*Call for Papers
Elective Affinities: Goethe, Literature, Science*
Fifth Biennial Graduate Student Conference in German Studies
Department of German and Romance Languages and Literatures
Johns Hopkins University
*December 5-6, 2008*

*"Es ist eine Gleichnisrede, die dich verführt und verwirrt hat…hier wird
freilich nur von Erden und Mineralien gehandelt, aber der Mensch   ist ein
wahrer Narziss: er bespiegelt sich überall gern selbst; er legt sich als
Folie der ganzen Welt unter." *(Die Wahlverwandtschaften)* *

Drawn from chemistry, the title of Goethe's 1809 novel *Wahlverwandtschaften
*refers to the potential of unpredictable separations and realignments, the
stability or fragility of both chemical bonds and human connections. The
novel could be read as lab notes to an experiment in catalyzing
interpersonal shifts which occur when new encounters disturb an equilibrium.
This exploration of the realm of science and experimentation is evident
throughout Goethe's oeuvre and becomes articulated in his literary writings.
Conversely, in becoming text, these experiments develop significance well
beyond the laboratory, and contribute to the continuing fascination and
broad scholarly involvement with Goethe as recent works in the poetics of
knowledge have shown.

By using a variety of approaches and sources, this conference seeks to
investigate the perspectives and intersections of Goethe's entire literary
and scientific oeuvre, as well as that of the era which came to be named
after him. How is his universalizing approach relevant today, e.g. in
contemporary scholarship or in educational debates? How do Goethe's
experiments and scientific writings help us situate his work within the
history of philosophical thought and literary practice? How are Goethe's own
experiments reflected in his literary work and how do they inform his
literary production? How do these experiments and connections gain new
meaning through writing and being written?

*Keynote Speakers: David E. Wellbery (University of Chicago) and Eckart
Förster (Johns Hopkins University)*

Possible paper topics could explore, but are not limited to, the following
"elective affinities:"

-  *Goethe on Bild, Bildung, Bildungsroman, Einbildungskraft, Nachbildung*
-  *Natur**, Naturdichtung, Naturphilosophie, Naturwissenschaften in the
Goethe Era*
-  *Goethe in relation to his contemporaries*
-  *Universalizing approaches (e.g. Nationalliteratur versus Weltliteratur,
Bildung)                     *
-  *Symbol, metaphor, morphology*
-  *Idea, image, **Urphänomen*
-  *Protoscience, pseudoscience, the future of science: Goethe as alchemist,
magus, prophet*
-  *Narrative science, science of narrative – before, in, and after Goethe*

Please send a one-page paper abstract in English or German by September 18th,
2008 to [log in to unmask]
For further information, refer to the conference webpage:
For any questions, please contact the organizers:
Doreen Densky ([log in to unmask]) and Tove Holmes ([log in to unmask]).

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