Category Archives: Atkins Conference

From the President

As President of the North American Goethe Society, I had the privilege of participating in the 85th Hauptversammlung of the Goethe-Gesellschaft in Weimar from June 7-10.  The Goethe-Gesellschaft serves a broad lay audience by drawing them to Weimar in order to engage in conversations with artists, teachers, other readers, and researchers. Unlike American scholarly societies, the Goethe-Gesellschaft speaks to a still robust Bildungsbürgertum that continues to celebrate Weimar culture.  In addition to bringing scholars and connoisseurs together, the Hauptversammlung also draws international representatives of other Goethe societies. This year many panels focused on Weltliteratur and the global reception of his work, so that discussions took on a very comparative approach.  One important similarity between the North American Society and the Gesellschaft in Weimar is the shared concern to attract young readers of eighteenth-century German literature.

Our own 2017 Atkins Goethe Conference is now fast approaching. From November 2-5, we will be gathering at Penn State University in the Nittany Lion Inn for meetings, lectures, dinners, and a dissertation workshop.  We look forward to your arrival in Central Pennsylvania at the height of the Fall season. Our conference will consider the topic “Re-Orientations around Goethe” in order to examine the eighteenth-century’s many kinds of revolutions in conjunction with our own era’s new critical approaches to German literature, politics, science, and art.  Directors at Large John Smith and Heidi Schlipphacke took charge of reviewing the paper proposals and organizing the panels.  This year the Society was able to provide travel funds for foreign scholars, graduate students and non-tenure track professors to attend the Atkins conference. These funds were drawn largely from royalties generated by the online publication of the Goethe Yearbook. Vice President  Catriona MacLeod will also award prizes during the conference for the best essays in eighteenth-century studies. Our connection to German scholarship will be well maintained through two keynote speakers, Helmut Schneider from the University of Bonn and Eva Geulen from the Humboldt University in Berlin.

At the Atkins conference, we will also begin an important transition among the positions of our Society’s officers. Patricia Simpson and Birgit Tautz, the new editors of the Yearbook, will also be attending the conference as they take on their new responsibilities.  Please feel free to speak with them about their plans and your interest in publishing in the Yearbook. For the last five years, Elisabeth Krimmer and Adrian Daub have done an excellent job editing the Goethe Yearbook. They have published lively and rigorous volumes. Because of their hard work the Yearbook continues to hold a prominent position in eighteenth-century studies not only in the United States and Canada but also in Germany.  We are most grateful for their attentive work and we wish them success as they continue in their own scholarship and teaching.

A few last technical details: The lecture rooms will all be equipped with video projectors, but we ask that you bring along your own laptop computers if you want to show images. Please make sure to register in advance so that we can pass your meal preferences along to the caterers. As our Society continues to attract new scholars, we urge you to renew your membership. Finally, Daylight saving time will come to an end on November 5, so please make sure to adjust your clocks and enjoy the extra hour.

Daniel Purdy
Pennsylvania State University

From the President

This coming Fall, November 3-5, 2017, we will be gathering together for the next Atkins Goethe Conference on the campus of Penn State University. Established with an endowment from Mr. Stuart Atkins to honor his parents Lillian and Stuart P. Atkins, this year’s international Atkins conference again hopes to attract a wide range of Goethe scholars from all over the world to present their newest research on German culture across the period of Johann Wolfgang Goethe’s life, 1749-1832.

Re-Orientations around Goethe, the topic for this Atkins Conference, encourages us to revive the vital questions that so dramatically transformed life around 1800 by demonstrating how they still matter in our own era. We have the opportunity to confirm that the principles of the Enlightenment have not been superseded in the global world, that the realization of true freedom requires us to cultivate the entire person not just a single skill, that the experience of nature can still transform our lives. Goethe’s writing and the work of his contemporaries remind us that the beauty of poetry and philosophy outlasts the political maneuvers of courtiers and adventurers. At the same time, Re-Orientations around Goethe provides us with the occasion to explore the long history of our own era by discovering that many contemporary debates about the environment, media, scientific knowledge, global politics, gender, and sexuality also had their place in the eighteenth century.

