GSA SEMINARS 2022
The 46th German Studies Association Conference in Houston, Texas, from September 15 to September 18, 2022, will again host a series of seminars in addition to conference sessions and roundtables (for general conference information see *https://www.thegsa.org/conference*).
Seminars meet for all three days of the conference during the first or second morning slot to foster extended discussion, rigorous intellectual exchange, and intensified networking. They are led by two to four conveners and consist of 10 to 20 participants, at least some of whom should be graduate students. In order to reach the goal of extended discussion, seminar organizers and participants are required to participate in all three installments of the seminar.
To apply for a seminar, click here or access the portal through the conference website. Applications ask for an abstract describing the nature of your contribution to the seminar (500 words max), as well as a short biography (300 words max). The deadline for applications to participate in a seminar is Monday, March 14th at 11:59 p.m. EST.
The 2022 GSA Conference will include a total of 18 seminars selected and approved for enrollment through this year’s proposal process, as follows (tip: you can click on the title to go to the seminar description, and then click your browser’s back button to return to the list):
- Colonialism and German Memory Politics: New Approaches to Teaching Colonial Science and German Imperialism
- Dada / Past / Present / Future (sponsored by the Visual Cultures Network)
- Found in Translations
- German Studies Approaches to Media Literacy
- Karl Lagerfeld: Exploring a Lingering Enigma
- Die Kunst der Intelligenz: From Computational to AI Aesthetics
- Learning to See (Anew): New Perspectives on Rilke and Phenomenology
- Made in Germany: Myths and Materiality of an Exporting Nation
- Maligned Feelings? Negative Affect and Political Theater
- The Medical Humanities in German Studies
- Model Realities: On Simulationstechniken
- Multimedia Medeas: Ethnic Difference and Adaptation
- Nazism and the Holocaust in the Contemporary Imagination
- New Challenges to German Politics and Policy
- (Re-)Conceptualizing Medieval and Early Modern Central Europe (sponsored by the Medieval and Early Modern German Studies Network)
- Reading Die Ästhetik des Widerstands After the End of History
- The Return of the Real: The Documentary Literature of the 1970s in Germany
- Vulnerability and Embodied Subjectivity
You may contact the individual seminar conveners for questions about their seminars (emails are listed in the description); you may contact members of the Seminar Committee for general questions. Please direct all other questions, including inquiries regarding disability accommodation, to the Operations Director, Dr. Benita Blessing (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please note that applicants must be members of the GSA for 2022; you can join or renew your membership through the GSA website: https://www.thegsa.org/.
The GSA Seminar Committee consists of:
Elizabeth Drummond | Loyola Marymount University | email@example.com (chair) Richard Langston | University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | firstname.lastname@example.org Qinna Shen | Bryn Mawr College | email@example.com
1. Colonialism and German Memory Politics: New Approaches to Teaching Colonial Science and German Imperialism
- Katherine Arnold, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Eriks Bredovskis, email@example.com
Abstract: Scholars have recently pushed the intellectual boundary of German colonialism beyond the bookends of Germany’s formal colonial empire, questioning to what extent Germans were involved in colonial pursuits and what exactly we classify as “colonial” (Brescius, Lahti, Rüger, Schär). Scholars like Blackler, Brusius, Florvil, and Samudzi are placing Germans within the narratives of Europe’s burgeoning colonial enterprise of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and its indolent decolonization in the twentieth century. The resulting works underscore the centrality of Germans in the making of modern settler colonialism, racism, and science. This seminar interrogates the role of the sciences in this fluctuating narrative of German colonialism. How far have German histories of colonial science developed? Has the teaching of German colonialism evolved in step or at odds with research on the subject? More importantly, what political, scholarly, and pedagogical stakes lie on the horizon of its historical inquiry? Now that colonialism has emerged in daily politics, we seek the best ways to teach the interwoven history of science, colonialism, and Germany in light of the latest scholarship.
Format: Participants will prepare four pieces of writing, which will be the basis of seminar discussions. Responding to a set of common readings, each piece of writing will focus on a different aspect of the seminar: a 2,000-word group-written position paper; a 1,000-word teaching strategies statement; a 500-word reflection on pedagogical challenges; and a 500-word piece on approaches to research and teaching source materials. Papers will be shared and circulated by August 15, 2022.
