Conference Seminar: “Revisiting the Study of Emotions in German Studies” at annual German Studies Association conference in Denver, October 3-6, 2013
Emotions have long stood at the center of research in the humanities and social sciences, providing a significant window for the study of human experience and behavior in everyday life. Over the past ten years the cultural study of emotions and affects has gained momentum. Although German scholars have had a major impact on the study of emotions, many of the leading theoretical minds today work outside the field of German Studies. This three-part seminar seeks to create a forum to rethink current and future avenues for the study of emotions in German Studies. This conversation seems particularly appropriate for the German Studies Association insofar as emotions transcend disciplinary, temporal, and geographical boundaries; the study of emotions thus offers a rare opportunity for serious interdisciplinary engagement in a new key.
Since the conception of the field at the end of the nineteenth century, the study of emotions in the German-speaking world has been defined by a series of largely untenable, binary distinctions: between realism and constructivism, materialist and cultural-linguistic approaches, historical and literary criticism, microscopic and macroscopic lenses, and pre-modern and modern periods. In this seminar, we will begin the work of integrative rethinking by taking a critical look at these binaries. In the first session we will address recent controversies in emotion studies and their meaning for German Studies. The second session explores the boundaries and possibilities for studying affects in German aesthetics, literary, and cultural studies. The last session addresses the possibilities and limitations of the history of emotions as a history of practice. The thrust of the seminar is in the long 20th century, but one of our fundamental questions is how the continuities and ruptures of emotional changes of the long duree can be captured or not. How do the findings of aesthetics and literary studies relate to history? How do we relate emotions as material (bodily) practices to the norms and linguistic paradigms of emotions? How do we incorporate the neurosciences into interdisciplinary studies of emotions?
Seminars meet for all three days of the conference during the first morning slot to foster extended discussion, rigorous intellectual exchange, and intensified networking. They are led by 2 to 3 organizers and will consist of 15 to 20 participants, at least some of whom should be graduate students. In order to reach the goal of extended discussion, seminar organizers and participants are expected to participate in all three installments of the seminar.
Each seminar will be moderated by one of our organizers. All participants are expected to contribute a 3-5 page “position paper” by 31 August 2013 that engages with one or two relevant, key texts of their choice or from those listed below in light of their scholarship, as well addressing the question of how we might study emotions within the context of German Studies. These papers will be made available to both the seminar participants and a wider public. Since the publications and papers will all be publicly available, we will ask each participant to briefly summarize her/his ideas as a way to begin an open-ended discussion of the material at hand.
I. Challenges of Emotion Studies/ Moderated by Heikki Lempa
$ “AHR Conversation: The Historical Study of Emotions” AHR 117 (2012): 1487-1531.
$ Bettina Hitzer: Emotionsgeschichte – ein Anfang mit Folgen, in: HSoz-u-Kult 23.11.2011, http://hsozkult.geschichte.hu-berlin.de/forum/2011-11-001.
II. Affects in German Aesthetics and Literary Studies/Moderated by Derek Hillard
$ Charles Altieri, The Particulars of Rapture: An Aesthetics of the Affects. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2003. ("Introduction," 1-36).
$ Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Atmosphere, Mood, Stimmung: On a Hidden Potential of Literature. Stanford UP, 2012. ("Introduction," 1-20).
III. Emotions as Practice and History of Emotions/ Moderated by Russell Spinney
$ Monique Scheer, “Are Emotions a Kind of Practice (and Is That What Makes Them Have a History)? A Bourdieuian Approach to Understanding Emotion.” History and Theory 51 (2012), 193-220.
Heikki Lempa (Associate Professor of German and Modern European History, Moravian College); Russell A. Spinney (Ph.D., Santa Fe Prep); Derek Hillard (Associate Professor of German, Kansas State University).
Those who wish to submit a proposal should fill out the GSA Seminar Application Form and email it to the Seminar Coordinator for this session, Irene Kacandes, at [log in to unmask] Deadline: February 1, 2013. In addition to other information, the form asks for a brief statement of purpose. It should describe the participant's qualifications and planned contribution to the seminar. You can download the application form from: https://www.thegsa.org/news/index.html
Associate Professor of German
Department of Modern Languages
Kansas State University
215 Eisenhower Hall
Manhattan KS 66506
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