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Pedestrian Crossings: Walking in Philosophy, Literature, and Art



“The revolution,” says the actor playing Hamlet in *Hamletmaschine*,
“begins with a walk.”  Not only revolutions but also ground-breaking
literature and thought have been informed by this, the most pedestrian of
activities. Whether it be Stifter’s childhood rambles around Oberplan or
Kant’s daily constitutional in Königsberg, whether walking is social or
solitary, in the wilderness or the city, this panel proposes to consider
the “other” scene of writing outside of the scriptorium, the library, the
seminar room, and the laboratory. How has this extracurricular activity
informed our curricula? By which path(s) has walking, a figure which drifts
into divergent directions—nomadic, fictional, historical, aimless,
purposeful, and so on—strayed into the spheres of the literary, aesthetic
and philosophical? Where has walking been an impetus for thinking and
writing? And where has the inverse been true: to what extent can immobility
and paralysis function as a *Denkanstoß*?  While Nietzsche famously writes
that only those thoughts that come by walking have any value, others
including Derrida have identified the epoch of writing with the suspension
of being-upright.



This panel aims to investigate this and other unresolved tensions in the
art of the walk.





Possible topics could include:



Romantic Wandering

Imaginary Walks

Physiognomy and gait

Choreographing walking in modern dance

Modern peripatetic thought from Nietzsche's “geistiger Nomadentum” to
Deleuze's “géophilosophie”

W.G. Sebald and his peripatetic interlocutors (Hebel, Walser, Stifter)

The flâneur and invisible flâneuse in 19th century Paris and 20th century
Berlin

Loiterature (Ross Chambers)

Ecocritical approaches to walking

Extracurricular pedagogies

Crossroads and crossings

Walking and reading—the semiotics of the city

Spatial practices from the labyrinth to the landscape garden

Ascents and descents in literature



Please send a short abstract (200 words) of your proposed talk by February
10 to Jason Groves ([log in to unmask]) and Michael Powers (
[log in to unmask]).

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