Mind and Madness: The Mind and its Languages

The Germanic Graduate Student Association of the Ohio State University
presents the Fourth Annual Graduate Student Conference

To be held on Friday and Saturday, February 17th and 18th, 2012

On the Campus of The Ohio State University
in Columbus, OH

Keynote Speaker: Professor Lisabeth Hock, Wayne State University
Plenary Speaker: Professor Charlie Vannette, Ferris State University

As human beings grow ever closer to understanding their bodies, one
aspect remains mysterious: the mind and its internal functions.
Historically, the mind is most closely examined when a person exhibits
behavior outside of the ‘normal,’ especially in processes of
communication. Observations of what the 19th century termed ‘madness’
also present portals for studying linguistic and other manifestations
and representations of mental functions. The German-speaking world
has, in its arts, medicine, science, and popular culture, often
concerned itself with the normal and abnormal minds. These interests
have extended to how one ought best cultivate the mind, which minds
were and were not capable of improvement, the dark worlds of dreams
and magic, the social position of the insane in realist literature,
and insanity’s ‘true’ causes. This interest continues into present
concerns for mental health education and awareness, as well as
artistic depictions of (particularly) depression and anxiety.  For
this conference, we invite submissions that may explore, but are not
limited to the following themes:

•Defining madness
•Irrationality and the artist
•Connection between body and mind
•Mind shaping language, language shaping mind
•Violence of mind, i.e. delirium, psychotic episodes
•Self-diagnosis/hypochondria (from Goethe to blogging)
•Free will - brain chemistry, or fate?
•Alterations of the mental state by external means (drugs, suggestion,
etc) in literature
•Mind-altering language—spells and potions
•Gender and madness—pathologized or celebrated?
•Personal language of madness vs. language of clinical diagnosis
•The dialogue of fantasy/imagined realities vs. objective realities

Please send an abstract of 250 words to Alex Holznienkemper
([log in to unmask]) by November 30th.

Please include your name, university affiliation, title of paper and
email address.

We welcome abstracts not only from students in German Studies, but
also from those in other fields with papers pertinent to the topic.
Paper presentations should be approximately 20 minutes in length.

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