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MLA (January) 2011 (Los Angeles)

Narrative in 20th- and 21st-century German Literature and Culture

After 20th-century modernist avant-gardes virtually defined themselves through the critique of narrative as the quintessential form of modern identity construction (from the Bildungsroman to Hegel’s world histories), narrative has more recently had a major comeback in both aesthetic practice and theory. While feuilletons have discussed the comeback of the ‘big’ novel and its function in 21st century society and the visual arts have begun to more fully explore alternative forms of narrative in response to both its modernist critique and its return, narrative theory has experienced a major revival in the course of the last decade, transforming the heritage of structuralist literary narratology into a truly interdisciplinary, transmedial study of narrative practice. Curiously, this revival has found only limited resonance in German Studies so far. For the 2011 MLA 20th century German literature division meetings, we invite proposals which fill this gap by addressing various fac!
 ets of narrative in modernist and contemporary German literature, film, theater (and other arts). We welcome both more theoretical contributions on all areas of narrative theory and close readings of individual works, and re-evaluations of modernist anti-narrativisms as well as discussions of new or forgotten trends in both popular and experimental texts and productions.

In accordance with the new MLA guidelines, there will be

-          two regular division sessions (1-page abstracts by March 15 to Claudia Breger, [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>),

-          plus a collaborative session with the Brecht society (subject to separate approval by the MLA): “The Epic and Ethics in the Brechtian mode.” How are Brechtian narrative practices linked to ethical questions of otherness, violence, and justice? How does Brecht’s approach elaborate on the tensions between Marxist and postmodernist ethics? (1-page abstracts by March 15 to Dorothee Ostmeier ([log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>) and Claudia Breger ([log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>).

-          Furthermore, we will submit a thematically related proposal for a special session (also subject to separate approval by the MLA): “Hollywood Beyond Hollywood: Re-Examining Narrative in Contemporary Global Film”: Papers addressing the reception, transformation, and re-imagination of conventional narrative form and style in and through cinemas outside the United States, 1-page abstracts by March 2 to Paul Young ([log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>) and Claudia Breger ([log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>).


Claudia Breger
Associate Professor of Germanic Studies
Adjunct Associate Professor of
Communication and Culture and Gender Studies
Department of Germanic Studies
Indiana University
BH 644
1020 E. Kirkwood Ave
Bloomington, IN 47405
Tel. 812-855-1894

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The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Stefani Engelstein
Acting Assistant Editor:  Olaf Schmidt
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
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