2. Dada / Past / Present / Future (sponsored by the Visual Cultures Network)
- Kathryn Floyd, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Thomas O.Haakenson, email@example.com
- Brett M. Van Hoesen, firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: Dada is dead! Long live Dada! Dada, the radical art movement Peter Bürger (in)famously described as part of a “failed” historical avant-garde, is often associated with Europe and the early 20th century. Yet Dada’s strategies, tactics, and antics continue to resurface and flourish in multiple ways. Charted and reinvented by Neo-Dada, Fluxus, the Xiamen Dada movement in China, and Adam Pendleton’s ongoing Black Dada project, it is clear that the Dada revolution continues. This seminar seeks to develop new, critical insights as well as address historical and conceptual debates that continue to impact the historiography of Dada and our understanding of the movement. Scholars at any career stage are encouraged to join us as we examine Dada’s radical political, literary, visual, performative, and scholarly dimensions. We actively encourage colleagues from underrepresented groups and/or whose work focuses on the work done by marginalized artists and oppressed groups, to apply and participate in the seminar.
Format: Pre-circulated readings as well as participant’s essays will form the basis of seminar discussions. Participants will read pre-circulated readings on Dada of about 50 pages. Participants also will submit their own double-spaced, 12-point-font essay, approximately 10-12 pages, on some aspect of Dada. Participant's draft essays will be due approximately 15 August 2022.
3. Found in Translations
- Kyung Lee Gagum, email@example.com
- Patrick Ploschnitzki, firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: Lost or found in translation? Whether in German Studies research or pedagogy, scholars and instructors often encounter and interact with works that are only available or accessible in translation (partially or entirely, as in the case of subtitles). Other times, these texts may provide a highly relevant research or classroom context, but are unavailable in German, or as a pivot translation (which lacks the source text at its foundation). This seminar takes translated works as a point of departure and seeks to collect and explore examples of the effects, challenges, surprises, ambiguities, consequences, etc. of working with translated materials in German Studies research and teaching. Participants will select and present their own text(s) for discussion, including poems, movies/videos, comics/graphic novels, etc. with translated components, addressing issues such as lack of available English versions of German texts, missing original movie clips, the question of credibility of authentic work, etc. As we collect and explore what it means to work with translated literary texts, this seminar analyzes research-related and pedagogical experiences and encounters and considers possible solutions to the methodological challenges of working with translated works in research and pedagogy.
Format: By August 1st, each participant will prepare a 2000-3000 word document that identifies a translated work for discussion, provides a brief summary of the chosen text, and offers subsequent research question, deconstructing their experience of teaching and/or research with the translated text in a German Studies context. Papers will be circulated to all seminar participants in advance of the conference. During the seminar, each participant presents their work and serves as a commentator on another participant’s contribution, based on a pairing chosen by the conveners.
4. German Studies Approaches to Media Literacy
- Thomas Küpper, email@example.com
- Tanja Nusser, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rolf Parr, email@example.com
Abstract: The topic of literacy has recently gained new importance for German Studies. It is not about a mere alphabetization or adaptation to a hegemonic culture in an uncritical sense, but about the interplay of multiple literal and media cultures as well as multimodalities – in view of the fact that a wide variety of new media has emerged in recent years, but also new forms of literacy have emerged that for example combine visual and the textual signs in new ways. Furthermore, New Literacies Studies (see The Routledge Handbook of Literacy Studies, ed. by Jennifer Rowsell and Kate Pahl, London / New York: Routledge, 2020) brought to our attention that materiality as well as visuality, peer groups and different spheres (private, public and so on) participate in worldmaking capabilities and complicate an understanding of reading and writing as ‘the’ literacy skills. Quintessentially, literacy needs to be rethought and reformulated. The seminar sets out to discuss literacy in its complexities and how the new understandings of it impact our teaching and research.
Format: Participants will be asked to circulate works in progress (max. 4,000 words) by September 1st, 2022 and to prepare a ten-minute statement for the seminar, which offers comments or questions for discussion. Additionally, we will circulate a reader with pivotal texts two weeks before the seminar in order to discuss them.
