CFP: Cosmos and Community: 250 Years of Alexander von Humboldt 

(Sep 20, 2019; March 5-8 2020)


To be held at the 2020 Northeastern Modern Language Association (NeMLA) convention in Boston. 


The theme of the 2020 Northeastern Modern Language Association’s annual convention is “Shaping and Sharing Identities: Spaces, Places, Languages, and Cultures” - few authors’ works speak more directly to this topic than those of Alexander von Humboldt. Alexander von Humboldt, whose 250thbirthday is being commemorated throughout Germany this year, redefined many areas of German scientific life. As a botanist, ethnologist, cartographer, meteorologist, and linguist interested in all aspects of the “Cosmos,” Humboldt sought to understand every intricacy of the natural world, creating for himself a persona so strong that Andrea Wulf’s 2015 bestseller credits him with “the invention of nature” as we know it today. 

            This panel is interested in Humboldt’s work and legacy. In what way, for instance, do Humboldt’s writings on his travels to the Americas serve as catalysts of thought at the threshold between the Enlightenment and Romanticism, and in what ways can his work contribute to recent interdisciplinary discussions of sustainability and the Anthropocene? 


Topics might include, but are not limited to: 


-      Humboldt’s modes of inquiry and/or narrative styles.

-      Studies on those who have followed in Humboldt’s footsteps or built on his legacy. 

-      Humboldt’s international relationships and his portrayal of global intellectual exchange.

-      Works by Humboldt’s contemporaries that reflect the culture of this time period.

-      Critical considerations of recent “250 Jahre Alexander von Humboldt” commemorative events.


Please submit abstracts of approximately 250 words, including the submitter’s biographical information through the NeMLA website:


Submission deadline: September 30, 2019

For inquiries about the panel, contact: 

Pascale LaFountain, Assistant Professor of German and French, Montclair State University ([log in to unmask])


Pascale LaFountain
Assistant Professor of German and French
Department of Modern Languages & Literatures
222 Schmitt Hall
Montclair State University
1 Normal Avenue
Montclair, NJ 07043

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