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*Call for Papers: *

*Graduate Student Conference at the Princeton German Department*

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*Topologies of Reading** *

*     March 30, 2012** *

*Keynote Speaker: Helmut Müller - Sievers*



We no longer read as we did 50 years ago. The landscape of reading is
itself in flux. In recent years, historians, media theorists, philosophers,
and neuroscientists among others have grappled with this shift in a variety
of ways. One narrative involves the move from the unity of the book to its
fragmentation and a corresponding extension of hermeneutic practices from
the book to other media. Another narrative plots a movement from disparate
national literatures to the promised unity of a *Weltliteratur* as imagined
by Goethe and Marx. The architectonic spaces in which reading occurs – e.g.
libraries, trains, auditoriums – are also taken into account in ‘charting’
the landscape of reading.


This conference will explore the implications of the ‘topological’ turns in
the way we conceive of reading and literature. Given that the Greek term τόπος
refers to both spatial and rhetorical phenomena, we understand topology as
a study that unites space and language. The placement of reading in a
topological framework forces us to contend simultaneously with rhetorical,
media-historical, phenomenological, and architectural questions.
Mathematical topology, which Michel Serres and others have extended to
wider cultural discourse, defines relations between objects in space and
time and describes those properties which remain constant under conditions
of change. Finally, the history of reading in the German hermeneutical
tradition itself comprises several interrelated topoi: Luther’s *sola
scriptura*; the development of Romanticism in the works of Hölderlin, the
Schlegels and Novalis; Nietzsche’s deconstructivist philology; Heidegger’s
hermeneutics of facticity; and Blumenberg’s characterization of the world
as a book (to name a few).


 A topological approach to these reading theories will consider both their
rhetorical and their spatial dimensions. In order to create common ground
for our discussion, a brief set of relevant texts by authors such as
Luhmann, Blumenberg, Kittler, Flusser, Serres will be distributed via
Dropbox before the conference. We strongly encourage interdisciplinary
talks and would be delighted to receive papers from Language & Literature,
Art History, Architecture, History of Science, Film Theory, History,
Rhetoric, Sociology, Musicology, and Philosophy.



Paper topics may include but are certainly not limited to:


   - Scenes of reading in literature
   -  Techniques and practices of reading from Greek antiquity to the
   present (e.g. sermons, declamations, oratories, lectures)
   -  Romantic hermeneutics as a topographic and topological practice
   - Modes of transmission of literature (e.g. serializations,
   subscriptions, epistolary novels) and their formal, structural, generic,
   and rhetorical effects
   - Thinking philology topologically
   - The history of libraries and the spatial organization of knowledge
   - The instruments of reading and their place in literature (e.g.
   marginalia, note-taking, bookmarks)
   - Reading as ‘performing knowledge’
   - Convergences between mathematics and literary theory (e.g. Husserlian
   geometry, Cartesian analytics, Leibnizian calculus)

Please send abstracts (500 word maximum) by January 15, 2012 to Tanvi
Solanki and Alice Christensen at [log in to unmask] Abstracts
must include a cover letter with the author's name, paper title,
affiliation, telephone number and email address, and be in the form of
*.doc or *.docx files.

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