Popular Culture and SFF Research Group
The aim of the “Popular Culture and SFF in the English-Speaking Countries” interdisciplinary research group is the scientific examination of two areas that have several points in common – English-language science-fiction and visual culture (film, TV, comics etc.), and English-language popular culture. Although these two fields partially overlap, popular culture incorporates several other genres (detective stories, action movies, horror etc.) which are not part of broadly-defined science-fiction. The most dynamically developing areas of popular culture research reflect traditional high-culture, and how it is reinterpreted and redefined in the products of pop-culture. The members of the research group have been addressing different aspects of sci-fi, and over the last few years have organized several professional-scientific events related to the profile of the research group. In Piliscsaba in 2011, we organized an English language international conference entitled ‘Visions of Baseless Fabric: The 1st Pázmány Conference on the Fantastic,’ and in 2015, in collaboration with the Hungarian Tolkien Society, we organized an international Hungarian and English language conference on J. R. R. Tolkien’s life’s work.
With the coordination of separate research, and the strengthening of our professional collaborations, we intend to achieve new and significant research results, to establish the professional reputation of the university and the faculty, as well as to promote the favorable reception of popular and SFF literature among Hungarian readers.
The leader of the research group is Károly Pintér, Associate Professor, who wrote his dissertation on the topic of utopian literature, the book-version of which was published in the United States in 2010.
The members of the group are:
Anikó Sohár, Associate Professor, renowned literary translator, who translated several English-language science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories into Hungarian, and who wrote her doctoral dissertation on the introduction of SFF after 1989 in Hungary (published by Peter Lang, 1999);
Ildikó Limpár, Senior Lecturer, has chosen English-language SFF literature as the topic of her studies; Kinga Földváry, Senior Lecturer. Her special field of interest is the reinterpretation of English language visual culture and traditional high-culture in today’s popular culture.
Popular culture and SFF activities of the members of the research group:
Vera Benczik (Faculty of Humanities, ELTE)
The primary research domain of Vera Benczik within popular culture is science fiction in English-speaking countries. She wrote her dissertation on Ursula K. Le Guin’s SF novels, and at the moment she is researching post-apocalyptic SF. She gave several lectures on the topic of SFF for students of the BA, MA and PhD programmes. She is the member of the EASPop research group, operating under the School of English and American Studies of the Faculty of Humanities at ELTE.
Kinga Földváry (Department of English Literatures and Cultures, PPCU)
In her research, Kinga Földváry mostly addresses theories of visual culture and the relationship between popular and high-culture. The film adaptations of Shakespeare’s dramas, the relationship between adaptations and popular film genres and contemporary British novels, particularly the nominees for the best-known British literary prize, the Booker-prize, render the study of the theories and practices of popular culture interrelated. She conducts SFF studies on film adaptations, and under the English-teacher Training Programme.
Ildikó Limpár (Department of English Literatures and Cultures, PPCU)
Ildikó Limpár’s research domain within SFF literature is the connections between contemporary English-language SFF and the American literary tradition (mostly the American Adam/Eve in the Gardens of the New World topos), and the related topic of the representation of the dreadful (the monstrous). She gives lectures on popular culture as part of the BA and teacher training programmes.
Károly Pintér (Department of English Literatures and Cultures, PPCU)
Research fields of Károly Pintér within SFF literature include: a theoretical approach to utopian tradition; English-language utopian novels until the 20th century; English-language dystopias in the 20th century; the utopian and SFF legacy of H. G. Wells; English language science fiction in the 20th century.
Anikó Sohár (Department of English Language Pedagogy and Translation Studies, PPCU)
"In 1986, perhaps as the first in the country, I wrote my comparative literary history thesis on what mythical, fabled and tale-like elements Tolkien used in The Silmarillion, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and then, each semester, I had a course on the topic at the Department of World Literature that had SFF literature as well, and I also enjoyed bringing these types of texts to literary translation seminars, too. I have been researching SFF literature and its adaptation in Hungary since 1993. My main field of interest is transfer between cultures, mostly because I translate, but also because this is where many translations fail; recently, I have been interested in the visual rendering of SFF. My favorite topics in SFF are the adaptations of myths, fables and tales, the representation of education and science, the rendering of humor and magic, and moral issues and ethics in SFF.”
Éva Vancsó (Faculty of Humanities, ELTE)
Éva Vancsó is a student at the Doctoral School of Literary Studies of the Faculty of Humanities of ELTE. Her field of research is the relationship between science fiction and utopian literature, particularly the utopian features in Hungarian SFF works after 1989.