27th Annual Interdisciplinary German Studies Conference
at the University of California, Berkeley
February 22-23, 2019
Keynote Speaker: Rei Terada (UC Irvine)
In a 1930 manifesto for the New Objectivity, Cologne journalist Frank Matze denounced nineteenth-century realism not for sobriety or reactionary politics, but for sentimentality: the poetic realist mixed affects with objects, filtered things through his “soul’s domain of feeling,” and replaced their coldness with the “warmth of his own heart.” The new art, Matze proclaimed, should be sachlich: objective but also sober, free of the contaminating tepidness of feeling. Today, our feelings about “objectivity” are more mixed. We often think of realism as a reactionary gesture, circumscribing all that is possible within the limits of the status quo. But recent developments in critical theory, philosophy, and literary studies have mobilized affect and reality in surprising new configurations. Scholars such as Eve Kosofsky-Sedgwick, Brian Massumi, Sarah Ahmed, Jane Bennett, and Mel Y. Chen have figured affect as something very “real” in itself, a non-subjective force that gives form to bodies at once material, social, and political. As contemporary theorists return to the question of realism after the linguistic turn, affect is never far away.
For the 2019 Interdisciplinary German Studies Conference, we invite submissions from a wide range of fields that attend to the relation between affects and realisms or the real. What historical configurations has this relation taken? In what formal structures (genres, modes, linguistic forms) do affective realisms manifest themselves in texts and other cultural objects? How can we take up recent work in gender and queer theory, feminist and postcolonial studies and critical race theory in order to investigate the roles affective realisms play in systems of oppression and/or movements of emancipation? What are the promises and dangers of affect and realism in a scholarly atmosphere situated between aspirations toward post-human philosophies and the threat of a post-truth public sphere?
Submissions: Please send 300-word abstracts and a brief bio to [log in to unmask] by December 15th, 2018. We welcome proposals that engage these questions from different disciplinary backgrounds and theoretical traditions, including but not limited to literary studies, art history, music, architecture, language pedagogy, history, linguistics, film and media studies, theater and performance studies, geography, philosophy, translation, critical theory, and anthropology.
Papers might address, but are by no means limited to, the following topics:
Marxisms (reification, alienation, Frankfurt School, Freudomarxisms)
Genres and modes such as melodrama, lyric, tragedy, satire, or romance
Affect in late capitalism (emotional labor, the “waning of affect”)
Periods and movements (the early modern, Sturm und Drang, Romanticism, bourgeois realism, Expressionism, Bauhaus, Neorealisms and New Waves, “hysterical realism”)
Performance studies (embodiment, dance, oral traditions)
Mass culture (popular art forms, Proletkult, political propaganda)
Media theory (the spectator, the index) and old or new media forms (video games, Netflix, social media)
The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Sean Franzel
Assistant Editor: Olaf Schmidt
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
Info available at: https://grs.missouri.edu/german/resources