American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA) 2012
Brown University, Providence, RI
March 29th - April 1st, 2012
Submission deadline: November 15th, 2011

Seminar Organizers: Katrin Dettmer (Brown University) & Silja Maehl (Brown

Struggling Agents: Between Crisis and Creation

While the motif of apocalypse may primarily evoke images of destruction and
ruin, scholars such as Gerhard R. Kaiser in*Poesie der Apokalypse* have
pointed out that this motif is also closely related to themes of rebirth,
redemption, or utopia. Tracing the intricacies and paradoxes around the
motif of apocalypse, which is synonymous with both devastation and
revelation, this seminar will examine means of mediating and relieving
life-threatening experiences such as war, exile, oppression, or imprisonment
through the process of artistic creation.

How are individual crises reenacted, transformed, or transcended through
artistic creation? How is the unspeakable presented linguistically? What is
the new that emerges from personal or historical catastrophes?

This seminar invites papers on literature, theory, film, and other forms of
artistic expression that address a situation of crisis as groundbreaking or
saving force, which enables individuals to emerge as authors, as well as
presentations that investigate the motif of apocalypse as the moment of
positive potentiality. Heiner Müller, for example, sought to negotiate the
concept of “black utopia” – in which nature, the Third World, and the dead
emerge as agents that may bring about the revolution, for which a new
language is needed. Furthermore, we seek contributions that analyze
alternative strategies of survival depicted in literary texts, which allow
the protagonists to retain some level of agency. In many of Georges-Arthur
Goldschmidt’s texts, for instance, chastisement and coming to terms with the
foreign language save the exiled narrators from the incomparably stronger
pain of homesickness and mourning.
Please submit proposal online at the conference website, and choose the
panel from the drop-down menu (

For questions please contact the seminar organizers [log in to unmask]
[log in to unmask]

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