-Diskurse
Universität Siegen
Stichtag: 2019 08 31

The third CfP of the journal denkste: puppe / just a bit of: doll (de:do), a multidisciplinary, peer reviewed online journal for human-doll discourses, focuses on “puppen/dolls like mensch – dolls/puppets as artificial humans”. The first two issues on the focus topics “dolls in threat scenarios” and “dolls as miniatures” are available on the magazine’s homepage ( Regardless of the respective focus, free contributions and formats on human-doll aspects can be submitted at any time.

With the focus on dolls/puppets as “artificial humans” we take up a subject that has concerned mankind since ancient times and has always upset their ‘minds’ and ‘hearts’. In mythologies, literary fictions and narratives, in works of the visual arts, in film, in mechanical-technical utopias, in the performative arts, in pedagogy and the psychosocial fields of psycho-therapy and counseling, and in all the fields of life in which curiosity, Imagination, imagination and resilience unfold, the motif of the doll and its inclusion raises fundamental existential questions: What is human? With the breathtaking development of computer science and robotics in the last decades and current research and applications in the field of artificial intelligence completely new answers to the age-old questions are sought and given on the one hand, which can also be integrated into the millennia-old tradition lines on the other hand and are continuously carried on.

At this point we find it appealing to use the rather old-fashioned idea of the ‘doll’ as a meta-frame for the different manifestations and phenomena of artificial humans: Children’s play dolls, (figure-) theater puppets, automatons and machine men, animated lumps of clay, inflat-able rubber dolls, homunculi, mandrakes, cyborgs, functional robots and socio-emotional assistants, androids, replicants, ventriloquists, and other dummies – all of them are dolls in a sense, whether they appear as literary narratives, fictitious figures, virtual assistants, or as materialized objects. With the creation of an image of themselves in form of dolls, human beings create relational and transitional spaces in which the most diverse potentials as well as abysses can unfold. In a very simple and yet highly condensed way, this process already takes place in the play of the child who – for the first time –creates a kind of human counterpart by ‘dollifying’ an object or who recognizes a doll as such. “Dolls/puppets like mensch” – the double sense of these words underlines the given ambiguity of the doll and the ambivalences that come with it.

The call addresses a wide variety of disciplines as far as theory, research and application is concerned. The aim is to highlight the idea of dolls/puppets as artificial humans in the multiplicity of its literary, artistic-cultural, material-technical, media, psychological-pedagogical variants and manifestations. Not only disciplines in the humanities and cultural disciplines should be addressed, but also the fields of design, technology, robotics and technology-human interactions. This is because the main focus of the topic addressed here is aimed at initiating new transdisciplinary discourses at the interfaces of diverse disciplines.

Contributions should not exceed 30,000 characters. The range of topics results from the considerations mentioned above. In any case, attention should be paid to interdisciplinary comprehensibility. The texts can be submitted in English or German as e-file to the editorial team:
Prof. Dr. Insa Fooken, and/or
Dr. Jana Mikota,

Please send a brief sketch (about 3,500 characters) of your proposal and a short CV by August 31, 2019.
Feedback as to the invitation to submit a contribution will be made by the mid-September 2019. The final manuscript must be submitted by the end of December 2019 at the latest.

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