Call for Papers:

	(Mis)speaking the end: 
	Apocalyptic tone?
	Negative Theology?

	“In these days (which are believed to be the last days) a habit has formed...”
			-Hans Jacob Christoffel Grimmelshausen
	“If one cannot exaggerate, then one cannot say anything at all anymore.”
			-Thomas Bernhard
	“There emanates from superlatives a destructive force.”
			-Elias Canetti
	The 2007 Cornell University German Studies Graduate Student Conference
(March 2&3, 2007) will encourage and accommodate a meeting (or filiation) of
discussions around German/European texts and cultural products which tend
towards extreme pessimism, hyperbolic diagnosis or apocalyptic tone. 
Instead of setting a firm definition of “the hyperbolic” or “the
apocalyptic,” we instead will promote the intersection of a broad selection
of possibly related rhetorical strategies, narrative structures, literary
trends, and historicities that might constitute or contribute to
“apocalyptic tone.”  Is speaking of apocalypse always theological and
transcendental, echoing its other literal meaning: revelation?  Could
speaking of apocalypse involve a sensible synthesis of empirical facts and
historical developments, whereby the speaker-subject generates consciousness
of a real general descent that could only lead to apocalypse?  Is there such
thing as a “subjective” or “localized” apocalypse, wherein everything ends,
but only for the one?  Is apocalypse always only a speculative fiction?  And
can language itself become somehow “apocalyptic,” in a radical negation of
itself and all outside circumstances?   Where—or where do we not—hear an
apocalyptic tone?  Is in it a voice which narrates the end of everything, or
is it a voice that misspeaks?
	A one-page abstract should be sent by Saturday, January 20 either via
e-mail attachment to [log in to unmask] or to

	Department of German Studies
	Cornell University
	183 Goldwin Smith Hall
	Cornell University
	Ithaca, NY 14853-3201

	Possible elucidations of suggested categories:

	Polemic.  To what extend is an “apocalyptic tone” polemical?  Polemic
opposes and negates beyond rational debate and critical negotiation—when one
bespeaks an apocalypse, does it serve as a polemical negation of an Other or
an environment?

	Prophesy/Negative Theology.  Is apocalypse ever rigorously historical?  Or
does it only present a theological, teleological way of thinking history,
whereby time ends and no dialectic is permitted?  To be a prophet of doom—is
this dangerous irrationalism or does it present some future condition of

	Pessimism.  Is one simply being pessimistic when adopting an apocalyptic
tone?  Does it mean that one is simply discouraged and disillusioned with
models of progress and sees a steady sloping downwards?  Where does the
pessimist imagine themselves in relation to the apocalypse?

	Dystopia.  Is dystopia—speculative fictions which employ Utopian strategies
to create an alternate future world which is radically worse than the
contemporaneous world—at all apocalyptic?  Does it suggest the end of
anything, or merely a progressive, continuous worsening?  Is dystopia the
end of everything we value, or a continuation of it?

	Misanthropy: To what extent is an apocalyptic tone fueled by a discreet
hatred of human nature and activity?  Could the apocalypse the speculation
of a misanthrope, who sees that man's true face will be revealed in the
total destruction of everything?

	Misinformation: Is apocalypse based on false world-views, false
consciousness, improper education?  Or could a well-informed subject rightly
adopt an apocalyptic tone?

	Wasteland: Can apocalypse be mapped?  Is “wasteland” an apocalyptic geography?

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