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GERMAN-CFP-L  December 2003

GERMAN-CFP-L December 2003

Subject:

CFP Interdisciplinary Approaches to Ecology (grad) (1/1/04; 3/19/04-3/20/04)

From:

"Eng, Karen" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

German Studies CFP Forum <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 21 Dec 2003 10:17:09 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (138 lines)

                            CALL FOR PAPERS

Below please find a Call for Papers for Harvard University's 2004
Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference.  An ecological conference
this year, the theme is "The Worldly Earth."  As explained below, abstracts
of 300-500 words are due by January 1, 2004.  Please note that Harvard will
not be able to provide accommodations or travel expenses.  If you have any
questions, please contact conference organizer Ken Hiltner
([log in to unmask]) or visit our website
(www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~hiltner/TheWorldlyEarth).

               The Worldly Earth: An Ecological Conference
               March 19th & 20th, 2004
               Harvard University: The Humanities Center (12 Quincy Street,
Cambridge MA)


      In Old English our word "world" (weorold) originally meant an "age
(old) of humanity (weor)."  As such, a world is a human culture situated
historically upon the planet earth; it is not the earth itself.  In recent
decades, the Humanities have been sweepingly reinvented by way of critical
approaches focusing on contexts that are--in precisely this original
sense--largely "worldly."  Though the fact that culture has come out of the
margins of academic discourse is no doubt positive, what effect might this
fascination with our worlds have on the earth?  For example:  Does a
worldly critical approach, which returns traditional pastoral art to its
historic context, work positively to reveal that these representations of
the earth are far worldlier than we might have ever imagined?  Or,
alternately, does this privileging of the worldly neglect, perhaps even
obscure, the manner by which place directly informs art?  And just why are
we so interested in our worlds alone; are not the very practices that we
share also shaped by the earth?  On the subject of shared practices, just
how do human worlds rest upon the earthly places we inhabit; softly, gently
following every contour, or boldly, land-scaping the earth into an image of
that world?  In short, with these questions and others, this conference
considers how fascination with the worldly--now the common interest
influencing methodologies across the Humanities--has impacted the earth.

               Panels:

      Panel #1, Ecology and Empire:  "Were the colonized to disappear,"
speculated Sartre while reading Albert Memmi, "so would colonization--with
the colonizer."  Although many, many postcolonial theorists have considered
the colonized as both economic subproletariat and epistemological
subaltern, what are we to make of those colonial enterprises which called
for the complete eradication of colonized populations?  Perhaps because of
the sheer horror of such proposed genocide, we have lost sight of the fact
that this type of colonial project was at root motivated by a desire to do
violence, not to a people, but to a place.  This panel considers the
colonized as place.

      Panel #2, The Pasture from the Hall Window:  This panel, which takes
its title from Thoreau's definition of pastoral, considers how our very
understanding of wilderness might in part have been generated by a desire
to find (and, somewhat paradoxically, to found) the ever-receding bucolic
world imagined in pastoral art in the definite, physical location of
undeveloped locales.  But if true, does this suggest that pastoral raises
certain aspects of the earth to the level of signifier in order to signal
their absence?

      Panel #3, Discourse and Practice:  Martin Heidegger famously noted in
Being and Time that language is founded on the many nondiscursive practices
a people share.  Years later, however, Heidegger boldly declared, "False;
language is not founded, but is the primordial essence of truth."  Perhaps,
but what is the dynamic by which, on the one hand, our dwelling upon the
earth informs our understanding of ourselves through language and
literature, and on the other, such discourse shapes the manner by which we
dwell upon the earth?

      Panel #4, The World's Eclipse of the Earth:  In a manner of speaking,
human worlds have, with catastrophic environmental results, now eclipsed
much of the earth.  Might this also happen on a less-literal register?  In
the past few decades "culture" has become the academic buzzword.  But what
if this new focus on human worlds has in some sense also eclipsed the
earth?  This panel questions whether New Historicism has ignored the manner
by which earthly places directly inform art.

      Panel #5, Place Lost:  "The mind is its own place, and in itself /
Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n"--Milton's Satan.  Although
Milton was arguably satirizing the radical subjectivism of Descartes and
others, many poets--surprisingly including most of the
Romantics--championed Satan in his vaulting of mind above
place.  Regardless of the reason, what dangers lie in the casting of our
gaze away from our place on earth?  This panel considers the relation of
place to human worlds.

      Panel #6, The Wounded Earth:  Poet and ecologist Wendell Berry once
noted that heroic attempts to "make a 'breakthrough' that will 'save the
world' from some 'crisis'" are necessary because these crises themselves
are "usually the result of some previous 'breakthrough.'"  With Berry's
anxiety in mind, and realizing that some very well-intentioned
environmental initiatives have caused horrific damage to the planet, how
might we in the Humanities best intervene in the present environmental
crisis?

      Panel #7, The Artful Earth:  In Charlotte Bronte's Shirley, the
narrator boasts to her reader that "something real, cool, and solid lies
before you."  But just how real are worldly representations of the
earth?  Do music and the visual arts, for example, hold a mirror up to the
earth; or is it rather to the world?  Clearly it is both, but just how do
we separate the two?  Can we?  This panel reconsiders mimesis on an
ecocritical register.


      Although interest in one of the above panels is particularly
encouraged, these are just suggestions; student-proposed topics are
certainly welcome.  Above all, we are interested in attracting graduate
speakers from a variety of disciplines; however unconventional their
approaches.  If you are interested in presenting a paper at the conference,
abstracts of 300-500 words should be emailed to Ken Hiltner
([log in to unmask]) by January 1, 2004. (No attachments please.)  As
each paper will be limited to twenty minutes' of presentation time, keep in
mind that the final paper should be no longer than ten or eleven pages.  Be
sure to include the paper's title, your name, department, and institution
(in that order; exactly as you would have them appear on the Conference
Schedule), as well as your email address, the panel topic to which you are
speaking (or "panel undetermined"), and any special audio-visual equipment
necessary for your presentation.  Students who submit abstracts will be
contacted in mid-January regarding whether their proposed paper has been
accepted for presentation.




Ken Hiltner
Department of English and American Literature
Harvard University
[log in to unmask]
408 Ware Hall
Two Ware Street
Cambridge MA, 02138

*******************
The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Stefani Engelstein
Assistant Editor:  Karen Eng
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
Info available at: http://www.missouri.edu/~graswww/resources/gerlistserv.html

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