Call for Papers - Lessing Society Session at the American Society for
Eighteenth-Century Studies 43rd Annual Meeting, San Antonio, TX, March
22-25, 2012

Poetologies of Progress:

Conceptions of Societal Advancement in Lessing’s *Die Erziehung des
Menschengeschlechts* and Other Writings.

The Lessing Society would like to encourage the submission of papers
centered around the examination of notions of progress found in the works of
G.E. Lessing. *Die Erziehung des Menschengeschlechts* (1777) will serve as a
primary foil for discussions of Lessing’s progressive tendencies. Written as
a critique of religious fundamentalism (*à la* Goeze),
*Erziehung*imbricates itself within a historical context of ongoing
social and
political transformations as a diatribe for human betterment. Some possible
discourses of progress open to analysis would be, but are not limited to:

Political (cosmopolitanism vs. nationalism, democracy vs. tyranny)
Social (emancipation of women, human rights, civil freedoms)
Technological/Cultural (didactic tools, like theater and literature)
Nature (early models of evolution, humans as nature’s telos)
Religious (hierarchization, tolerance, reason vs. salto mortale)

How do Lessing’s aesthetic theories, literary writings, dramas, theories of
dramaturgy, and fables also evoke underlying ideologies regarding societal
advancement? Submissions need not deal explicitly with *Erziehung* and
critical interactions are encouraged.

Please submit your abstracts to Seth Berk <[log in to unmask]>, by
September 15th, 2011. Abstracts should not exceed 250 words.

“Der Schwärmer tut oft sehr richtige Blicke in die Zukunft: aber er kann
diese Zukunft nur nicht erwarten. Er wünscht diese Zukunft beschleuniget;
und wünscht, dass sie durch ihn beschleuniget werde. Wozu sich die Natur
Jahrtausende Zeit nimmt, soll in dem Augenblicke seines Daseins reifen. Denn
was hat er davon, wenn das, was er für das Bessere erkennt, nicht noch bei
seinen Lebezeiten das Bessere wird?” (*Erziehung* §90)

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