Spring 2018 Lecture Series Program now available

Spring 2018 Lecture Series Program now available

Please mark your calendars: the German Department program of lectures, workshops and symposia for the Spring semester 2018, organized by Profs. Thomas Y. Levin and Johannes Wankhammer, has just been announced. Featuring talks by visiting Old Dominion Fellow Prof. Jane Newman (UC Irvine), Prof. Ingrid Christian (Univ. of Chicago), Prof. Rebecca Comay (U. of Toronto), Daniel Weidner (Humboldt Univ./ZfL-Berlin) and Prof. Geoffrey Winthrop-Young (UBC, Vancouver) it also includes a Graduate Student workshop on the job market, a two-day graduate student seminar on Goethe’s Hermann und Dorothea with Inka Mülder-Bach (Munich/Princeton), Dorothea von Mücke (Columbia ) and David E. Wellbery (Chicago), and a day-long symposium on the problems and methods of conceptualizing periods of literary emergence around the world. Unless otherwise indicated all events take place in East Pyne 205 at 4:30pm, and are free and open to the public.

Unless otherwise noted, all lectures will take place at 4:30pm in East Pyne 205, will be held in English and are free and open to the public.

Monday Feb 12th
Jane Newman (Comparative Literature, UC Irvine; Visiting Professor in the Humanities Council and Old Dominion Fellow in German, Princeton University)
“Auerbach’s Augustine: Existential Realism and the Low Style”

This lecture situates Auerbach in the context of the Christian Existentialism of Marburg during his (pre-Istanbul) time there and then sets his readings of Augustine in conversation with the Augustines of Arendt and Hans Jonas (both influenced by Heidegger’s Augustine, as both Arendt and Jonas of course had also been in Marburg). In the process it will extricate Auerbach out of the critical impasse he has been wedged into between a pre-post colonial Saidianism and a DWM New Critical stance. The talk also discusses the Catholic New Criticism so prevalent in the U.S. academy at the time, which accounts for the incredible popularity of his Mimesis, deeply informed as it was by Auerbach’s Marburg sojourn, when it was published in English translation in 1953.

Tuesday Feb 20th
Ingrid Christian (Germanic Studies, Univ. of Chicago)
“Aesthetic Ecologies: Air and the Space of Art around 1900”

This talk explores air as the material space surrounding an artwork – its “Milieu,” “Umgebung” and “Umwelt.” It takes as its starting point evocations of air within and without an artwork, thus, evocations that cut across the separate realms of reference between artwork as image and as material object. The talk examines artworks that “overspill their form” and become continuous with the space environing them, in order to ask: What would an intellectual history of the environment look like when told from the perspective of the literature of art history?

Wednesday Feb 21st
Ingrid Christian (Germanic Studies, Univ. of Chicago)
Graduate Student Workshop on the Job Market

Thursday March 8th
Rebecca Comay (Philosophy and Comparative Literature, U. of Toronto)
Rebecca Comay Graduate Workshop EP 205

Monday March 12th
Daniel Weidner (Institut für Kulturwissenschaft der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; Acting Director of the Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung, Berlin)
“The Spirit, the Letter, and the Life of the Text: Schleiermacher’s Hermeneutics Revisited”

Schleiermacher’s hermeneutics are usually considered ‘idealist’, ‘romantic’, or essentially ‘Christian’. And indeed, they began as a series of lectures on the hermeneutics of the New Testament, a context that is usually neglected. Upon closer inspection, however, it becomes clear that Schleiermacher hardly uses spiritual exegesis or Einfühlung here, but rather deals with specific material problems raised by Biblical Criticism – the (Aramaic-Greek) mixed language of the New Testaments, its insecure textual basis and its composition from fragments. All these features of the New Testament are serious obstacles for grasping the text and transform Schleiermacher’s idealist and logocentric idea of understanding towards a hermeneutics of (written) scripture. The lecture insists on the need for a re-reading of Schleiermacher as a material hermeneutics and argues for a more complex conception of how the religious heritage influences hermeneutic theory.

Friday/Saturday March 30th-31st
Graduate Student Seminar on Goethe’s Hermann und Dorothea with Inka Mülder-Bach (Munich/Princeton), Dorothea von Mücke (Columbia ) and David E. Wellbery (Chicago).
Goethe Workshop EP205

In four seminars over two days devoted to one of Goethe’s most historically influential and currently topical texts, this gathering will focus on the ambiguous generic status of Hermann und Dorothea as epic/idyll/pastoral; its representation of a political refugee community; and its gender-thematic concern with defloration and marriage.

Wednesday, April 4th
Geoffrey Winthrop-Young (Department of Central, Eastern and Northern European Studies,
University of British Columbia, Vancouver)
“Why a Student is a Willing Termite rather than an Irish Elk: Karl Escherich and the (De)Nazification of Universities and Social Insects”

Friday, April 13th – location EP 010
How Literatures Begin: A Comparative Approach to Problems and Methods

Denis Feeney (Department of Classics) & Joel Lande (Department of German)
This symposium on periods of literary emergence from across the globe and throughout time seeks to articulate the differences that obtain among different literatures, as time- and space-specific creations, but also to draw out the surprising commonalities among the practices, technologies, and institutions that led to the formation of distinct literary traditions.