Literary Studies in the 21st CenturyExport this event to calendar

Thursday, March 6, 2014 — 7:00 PM EST
Thursday, March 13, 2014 — 7:00 PM EDT
Thursday, March 20, 2014 — 7:00 PM EDT
Thursday, April 3, 2014 — 7:00 PM EDT
Tuesday, April 8, 2014 — 7:00 PM EDT

Lecture series posterBY DISCUSSING THE ISSUES AND PROBLEMS THAT ARE CURRENTLY CENTRAL TO THEIR RESEARCH IN GERMAN STUDIES, THESE LEADING SCHOLARS WILL EXPLORE HOW LITERARY STUDIES CAN FULFILL THE EXPECTATIONS OF AN ACADEMIC DISCIPLINE AND CONNECT WITH WIDER SOCIETY. 

These lectures are being held in conjunction with the search for the next holder of the Diefenbaker Memorial Chair in German Literary Studies.  A poster with the descriptions of all five talks is also available: 2014 Diefenbaker Lecture Series Poster (PDF).

↘ THURSDAY, MARCH 6. 2014 7:00 PM / HH 1102

ANN MARIE RASMUSSEN | DUKE UNIVERSITY

WHY DO MEDIEVAL BADGES MATTER?

Medieval badges are small, cheap, mass-produced, lead-alloy objects meant to be worn, were sold throughout the high and late Middle Ages, and produced between the late twelfth century and the Reformation. Closer study reveals that medieval badges are not merely souvenirs, visual representations, or signs. Rather, they imagine the relationships between self and world in unexpected ways and they are best understood as an early form of media. I will offer thoughts about the impact of modern technologies and approaches on medieval studies and about the connection between the historical past and the present moment. 

For a summary of Prof. Rasmussen's talk, please go to our department blog.

 THURSDAY, MARCH 13. 2014 7:00 PM / HH 1102

GABY PAILER | UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA

THE (MELO-)DRAMA OF THE ‘FAIR JEWESS’: RE-FRAMING SIR WALTER SCOTT’S IVANHOE (1819) IN FANNY LEWALD’S JENNY (1843)

Literary Studies deal with the long meanders of intellectual (world) history and inquire why mechanisms of political, social and cultural injustice are still reiterated in the 21st century. Walter Benjamin’s ‘Angel of History,’ who sees rubble piling up sky-high where an historicist view would build a progressive plot, reminds us to envisage remnants of the past and notions of the future without essentializing. Focusing on Jewish heroines torn between jousting crusaders in two 19th century novels, I’ll show how Lewald re-frames Scott’s medieval melodramatic plot of race, gender and nation-building as a modern quest for Jewish and women’s emancipation in pre-national Germany. 

For a summary of Prof. Pailer's talk, please go to our department blog.

↘ THURSDAY, MARCH 20. 2014 7:00 PM / HH 1102

KEVIN S. AMIDON | IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY

TARRYING WITH THE POSITIVE, OR, HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND TEACH LITERATURE

Are Western forms of representative government and civil society in decline? Possibly due to a decline of reading? I claim that the two major models of Western post-Enlightenment political-economic subjectivity — the liberal-autonomous and the Marxist-class-conscious — no longer adequately ground arguments about either politics or culture. Ongoing developments in the relationships between texts, individuals, and groups relate more significantly to shifts in subjective understanding than they do to technological change. Texts remain technologically and economically mediated artifacts of the relationships between individuals and institutions, and retain their power to teach us about ourselves. 

↘ THURSDAY, APRIL 3. 2014 7:00 PM / HH 1102

ELISABETH HERRMANN | UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA

HOW DOES TRANSNATIONALISM REDEFINE CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE? AN INVESTIGATION OF FIVE GERMAN AUTHORS

Using fictional works as well as theoretical reflections by authors of different (trans-)national backgrounds as examples – Ilija Trojanow, Christian Kracht, Felicitas Hoppe, Daniel Kehlmann, and Dan Vyleta – this talk will draft new concepts of literary mobility, transnationalism, and world literature that will enable us to analyse the changing conditions and features of literature in times of globalization as well as to redefine the term “contemporary German literature” in the 21st century. 

↘ TUESDAY, APRIL 8. 2014 7:00 PM / HH 1102

LAURIE JOHNSON | UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS

FORGOTTEN DREAMS: WERNER HERZOG’S ROMANTIC CINEMA

Herzog’s films re-envision central aspects of romanticism, a major aesthetic, psychological, and cultural force from the 1790s to the present. This argument permits a lively reconnection with romantic themes and convictions that have been partly forgotten in the midst of Germany’s vigorous postwar rejection of much romantic thought, yet are still operative today. The film analyses will engage those interested in ongoing attempts by Western and other cultures to re-negotiate relationships between reason and passion, civilization and wild nature, knowledge and belief: relationships at the core of German studies in the 21st century. 

Cost 
Free admission
Location 
HH - J.G. Hagey Hall of the Humanities
Room 1102
200 University Avenue West

Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1
Canada

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