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…]

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…]

Fall 2016 Colloquium Series: Käfige und Lauben: Schauplätze der Bildung und Infrastruktur des Alltags

October 14, 2016

Pál Kelemen

Pál Kelemen

On October 14, 2016, Pál Kelemen (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) work in progress titled “Käfige und Lauben: Schauplätze der Bildung und Infrastruktur des Alltags” in the IGCS colloquium series. Kelemen examined the symbolic structure of modern Gartenlaube, or bowers. The bower, portico, or pergola has a particular function in European modern novels, which can be described as the cultural production of a modern aesthetic. [Read more…]

What Happens to Literature if People are Artworks?

September 22, 2016

Eric Hayot

Eric Hayot

On September 22, 2016, Eric Hayot (Penn State) presented a public lecture titled “What Happens to Literature if People are Artworks?” This lecture was co-sponsored by the Society for the Humanities, the Department of Comparative Literature, the Institute for German Cultural Studies, the Department of German Studies, and the Department of Romance Studies. Hayot began by placing his talk in the context of his previous projects, which sought to undermine binaries. [Read more…]

Theory Transfer: The Fate of German Theory in the United States

September 16-17, 2016

Organized by Peter Uwe Hohendahl and Paul Fleming, a collaborative workshop titled Theory Transfer: The Fate of German Theory in the United States, was held under IGCS auspices September 16-17, 2016. Steffen Martus and Carlos Spoerhase (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) opened the discussion on Saturday with their reflections “Zur Lokalität des Theoretisierens” (“On the Locality of Theorizing”). Arguing for a fine-grained understanding of theorizing as a critical practice, Martus and Spoerhase situated their praxeological project within the larger context of theory in literary studies, thus accounting for “theorizing” among other established practices in the heterogeneous field of Germanistik. [Read more…]

Fall 2016 Colloquium Series: Wege des Wissens und ihre Rekonstruktion. Konzepte und Verfahren zur Beschreibung epistemischer Wanderungen

September 16, 2016

Ralf Klausnitzer

Ralf Klausnitzer

Ralf Klausnitzer (HU Berlin) began the Fall 2016 colloquium series with a presentation of his paper, “Paths of Knowledge and their Reconstruction: Concepts and Procedures to Identify Epistemic Migration (in the Humanities).” Discussion of this paper led off the Institute for German Cultural Studies’ “Theory Transfer Conference,” an international conference addressing the movement of theoretical models across national and epistemological borders. [Read more…]

IGCS Artist in Residence, Fall 2016: Kathrin Röggla

August 26-September 8, 2016

photo by Karsten Thielker

photo by Karsten Thielker

The Institute for German Cultural Studies was especially delighted and honored to host Kathrin Röggla—Vice President of Berlin’s Academy of Arts and prize-winning author of multifaceted work in narrative prose, theater texts, radio plays, and documentary film—as IGCS Artist-in-Residence for two weeks at the start of our fall semester. Over the course of her stay she generously shared excerpts from her newest literary work, critical thoughts on “stuttering” as aesthetic strategy, and poetological reflections on the futurity of contemporary literature in relation to global capital. [Read more…]