CFP: Of Crime and Justice: New Questions on German Law and Literature (9/15/2015; March 17-20 2016)


47th Annual Convention: Northeastern Modern Language Association (NeMLA)

March 17-20, 2016

Hartford, CT

Host Institution: University of Connecticut


Of Crime and Justice: New Questions on German Law and Literature


            The theoretical and practical intersections between law and literature have been recognized as central to German cultural discourse, including, for instance intriguing analyses of Kafka’s literature and the Nürnberg trials. Recent research, such as Michael Niehaus’ Mord, Geständnis, Widerruf. Verhören und Verhörtwerden um 1800 (2006) and Thomas Weitin’s Zeugenschaft. Das Recht der Literatur (2009), has also pointed to the eighteenth century as a period of paramount interest concerning law and literature. Since both literature and the law use language to create narratives that reflect, interpret, judge, and prescribe human actions, examining how the law is represented in literature gives insight both into how these narratives change over time, and how crucial the role of narrative is to legal institutions. Recent questions regarding the junctions of law and literature explore the theatricality of the courtroom, the legal use of physical evidence and rhetorical argumentation to construct narratives, and problems of verbal and physical communication before the law. Encounters with these and other issues accompany avid philosophical discussions about the relative merits of Natural Law, positivism, codification, proof, truth, and ideals central to German culture from the Enlightenment to the present.


This panel seeks contributions that explore the ways in which law is both represented in literature since the 18th century, and adopts the rhetorical strategies of literature to enact itself.


Topics might include, but are not limited to:

-       Comparisons between legal and literary texts.

-       Original literary analyses of legal texts.

-       Readings of legal themes or techniques in German texts by canonical or non-canonical authors.       

-       New literary analyses of German texts that address the intersections between law and literature.


Please submit paper proposals (250 words) directly here: by September 15, 2015. For further information, contact Pascale LaFountain (Montclair State University) at [log in to unmask] and/or Julia Assaiante (Trinity College) at [log in to unmask] .





Pascale LaFountain
Assistant Professor of German and French
Modern Languages and Literatures
[log in to unmask]
[log in to unmask]" alt="It's all here. Montclair State University." style="border: 0px solid #000;" border="0" height="51" width="268">
******************* The German Studies Call for Papers List Editor: Sean Franzel Assistant Editor: Olaf Schmidt Sponsored by the University of Missouri Info available at: