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>
>From: Arne De Winde <[log in to unmask]>
>
>Subject: CFP: Tectonics of the Systems. New Readings of Oswald Spengler
>  (8/30/09;12/15-17/09)
>
>
>Tectonics of the Systems.
>New Readings of Oswald Spengler
>
>Tektonik der Systeme.
>Neulektüren von Oswald Spengler
>
>Tectonique des Systèmes.
>Relectures d'Oswald Spengler
>
>Leuven, 15-17.12.2009
>
>From 15 to 17 December 2009, the research unit 
>Text and Interpretation of the department of 
>iterary studies at the Katholieke Universiteit 
>Leuven (Belgium) organizes an international 
>conference entitled Tectonics of the Systems. 
>New Readings of Oswald Spengler. The aim of this 
>conference is to explore new directions in the 
>study of Spengler's work, and to make possible 
>productive interdisciplinary exchanges that 
>assess the continuing relevance of his oeuvre. 
>
>Few philosophical works have met with a more 
>remarkable critical fate than Oswald Spengler's 
>(1880-1936) controversial and bestselling The 
>Decline of the West (1918, 1922). Upon 
>publication, Spengler's philosophy of history 
>became the object of a passionate public debate 
>in which very different voices - such as those 
>of Thomas Mann, Karl Kraus, and Ernst Bloch - 
>expressed wildly divergent opinions. This 
>so-called "Spengler-Streit" was fought in 
>newspaper and journal articles, in essays as 
>well as in monumental monographs, and it soon 
>became a crucial reference point in the 
>intellectual history of the interwar period.
>
>After the Second World War, Spengler's work soon 
>disappeared from the intellectual mainstream: 
>any thorough engagement with a work that had 
>been so controversial and ubiquitous before the 
>war was pre-empted on grounds that were both 
>ideological and methodological. Spengler was 
>soon reduced to the status of a philosophical 
>curiosity in post-war intellectual discourses. 
>As Jacques Bouveresse notes, we have grown used 
>to making fun of Spengler, without going to the 
>trouble of actually reading him.
>
>Given this state of affairs, this conference has a double goal:
>
>(1) We would like to meet Bouveresse's challenge 
>and provide a platform for new readings of 
>Spengler's works, including his less familiar 
>ones. The widespread failure to engage with 
>Spengler's work seems to be almost an "excuse," 
>as Adorno called it, that betrays an anxiety to 
>confront an oeuvre that is extremely complicated 
>and problematic on both political and rhetorical 
>grounds. It is precisely the stylistic, 
>rhetorical, and theoretical complexity of 
>Spengler's work, or even its hybridity at the 
>crossroads of philosophy and literature, of 
>logic and rhetoric, that this conference wants 
>to investigate. The complexity of Spengler's 
>texts invites readings that aim to trace 
>rhetorical and argumentative strategies - such 
>as the construction of syntheses, analogies, and 
>oppositions - and to foreground tensions and 
>hesitations in Spengler's often seemingly 
>apodictic statements. We also want to 
>investigate to what extent these tensions - 
>between continuity and discontinuity, between 
>tradition and radicalism, between 
>organ(olog)ical images and technocratic 
>phantasies of the state - are a more general 
>characteristic of discourses of the so-called 
>Konservative Revolution, or of what has also 
>been called a "German anti-modernist modernism" 
>(Richard Herzinger).
>
>(2) The conference also wants to focus on the 
>renewed international reception of Spengler's 
>work since the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. 
>After the demise of the traditional opposition 
>between the political Left and Right, we can 
>observe a remarkable return of and to Spengler's 
>work - as well as cultural-pessimistic 
>discourses more generally. This call for papers 
>explicitly welcomes contributions that attempt 
>to test the possibilities of considering Oswald 
>Spengler as our "contemporary." In a German 
>context, for instance, the aesthetic and 
>essayistic reactualization of Spengler in the 
>work of Botho Strauß, Rolf Hochhuth, Reinhard 
>Jirgl, and Peter Sloterdijk demands critical 
>analysis.
>
>This double perspective should lead to a timely 
>correction of the highly reductive traditional 
>images of Spengler, as well as to a more 
>adequate understanding of the place of 
>Spengler's work in contemporaneous as well as 
>current discursive networks.
>
>
>The different research questions will be dealt 
>with in eight different thematic sections:
>
>Section 1 - The "Spengler-Streit": Spengler and his contemporaries
>Section 2 - Spengler's international resonance
>Section 3 - The Decline of the West: a "massive novel"
>Section 4 - On the Faustian: The legacy of Nietzsche and Goethe
>Section 5 - "The dirty literati": Spengler and aesthetic modernism
>Section 6 - "World history is state history": 
>Spengler's state, nation, and politics         
>Section 7 - "Das weltgeschichtliche Schauen": 
>The actuality of Spengler's morphology of culture
>Section 8 - Spengler's literary reception after 1989
>
>
>Invited keynote speakers:
>Barbara Beßlich (Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg)
>Frits Boterman (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
>Jacques Bouveresse (Collège de France)
>Erk Grimm (Barnard College)
>Dieter Heimböckel (Université du Luxembourg)
>Richard Herzinger
>Gilbert Merlio (Université Paris Sorbonne - Paris IV)
>Susanne Lüdemann (University of Chicago)
>Anson Rabinbach (Princeton University)
>Gérard Raulet (Université Paris Sorbonne - Paris IV)
>
>
>Abstracts (no more than 300 words in Pdf or 
>Word-Format) for 30-minutes presentations can be 
>sent to the following address before 1 September 
>2009
>[log in to unmask]
>
>Proposals and presentations can be in German, 
>English, as well as French. You will be notified 
>of the acceptance of your proposal before 21 
>September 2009. We are planning the publication 
>of selected contributions.
>
>For more information on the conference 
>(registration, program, venue, accommodation, 
>etc.), please consult (from August 17 on):
><http://www.arts.kuleuven.be/tektonik_der_systeme/>http://www.arts.kuleuven.be/tektonik_der_systeme/
>
>For all your questions, please do not hesitate to contact us:
>Tektonik der Systeme c/o Arne De Winde
>Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
>Departement of Literary Studies
>Blijde Inkomststraat 21
>3000 Leuven
>BELGIUM

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