German Studies Conference 2013
Seminar 11: “Rethinking Modernism after Cultural Studies”
Deadline: 1 February 2013
Organizers: Gwyneth Cliver (Assistant Professor of German, University of Nebraska—Omaha); Sarah McGaughey (Assistant Professor of German, Dickinson College)
This seminar will explore the way in which cultural studies and its related interdisciplinary methodologies have transformed—and continue to transform—academic debates over the concept of “modernism,” as it is used to designate the aesthetic plurality of the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries. We envision this rethinking as an intervention into current debates in German studies, cultural studies, and visual studies. In this seminar, we will bring together scholars from a broad spectrum of disciplines that examine culture in order to update our understanding of the term “modernism.” In light of the analytical mining of cultural phenomena in the last two decades, we seek to pose new questions of modernism, such as: How do conceptions of periodization and genre assist or detract from a definition of modernism informed by cultural studies? Are the conventional tropes of plurality, crisis, individualization, urbanization, psychologization, paranoia, subjectivity, etc. strengthened or weakened by recent scholarship? How can broader current epistemological and institutional debates, such as on failure or on economic and social crises, contribute to a more refined understanding of modernism? How can specific cases of aesthetic analysis be abstracted in order to lend a more nuanced interpretation of broader cultural trends?
In our call for participants, we will request two sets of possible contributions. One set will develop theories of modernism for discussion within the seminar. This set aims to set broad theoretical strokes which will then be complemented or contested with a second set focused on fine analyses of specific cultural artifacts, such as, but not limited to, literary works, works of art and architecture, interior design, film, theater, music, advertising, cultural events, fashion, journalism, popular science, toys, and food. We will spend the first session discussing theoretical questions and considerations and the second honing in on the specific cases brought to us by our contributors. We intend to spend the final session discussing future goals and directions for scholarship on modernism in light of conclusions drawn and questions posed by the previous two sessions.
In order to focus on discussion, we will allow each contributor only a few minutes to summarize the content of his or her paper. To achieve a high level of discussion, participants will supply the seminar organizers with papers of 2500-3500 words by August 1st, 2013. The seminar organizers will then distribute the papers along with focused questions to the entire seminar in order to facilitate discussion at the conference. In addition, we wish to promote the development of new projects and approaches to modernism. With this in mind, and with the permission of the participants, we will record the conversation. It is our aim to use this seminar as a medium for collaboration and promotion of new perspectives on modernism.
Those who wish to submit a proposal should fill out the GSA Seminar Application Form and email it to the Seminar Coordinator for this session, Lutz Koepnick at firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition to other information, the form asks for a brief statement of purpose. It should describe the participant’s qualifications and planned contribution to the seminar.