5. Karl Lagerfeld: Exploring a Lingering Enigma
- Stefan Börnchen, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Christophe Koné, email@example.com
Abstract: All the biographies and memoirs published since Karl Lagerfeld’s death three years ago reinforce his legendary dimension by turning him into a fictitious character. More than ever, the man with the high collar, the ponytail, and the sunglasses, Hamburg-born resident of Paris, trilingual and erudite, sharp-tongued and authoritative, queer and chaste, remains an enigma. The seminar takes on the impossible challenge to pin down the identity of a man who spent his whole life refashioning couture houses, remodeling his homes, restyling his appearance, and retelling his own biography. We will look at Lagerfeld as a fashion designer, an illustrator, a collector, a photographer, a publisher, an epistolist using fax machines, an iPhone artist, a talk show philosopher, a celebrity, and a cat owner. For only an interdisciplinary approach to his creative work may provide a key to his multitalented and multifaceted personality.
Format: We will look at Lagerfeld’s oeuvre, study him as subject/object of fiction, and engage with scholarship about him. A fashion theory reader and a portfolio of materials to facilitate the seminar discussion will be provided in June to all the participants. We expect pre-circulated 5-page papers by mid-August, ask for a short oral presentation on selected materials and encourage active participation.
6. Die Kunst der Intelligenz: From Computational to AI Aesthetics
- Anne Dymek, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Matthew Handelman, email@example.com
Abstract: With the development of GTP-3 and other large-scale language models able to generate text, AI has made its debut on the stage of – literary – world history. The range of computer-generated text has been staggering, from new horizons for the avant-garde to Twitter chatbots who deny the Holocaust. In German culture and letters, AI’s literary debut took place as early as the 1950s with stochastic writing and artificial poetry (Lutz, Bense), anticipated in part by dadaist language games. This seminar’s first day is dedicated to establishing a conceptual framework for AI aesthetics, examining texts that bridge computational writing (Zuse, Enzensberger) and current thinking in German / media studies on AI in/as art (Schönthaler). The second and third days explore practices of AI aesthetics in novels and poetry (Franke, Dath, Cotton, Bajohr). Possible discussion topics include, among others, the (in)eradicable subject, non-programmable writing, cybernetics (the human and machine), and AI-technology's reciprocal relationship with German-speaking cultures.
Format: The format will be discussion based. Participants will not present position papers, but rather complete a common set of readings that, along with questions provided by the conveners before the conference, will serve as the basis for conversation during the seminar. Readings will be sent out at the start of the summer.
7. Learning to See (Anew): New Perspectives on Rilke and Phenomenology
- Bradley Harmon, firstname.lastname@example.org
- William Waters, email@example.com
Abstract: Rilke’s standing in literary studies is unquestioned, and his work has been particularly influential in the phenomenological tradition. Yet beyond the appropriation of his writing as illustrating the ideas of e.g. Heidegger, Gadamer, Merleau-Ponty and Käte Hamburger, Rilke’s work evinces a singular potential for new descriptors or new understandings for phenomenology. What does Rilke’s poetry “know” that phenomenology as a discipline doesn’t (yet), or that it doesn’t as fully account for as his work might? As methods and concepts of phenomenology evolve and expand, how do they transform our (re)interpretations of Rilke. In reverse, what does Rilke have to contribute to philosophical concerns in the present? Potential topics could include “Rilke and”: traditional, existential and critical phenomenology; environmental philosophy/ecology; readerly experience and poetic time; voice; imagination and perception; translation, re-translation and interpretation; poetics of the senses; materiality and textuality. Comparative topics as well as topics that traverse the limits of phenomenology are welcome.
Format: We request that participants circulate papers of roughly 20 pages by the end of August at the latest. Participants are welcome and encouraged to share earlier drafts with other seminar participants, as desired and as beneficial. Beyond participant papers, there will be no required reading, though participants should be familiar with standard interpretations on Rilke and phenomenology, particularly by Käte Hamburger.
8. Made in Germany: Myths and Materiality of an Exporting Nation
- William Gray, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Katrin Schreiter, email@example.com
Abstract: This seminar invites participants to consider the centrality of export activity to society, culture, and politics in the German-speaking lands. Long before the “Made in Germany” label was affixed to the products of imperial Germany, international trade fairs were a central feature of German economic life; and the 19th and 20th centuries brought an even greater concentration on production for export. How did an orientation toward distant markets inflect business innovation, product design, foreign relations, and political priorities? How did concerns about market share shape currency alignments, labor practices, and the domestic economy? What histories can be told about the lives of German commercial agents abroad, and what narratives did Germans craft about their most iconic exports? How did German products impact societies abroad? The conveners welcome contributions from design history, material culture, literary studies, business history, labor history, and international relations, as well as contemporary social sciences. Perspectives featuring Austria or Switzerland are also welcome.
