Dear all,

Please note the extended deadline for abstracts (*Friday, February 15*) for
Cornell's upcoming German Studies Graduate Student Conference.

*Without Naming It: Pragmatics and Poetics of Pronouns*

Keynote Speaker: Brian Richardson (University of Maryland)

* March 22-23, 2019*

The graduate students in German Studies at Cornell University invite
contributions to this year’s conference centered on pronouns. The
conference aims to bring together scholars interested in engaging with
these ubiquitous and multifaceted elements of language from varying
perspectives. Thanks not least to the work of queer practices and theories,
pronouns have recently attained a high-profile role within public discourse
and the political sphere. With this, pronouns continue to inform a long
history of literary, cultural, and philosophical investigations, whether in
shaping character, voice, and perspective, complicating agency and
identity, or raising questions of indexicality and reference.

Pronoun, from the Latin *pronomen*:

   - *Pro**:* for, in the sense of “on behalf of” and “in place of”;
   initiates a comparison with “behaving as”
   - *Nomen**:* names and naming; related to *nosco*, “to know,” “to

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a pronoun “designates an object
without naming it.” It can refer to either what is “known from context or
usage” or an unknown “subject or object of inquiry.” Whether this process
of designation is explicitly recognized or not, pronouns always implicitly
ask: to whom or what does this refer, and how?

In this way, pronouns invite close reading in their deictic function by
prompting questions of reference, identity and agency. Their apparent
inability to function meaningfully alone in an utterance makes their
meaning dependent on context and assumption. Because the meaning of a
pronoun is dependent on context, and this is constantly shifting, to what
extent can we say that pronouns participate in the construction of identity
or meaning-making at all? These considerations evoke a number of questions
that might serve as points of departure for an in-depth multidisciplinary
investigation into the pragmatics, poetics and productive capacity of the
pronoun. What do pronouns do? How do they function in literary and
non-literary contexts, in everyday communication and different kinds of
media? What is their role in the construction of social categories such as
gender or identity? Might pronouns obscure more than they clarify?

We invite proposals for papers from fields such as literary and cultural
studies, philosophy, linguistics, queer studies, science studies, and
related fields. Potential topics may include, but are not limited to:

Capacities of pronouns to function uniquely within the literary genres of
poetry, prose, and drama

   - Philosophical inquiries into theories of naming and reference,
   - Translingualism and translation of pronouns
   - Sites of inclusion and exclusion, recognition, legal personhood,
   cultural identity
   - Pronouns and gender
   - The non-human: non-human animals, machines, things, non-human agents
   - Pronouns and other proxies in film, visual art, music, and other
   cultural artifacts

Abstracts for 20-minute presentations are due by *February 15, 2019*.
Please send your paper proposals (around 300 words) to
*[log in to unmask]
<[log in to unmask]>*.

Jacy Tackett
PhD Candidate and Graduate Instructor
Cornell University
Department of German Studies
432 Goldwin Smith Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-3201

The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Sean Franzel
Assistant Editor: Olaf Schmidt
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
Info available at: