Spring 2017 Colloquium Series: Sounding Culture from the Pulpit

May 5, 2017

Tanvi Solanki

On May 5, 2017, Tanvi Solanki (Cornell University) concluded this year’s IGCS Colloquium Series with a paper titled: “Sounding Culture from the Pulpit.” Solanki’s research draws on a range of discourses to consider how the medium of sound features prominently in Herder’s theological and cultural writings. Central to her inquiry was Herder’s development of a phenomenological theory of acoustics, which he thought could be used to strengthen the bonds of religious community in Weimar and beyond. [Read more…]

Lampedusa in Winter

April 19, 2017

Jakob Brossmann

On April 19, 2017, Cornell Cinema screened the award-winning documentary Lampedusa in Winter by Jakob Brossmann, which premiered at the Locarno Film Festival in 2015. Both the director Brossmann and the film’s translator and interpreter Stefania Schenk Vitale were present for riveting discussion with a diverse audience. The event was introduced by Sabine Haenni (Performing and Media Arts), who,together with Leslie A. Adelson (German Studies) taught this year’s University Course titled “Imagining Migration in Film and Literature.” Brossmann and Vitale had been invited to campus in connection with that course and extended their multifaceted discussion of the film the next day in class. [Read more…]

Spring 2017 Colloquium Series: Kulturwissenschaftliche Gedächtnisforschung im Dialog mit den Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften. Aktuelle Ansätze und Untersuchungsfelder

April 14, 2017

Carsten Gansel

Carsten Gansel (Justus-Liebig-Universtät Giessen, Institut für Germanistik) presented work in progress titled “Kulturwissenschaftliche Gedächtnisforschung im (versuchten) Dialog mit den Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften? – Drei Fallbeispiele” in the IGCS Colloquium Series on April 14, 2017. As the title indicates, his paper was situated between cultural-literary studies and cognitive science with the hope of bringing the findings of these disparate fields into contact. Specifically, three case studies focused on the relationship between memory and narrative, on aspects of episodic and autobiographical memory, and on ways in which these narrative processes are related to questions of coming to terms with traumatic experience. [Read more…]

Germany Before the Election 2017: What to Watch

March 29, 2017

Jens Alberts

On March 29, 2017, Jens Alberts (Head of Press Department, Consul, Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany) delivered a lecture titled “Germany Before the Election 2017: What to Watch.” Alberts provided an overview of the German federal electoral system in comparison with the American system. He proceeded to address the political circumstances surrounding the upcoming German federal election in September 2017, which will determine the membership of the Bundestag and the chancellorship. [Read more…]

In Praise of Depth: or, How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Hidden

March 23, 2017

Joshua Landy

On March 23, 2017, Joshua Landy (Stanford University) presented a lecture titled “In Praise of Depth: or, How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Hidden.” This event was organized by the Comparative Cultures and Literature Forum and co-sponsored by the Institute for German Cultural Studies.

Landy sought to recover the concept of depth to understand better what he calls the formative function of certain texts. Originating in the hermeneutic tradition, as he began by noting, depth has been a much-maligned concept among literary theorists in recent years. On the one hand, it has been associated with an overly semantic way of looking at art, which overlooks aesthetic considerations such as form or materiality. [Read more…]

Yield Troubled Shadows: Bach and Modern Society

March 17, 2017

David Yearsley

On Friday March 17, 2017, a special event organized by the Department of Music and co-sponsored by the ICGS celebrated the continued power and relevance of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Entitled “Yield Troubled Shadows: Bach and Modern Society,” the event featured performances by the Cornell Early Music Lab and the Cornell Chamber Singers, as well as lectures by Profs. David Yearsley (of the Music Department) and Robert Hockett (of the Law School) connecting themes in the librettos and structures of the music to perennial issues of everyday life, issues as relevant in Bach’s time as in ours. [Read more…]

Spring 2017 Colloquium Series: Literarische Unschärfe: Zu ihrer Poetik und ihrem frühneuzeitlichen Debüt

February 24, 2017

Christian Metz

Christian Metz, who is Feodor Lynen Fellow in the Department of German Studies at Cornell University for the academic year 2016-17 under the auspices of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, opened the spring semester’s colloquium series on February 24, 2017, with a paper titled Literarische Unschärfe: Zu ihrer Poetik und ihrem frühneuzeitlichen Debüt (“Literary Blurriness: On Its Poetics and Its Early Modern Debut”). Taking the apparent omnipresence of blurry images in contemporary culture as a point of entry into his multifaceted project, [Read more…]

Islamophobia in the US

February 8, 2017

Moustafa Bayoumi

On February 8, 2017, Moustafa Bayoumi (Brooklyn College) gave a talk titled “Islamophobia in the US,” which was organized by Cornell University’s Ottoman & Turkish Studies Initiative. Bayoumi’s timely intervention was to place President Trump’s executive order aimed at banning immigration from seven predominantly-Muslim countries in historical context. Far from being a sui generis act of xenophobic foreign policy on the part of the United States government, Bayoumi argued, the order belongs to a lineage of anti-Muslim policies dating back to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and intensified under the Obama administration. [Read more…]

Fall 2016 Colloquium Series: Patent Fictions: The Poetics of Invention in Imperial Germany

December 2, 2016

Erik Born

Erik Born

On December 2, 2016, Erik Born (Cornell University) concluded the IGCS fall colloquium series with a paper titled “Patent Fictions: The Poetics of Invention in Imperial Germany,” in which Born examined the cultural techniques and practices of scientific and literary invention from 1871 to 1918. “Patent Fictions” belongs to a larger project that traces the history of invention by analyzing how authors and inventors acquire new technological means of consecrating novelty in their works and how the meaning of invention itself changes as a result of these developments. [Read more…]

The End: Theories and Practice of Narrative Endings

November 11-12, 2016

Fritz Breithaupt

The Cornell German Studies Graduate Student Conference, The End: Theories and Practice of Narrative Endings, opened on the afternoon of Friday, November 11, with a panel devoted to “Approaching Narrative Endings.”

In the first talk, “The End of Life in Christa Wolf’s Final Novel Stadt der Engel,” John Slattery (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign) investigated the thoughts of Christa Wolf’s narrator in her novel Stadt der Engel as they pertain to her inability to let go of the past. Slattery asked specifically whether the narrator was able to turn away from the past in order to look towards the future, positing first that the narrator cannot let go of the past before arguing further that Wolf’s narrator refuses both to look backwards obsessively and  to look towards the future with unbridled optimism.  Slattery concluded by arguing that the narrator instead must “transcend transcendence” to confront her own mortality. [Read more…]