Johns Hopkins German Department presents its 2006 Graduate Student

MAPPING NARRATIVES:  Excursions in Limbo

Keynote speakers: Tom Conley, Harvard University; John Zilcosky, University
of Toronto

date and location: 1. and 2. December, 2006; Baltimore, MD

submission deadline: 31. August, 2006


contact: Anne Flannery, Ellwood Wiggins >>[log in to unmask]<<

Humans desire to know----
                          where they are.
Whether moving through a new and unfamiliar city, or reading a narrative of
fact or fiction, we create aids to locate ourselves in relation to known and
familiar spaces. Why do readers and writers rely on visual and geographical
tools to navigate their way through the reading or writing of a text?
Without the dozens of various charts and cartographic images that scholars
and artists have felt compelled to draw of the Inferno, would readers be as
lost in the grey limbo of their literary journeys as Dante would have been
without Virgil to guide him? What function do the visual aids of maps,
diagrams, family trees and tables serve in the reading process, and how does
the discursive and temporal unfolding of a narrative relate to these spatial
devices of our understanding?  How do images—both those included by authors
and those created by readers—relate to the texts in which they are embedded
or on which they are imposed?  How do texts not supplied with such visual
aids work to create a (more or less concrete) sense of space in reader's
imaginations?  How does a narrative work to imprint the blueprint of a space
with mere words?
                     Maps, too, can work narratively, as they are often
oriented towards describing trajectories through space rather than
representing space in the sense of the 'architecture' of landscapes. How do
different kinds of maps demand to be visualized? What status do maps, as
diagrammatic presentations that are neither solely writing nor images,
occupy?  Art Historians have done impressive work on the iconography of
cartography, and the metaphorics of mapping is a fascinating area of
research within cognitive science. The persuasive device of supplementing
writing by either actual diagrams or quasi-diagrams evoked through writing
has been acknowledged by philosophers, scientists and rhetoricians since
Leibniz. The relation of word and image has perplexed thinkers from Euclid
to Einstein and from Lessing to Sebald.
                     With the conference, "Mapping Narratives," we hope to
explore some of the issues dealing with excursions (geographical and visual)
taken in texts.  In order to examine the above questions within a context of
fields ranging from cartography and travel writing to cognitive science and
psychoanalysis, we would like to invite scholars  not only from literary
studies, but from a diverse range of disciplines such as geography,
sociology, philosophy, history of art and psychology. This topic is one that
can only benefit from a wide array of strategies and approaches.

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words to  >>
[log in to unmask]<< by 31. August, 2006.

Paper topics include, but are not limited to:

Narrative Space
• Literary landscapes
• "Fictional" Landscapes and maps
• Imaginary Places
• (Mis)representation of place(s)
• Organization of space by maps
• Organization of space by narrative
• Places and Non-places
• Psychoanalysis and Dream Landscapes
• Spatiality and Discursivity

• Maps and texts
• Maps as texts
• Mapping (Trajectory Maps versus Architecture of Space, i.e. Chatwin's
Songlines as opposed to Nabokov's Zembla)
• Cognitive Mapping (Etak principle vs. geological modeling, e.g. Google
• History of Infographics
• Graphics and News: the 'USA Today/ CNN' phenomenon
• Graphics and Rhetoric: Visible Statistics as Evidence (e.g. powerpoint)
• Incorporation of images in Fiction and Non-Fiction
• Poetical Figuration of Visualization
• Ekphrasis

Hermeneutical Desire
• Lost and Found
• Nomadism
• Forgetting and Re-membering
• The Quest (X marks the Spot!)
• Topologies of Utopias
• Travel Writing
• Questions of genre and images (e.g. Sebald)

The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Stefani Engelstein
Assistant Editor:  Megan McKinstry
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
Info available at: