CALL FOR SEMINAR PARTICIPATION: "Nietzsche and the Birth of Modernism"

German Studies Association Conference: October 3-6, 2019 (Portland, Oregon)

Deadline for submissions: January 26, 2019

Conveners: Sharon Jordan (Art History, CUNY), Benjamin Schluter (German Studies, NYU)

We invite you to attend a seminar exploring Nietzsche and modern art at this year's GSA. Please see below for all information regarding the seminar and admission requirements.


On the 175th anniversary of Friedrich Nietzsche's birth, we seek to revalue the influence of the philosopher's publications, not only within the fields of philosophy and literature, but especially in the visual and performing arts. To do this, we will pay special attention to the initial reception of Nietzsche's corpus during early 20th century Modernism. While Nietzsche's influence on leading German writers of the time is well established, we aim to broaden our understanding by considering other aesthetic disciplines and media (especially the plastic arts, music, and dance). Nietzsche's polar notions of the Apollonian and Dionysian, as well as his broader lexicon of archetypes and topoi, will help construct a framework for analyzing the incorporation of his thought into various artistic practices of Modernism. Yet beyond reading the modernists as faithful heirs and popularizers of Nietzsche, we will also negotiate the ways they challenge, rework, and overcome his legacy.

The goal of the seminar is to bring together multi-disciplinary interpretations of the ways Nietzsche's motifs and ideas have influenced the development of Modernism across various disciplines. The head convener, Sharon Jordan, is an art historian who focuses on German Expressionism. She is in the early stages of a monograph on Nietzsche's influence among leading visual artists.


Individual participants will apply by submitting a prospective presentation on a modernist work of their choice in any medium, along with suggested reading materials from Nietzsche's work of related secondary literature. The conveners will use this information to help develop a syllabus and reader, which will be shared digitally with participants at least one month in advance of the conference. During the seminar, participant and convener presentations will be used as the impulse for discussion.


Please submit applications before January 26 through the official channels of the GSA ( Any questions may be directed to the conveners at [log in to unmask] and [log in to unmask]. We invite scholars of all levels and disciplines to participate.

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