Format: Participants will prepare brief research-based contributions (approximately 10 double-spaced pages) by August 15 in response to the seminar’s guiding themes and a set of assigned readings. Each morning the seminar will discuss a selection of these contributions in a roundtable format.
9. Maligned Feelings? Negative Affect and Political Theater
- Olivia Landry, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Benjamin Lewis Robinson, email@example.com
Abstract: Feeling bad has never been so timely. Responding to a desolate political climate, once maligned “negative affects” – from anger, distress, and disgust to loneliness, depression and despair – have made their political consequence felt. Long pathologized for their passivity or harm, negative affects have been most provocatively explored in the Anglophone sphere by queer, trans, feminist, Black and decolonial thinkers attending to their reparative political potential (bell hooks, Cvetkovich, Stryker, Hartman, Lorde, Love, Lugones). Meanwhile purportedly “good” feelings have been shown to be socially and environmentally toxic (Ahmed, Berlant, Puar). In the German-speaking world engagement with the politics of feeling has been an ongoing preoccupation of theater. Concentrating linguistic, corporeal, and communal experience, the medium presents a privileged site of affect production and assignment. If theater has performed the normative task of the regimentation or purgation of affect, it has also always incited troubling emotion. We welcome reflections on the politics of affect, its actuality as well as its long history, at the intersections of theater, artistic activism, and performance art.
Format: A short selection of readings will provide a common reference and basis for discussion. Discussion will depart from pre-circulated position papers or “Anregungen” (5pp, due early August) using a pre-assigned respondent model. Participants are encouraged to include short clips, performance documents, or excerpted passages to convey a feel for the work under consideration.
10. The Medical Humanities in German Studies
- Kristen Hetrick, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Heather Perry, email@example.com
- Charles Vannette, Charles.Vannette@unh.edu
Abstract: Participants in this seminar will share, analyze and interrogate current research at the intersection of medical humanities and German studies. In reading and discussing each other’s work, participants will not only discover cutting edge scholarship, but simultaneously engage in discussions about how a medical humanities research approach sheds new light on Germanophone culture, literature, language, and history. Whether the focus is the function of disease in German fiction; the role of medicine and health in German history; the depictions of illness in contemporary German culture; or the influence of German culture on medical developments, seminar participants will ultimately be staking out new directions in German studies while also work-shopping their papers into chapters for planned edited volume. Discussion points include: How have medical humanities influenced disciplinary research methodologies in German studies? How have medical humanities revised conventional interpretations of German culture? How do medical humanities expand our knowledge about Germany?
Format: Participants submit papers that summarize a potential chapter for our envisioned edited collection: "The Medical Humanities: Readings in German Studies." Five-page precis are due July 30 to allow for pre-reading. Conveners will organize papers by theme, which will provide the format for seminar discussions.
11. Model Realities: On Simulationstechniken
- Jake Fraser, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Christina Vagt, email@example.com
Abstract: The rapid intrusion of computer simulations into nearly all domains of modern life has lent new urgency to questions concerning the ontology, epistemology, and ethics of “model” realities or fictional worlds. What can humanistic scholars and methods contribute to these discussions that are currently dominated by STEM discourses? This seminar aims to advance the genealogy of simulation technologies and techniques [Simulationstechniken] developed in recent work by German philosophers, media theorists, and historians of science and technology (e.g., Blumenberg, Kittler, Gramelsberger), who have worked to situate contemporary computer simulations within a much longer historical tradition of world-modeling that dates back to ancient discussions of mimesis and technē. Alongside theoretical debates about the evolution and function of such model realities, we will explore historically- and medially-specific paradigms for modeling or simulating, from fields as diverse as historical poetics, cartography, psychoanalysis, and contemporary computer simulation. In so doing, we hope to uncover affinities as well as discontinuities in the history of simulation techniques, while cultivating interdisciplinary networks across German studies, media studies, Digital Humanities, and Science and Technology Studies.
Format: The basis for group discussion will be a pre-circulated reader containing foundational essays on the theory and long history of “simulation techniques” from Blumenberg, Kittler et al. Participants will also submit for pre-circulation a short exposé of a simulation technique of interest to their research, against which these theoretical models may be tested and elaborated.
