Quests for Meaning: Religion, Spirituality and the Transcendental in German Culture
April 28–29, 2017
Binghamton University (SUNY)

Keynote: Albrecht Classen, University of Arizona: “The Individual Quest For Spirituality In German Literature”

Discourses that have conjugated ideas of “truth” with notions of “purity,” “sacrifice,” and religiosity or quasi-religiosity have been prominent in German-speaking cultures for centuries. Such discourses link, for example, the biographies of individuals such as Luther, Kant, and Bach, situating them as figureheads of their moment or even symbolic figures of a “German spirit.” The concept of “Bildung” as a foundational value that links knowledge and spirituality, as well as the idea of a particular “German depth,” have contributed to this constellation.

What does it mean that meaning, quest, and spirituality have often been defined in terms of one another in German culture and thought? How do ideas of the spiritual and the transcendent interact with and inform other discourses, knowledge practices, and areas of culture? How has the “individual quest for meaning” shaped such disparate domains as philosophy, literature, political thought, and the like? What can the shifting configuration of spirituality among diverse discourses tell us about its central role in the history of German culture and thought?

On the 500th anniversary of Luther’s 95 theses, the Binghamton University German Studies Colloquium (BUGSC) will explore the shifting constellations of spirituality, religion, and individual quests in German literature, philosophy, culture, and history. We are looking for contributions from German Studies and neighboring disciplines (art history, comparative literature, cultural studies, history, music, philosophy, and visual studies) in order to pose the question of the ever-changing role of spirituality in German culture, broadly conceived.

We hope that this Lutherjahr colloquium will provoke a wide variety of conversations and investigations. Accordingly, possible topics may include (but are not limited to) the following:

We welcome submissions for papers and panels (in German or English) on “Quests for Meaning: Religion, Spirituality and the Transcendental in German Culture.” Please submit an approximately one-page abstract with a one-paragraph biographical note by Friday, December 30, 2016 to Harald Zils at [log in to unmask]. We also welcome panel proposals, which should include three abstracts and three biographies. Presentations should be no longer than twenty minutes, with three presentations per panel. We welcome submissions from all those interested in thinking about the 2017 BUGSC theme, including faculty and graduate students, teachers and researchers, writers and translators, and others active in the field.

Dr. phil. Harald Zils
Assistant Professor of German Studies
Undergraduate Studies Director, German Studies
Dept. of German and Russian Studies (GRS)
Binghamton University, SUNY
PO Box 6000
Binghamton, NY 13902

******************* The German Studies Call for Papers List Editor: Sean Franzel Assistant Editor: Olaf Schmidt Sponsored by the University of Missouri Info available at: http://grs.missouri.edu/resources/gerlistserv.html