*The dates for this conference have been updated. The new dates are 10/28 – 10/29*

“Kleistian (pre-)Occupations”

Heinrich von Kleist 1777-1811-2011

A Graduate Student Conference

Keynote Speaker: Seán Allan, University of Warwick

California State University Long Beach

Friday October 28 - Saturday October 29, 2011

Many of the works and letters of Heinrich von Kleist (1777-1811) reflect the troubles of a writer whose personal life was as transitional and turbulent as the time in which he lived. From the revolutions in North America, France, and Haiti to the Napoleonic occupations, the tumultuous social and political landscapes of the late 18th and the early 19th centuries shaped Kleist’s intellectual development and biography. The French occupation of the German states and the idea of Prussian independence (and Prussian national identity) play a prominent role in Kleist’s texts, with foreign occupation and usurpation serving as a common theme in Robert Guiskard (1803), Die Marquise von O... (The Marquise of O..., 1807), Die Hermannsschlacht (Hermann’s Battle, 1808), Die Verlobung in St. Domingo (Betrothal in San Domingo, 1811), Prinz Friedrich von Homburg (The Prince of Homburg, 1811), and Kleist’s political poetry. Kleist, a writer who transcends and often defies conventional categorization, was similarly pre-occupied with an array of related themes, including the pursuit of happiness, the construction of a Lebensplan (life plan), the fall from grace, justice, gender roles, Erkenntnistheorie (epistemology); all interwoven with the overarching conference themes of obsession and occupation. The conference will explore the author’s works, letters, and life – addressing the theme of the writer’s occupation and Kleist’s preoccupations as French occupation looms, becomes reality, and as the war of independence incubates – as well as the relevance and resonance of Kleistian (pre-)occupations 200 years after his suicide.   

Paper submissions (in English or German) may address Kleist and the following topics but are not limited to:

-          Occupation and Usurpation

-          The Writer’s Occupation

-          The Role of the Writer in a War of Independence

-          Literature and Politics/Constitutionalism

-          Napoleon Bonaparte

-          The Pursuit of Happiness

-          The Construction of a Lebensplan (Life Plan)

-          The Fall from Grace

-          Violence and Revenge

-          Erkenntnistheorie (Epistemology)

-          “Eine Bessere Welt” and Suicide

-          Religion and Politics

-          Gender Roles

-          Justice

-          Education

-          (The Representation of) War and/or Violent Revolution

-          Colonialism

-          Tribalism

-          Allmähliche Verfertigung der Gedanken (Gradual Progression of Thoughts)

-          The Literature of Independence Movements

Please send one-page abstracts and brief biographical statements as Word documents to Curtis Maughan <[log in to unmask]> and Lisa Beesley <[log in to unmask]> by March 1, 2011.

******************* The German Studies Call for Papers List Editor: Stefani Engelstein Assistant Editor: Olaf Schmidt Sponsored by the University of Missouri Info available at: http://grs.missouri.edu/resources/gerlistserv.html