12. Multimedia Medeas: Ethnic Difference and Adaptation
- Alicia E. Ellis, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Claire E. Scott, email@example.com
Abstract: The mythological figure of Medea will be used to explore adaptation, form/medium, and representations of ethnic difference. Medea, known for helping Jason and his Argonauts capture the Golden Fleece and later for killing her children, exemplifies the outsider. Her difference places her in a position where she cannot be assimilated or integrated into the societies where she seeks a home. Whether on screen, on the page, or on stage, Medea draws attention to how dynamics of inclusion and exclusion are related to power structures and politics. By revisiting the many versions of the Medea myth from the 19th through the 21st centuries, we can trace the evolution of these concerns across different periods and media. A renewed appraisal of Medea underscores her role as both witch and colonial subject and how she constitutes the center and the periphery. The seminar will also center notions around voice and victimhood and performance and gender performativity.
Format: Our discussion will be driven by preliminary reading/viewing of primary source materials. We will also use co-organizer Claire Scott’s book on Medea, Murderous Mothers, to structure the seminar. In addition to completing readings and viewings in advance, participants are asked to submit a response of at least 1000 words connecting Medea to their own work.
13. Nazism and the Holocaust in the Contemporary Imagination
- Manuela Achilles, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Kobi Kabalek, email@example.com
Abstract: Ever since WWII, fighting Nazi evil has been a core mission of superhero figures such as Superman, Captain America, and Wonder Woman. Nazi villains figure prominently in popular films and TV-series from Indiana Jones, Star Trek, and The Twilight Zone to Supernatural and The Boys. Filmmakers such as Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth, The Strain) continuously return to fantastic invocations of Nazism to depict radical evil and dread. This seminar seeks to discuss the role of Nazism and the Holocaust in the contemporary popular imagination. What functions do such historical fantasies play in our lives? Which aspects of the past are highlighted, and which ones are downplayed? How do emotions, morality, and ethics figure in different trans/national contexts? We invite participation from a broad variety of perspectives, including film, literature, comics, and gaming. We are especially interested in genres that detach themselves from (historical) reality, such as science fiction or horror.
Format: The seminar will consist of informal discussions of shared re/sources and (position) papers or project outlines. Participants will be invited to submit the re/sources they want to share by the end of June. Position papers are due at the beginning of September and will be pre-circulated to participants only.
14. New Challenges to German Politics and Policy (sponsored by the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies and the Institute for Parliamentary Research)
- Barbara Donovan, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Eric Langenbacher, email@example.com
- Sven Siefken, firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: A new chapter in German history begins with the country’s first three-party coalition government since the 1950s, the ‘Ampel’ coalition, emerging from the 2021 elections. This government faces fundamental challenges on many levels. The ongoing struggle over adequate policies for dealing with the pandemic has had major reverberations for the political process and trust in institutions. The new coalition proposes electoral reform and innovation at the federal and local levels to increase transparency and using new tools of political engagement. Difficult choices must be made to bring about a successful ‘green energy’ transition and serious challenges loom in foreign policy, including with respect to European integration, and in relationships with the United States, Russia, and China. The seminar will focus on these challenges, using the new coalition as departure point for considering current developments as well as the long-term evolution of German political institutions and political culture.
Format: Bringing together contributions from various disciplines – political science, sociology, history – the seminar will be held over three days. Participants will give short presentations based on a written paper (minimum 15 pages). The seminar will foster a deeper understanding and enriching discussion to facilitate academic exchange and help establish interdisciplinary personal networks. We invite contributions from scholars at all career stages with diverse backgrounds and methodological approaches.
15. (Re-)Conceptualizing Medieval and Early Modern Central Europe (sponsored by the Medieval and Early Modern German Studies Network)
- Claire (CJ) Jones, email@example.com
- Frances Courtney Kneupper, firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: This seminar focuses on the diversity of the periods before 1800, of the communities of Central Europe (both German-speaking and non-German-speaking), and of German speakers outside of Europe. Participants are invited to reflect on the variety of ways in which our disciplines or modern terminology construct our object of study, sometimes in ways incommensurate with the world of the past. When is “German” not a useful concept and how do we redefine our area to better reflect historical circumstances? How have premodernists in various disciplines been redefining what has value as an object of study? How do interactions between different disciplines lead to new ways of interpreting sources? How do premodern sources challenge our assumptions about concepts such as “nation,” “language,” “literature,” “authorship,” a “work,” and “art”? How do we engage the multiple overlaps and borders between various conceptions of Central Europe? How can new approaches to premodern Central Europe transform the way we teach in high schools and colleges?
Format: Core participants will pre-circulate essays of 1000-1500 words in which they address disciplinary approaches to premodern Central Europe in light of the questions provided. Participants should read all contributions in advance. The seminar will be devoted to discussing common themes and the ramifications and opportunities of the participants’ reflections.
16. Reading Die Ästhetik des Widerstands After the End of History
- Kai Evers, email@example.com
- Julia Hell, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Seth Howes, email@example.com
Abstract: Migrants adrift on a surveilled, fortified Mediterranean; the anti-democratic, antisemitic, and racist furor of ascendant authoritarian movements; debates on strategy between an internally divided opposition—the contemporary news often echoes The Aesthetics of Resistance (1975-1982). Returning to this complex literary text—this imageless image-text whose collective voices, unfolding of aesthetic encounters and intense moments of immersion and distance, not only defy simplifications and the refusal of dialog, but are always opened up toward the future—we hope to consider the novel's theoretical account of artistic forms and interpretative methods, its heterodox histories of literature and the visual arts, its approaches to canonicity and canon-formation, and its orientation toward future readers. As such, the seminar invites participants to return to Weiss's novel and retrieve its utility for grasping the present moment, when the relationship between aesthetics and radical politics has come back on the scene after a long post-1989 interregnum. We invite contributions bringing Weiss's novel into dialogue with recent work in Black Studies, colonial history and postcolonial theory, feminist theory, Jewish Studies, Asian German Studies, narratology, political science, queer theory, and visual studies among others.
Format: Seminar participants will pre-circulate drafts and/or outlines approximately 5 pages in length. Each draft will be workshopped over the course of the three-day seminar, with sustained, constructive discussion dedicated to each. Third day meeting includes discussion of continuing collaboration toward potential edited volume to coincide with anticipated publication of the novel’s third and final volume in English. Timeline will be developed for further collaboration, including envisioned on-campus workshop at one of the conveners' institutions in AY 23/24.
17. The Return of the Real: The Documentary Literature of the 1970s in Germany
- Xan Holt, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Michael Lipkin, email@example.com
Abstract: This seminar focuses on the flowering of documentary literature in Germany during the “long 1970s,” stretching from the publication of Peter Weiss’s Die Ermittlung in 1965 to the re-discovery of Walter Benamin’s The Arcades Project. Often over-looked and undertheorized between the “revolutionary” 60s and the “memory culture” of the 80s and the Wende, the 1970s were, in fact, a time of considerable political contestation and literary experimentation with the documentary form, from Uwe Johnson’s newspaper-epic Jahrestage and the feminist worker's literature of Erika Runge to the queer reportages of Hubert Fichte and East German Protokoll-Literatur. This seminar is especially interested in the relationship between the documentary and political practice during an era that was widely seen to be one of rapprochement and disillusionment, even as old struggles between capital and labor, right and left, terrorists and the state, still continued. We welcome contributions from scholars at all career stages, disciplines, and cultural backgrounds.
Format: Each participant will provide a written contribution of no more than 10-12 pages, submitted in advance of the seminar, and read three supplemental texts. Each of the three meetings will discuss one theme. Presentations will be brief descriptions of papers by their authors, followed by longer, workshop-format discussions of the papers and the supplemental text.
18. Vulnerability and Embodied Subjectivity (sponsored by the Body Studies Network)
- Paul Dobryden, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Heikki Lempa, email@example.com
- Katya Motyl, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Caroline Weist, email@example.com
Abstract: Like a radioactive tracer that illuminates the body’s internal flows, COVID-19 has revealed in great detail the myriad forms of contact, exchange, and circulation that constitute society. Despite efforts to mystify those pathways in the name of personal freedom, this pandemic has exposed the intimacy and fragility of connections between animals and people, bodies and material environments, citizens and infrastructures of care, the beginning and end of supply chains, and between fellow human subjects. In light of this urgent situation, this seminar will examine foundational discussions of vulnerability, interdependence, and precarity in German Studies and beyond, including but not limited to disability studies, philosophy, history, cultural studies, and political theory. How can traditions of thinking about vulnerability orient us, both historically and in the present? What new directions can related work in other disciplines suggest for research on the German-speaking world, and what can we bring to broader discussions of vulnerability in the humanities?
Format: By August 15, participants will submit profiles of relevant projects (750-1000 words) and conveners will post readings. By September 1, projects will be grouped into clusters and profiles pre-circulated with reading questions. In the first two meetings, participants will discuss the readings together, and clusters will discuss their project profiles in the third.