Submissions for papers and panels have already started arriving, so I urge you to send your 200-word proposals by April 15 to goethesociety-l@lists.psu.edu. See the Call for Papers here.

Heidi Schlipphacke, John Smith, and I will organize the papers into panels by the end of May so that everyone has ample time over the summer.

The Goethe Society has just recently allocated funds to reimburse travel costs for select graduate students, non-tenure track scholars, and foreign academics who present a paper at the conference. This is a new program, so please let your students and colleagues know that they can request such support when they send in their proposals by including a travel budget.

In addition to panels of academic papers on Friday and Saturday, we will also hold a dissertation workshop, organized by the Goethe Society’s Vice President, Catriona MacLeod. This workshop has been very successful over the past conferences as it has provided students with supportive peer responses, while introducing new colleagues to the Society. Please let your students know that their chapter proposals are welcome.

Along with the panels of Society members, two familiar and renowned Goethezeit scholars from Germany will provide keynote addresses. We are very pleased that Helmut Schneider, Professor emeritus from the Universität Bonn, and Eva Geulen, director of the Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung and Professor at the Humboldt-Universität in Berlin, will speak to us.

Fall is a beautiful time in Central Pennsylvania. The Penn State campus is easily accessible by automobile, bus, and air travel. The local University Park airport (SCE) is ten minutes from the university and it provides connections to major hubs in the Northeast. Rooms have been set aside at the Nittany Lion Inn on campus, and other arrangements are being made as you read this. We can’t wait to see you in November.

Daniel Purdy
Pennsylvania State University

From the Vice President

Call for Goethezeit dissertation

In order to encourage and support research in the Age of Goethe, the Goethe Society of North America organizes dissertation workshops at its international Atkins conferences, held every three years. As you know, this year’s conference will be held in State College, PA.

Participating students, who are selected on the basis of their dissertation prospectus and a letter from their adviser, are all awarded a Gloria Flaherty Scholarship in the amount of $500 plus a waiver of the conference fee. More importantly, they participate in panel discussions, where they are engaged in conversation by senior scholars in their field who direct comments and questions to their projects.

All applicants are expected to join the GSNA (for just $10!). Membership includes the Society’s newsletter twice each year, as well as a copy of the Yearbook of the Goethe Society of North America. See our web site for more information.

The dissertation workshop will be held on Sunday, November 5, 2017. Graduate students interested in participating are asked to submit a c.v., one dissertation chapter, and a prospectus by April 1, 2014, along with a letter from the dissertation advisor briefly evaluating the student’s project and describing its progress.

Submit your materials, and direct any questions, to Catriona MacLeod at cmacleod@sas.upenn.edu.

With this continuing commitment, the GSNA hopes to contribute to the academic and intellectual success of graduate students engaged in Goethe studies and quite possibly to identify new talent for the Goethe Yearbook and our book series.

Catriona MacLeod
University of Pennsylvania

Call for Papers: 2017 Atkins Goethe Conference

Re-Orientations around Goethe

2017 Atkins Goethe Conference
Organized by the North American Goethe Society
November 3-4, 2017
Pennsylvania State University

Send 200-word paper proposals to goethesociety-l@lists.psu.edu by April 15, 2017.

From Kant’s Copernican Revolution and France’s political earthquake to Goethe’s rediscovery of the Orient, spatial metaphors, such as re-orientation allow us to examine how art, politics, philosophy, and science were redefined in the seminal decades around 1800.

Not only does “Reorientation” invoke the important revolutions of the era, but it also encourages us to reconsider our understanding of the historical period’s distinguishing characteristics. How do we decide what the essential features of the “Goethezeit” are? By focusing on the artistic, social, and philosophic changes during Goethe’s lifetime, can we isolate the era’s unique qualities?

The spatial focus of this tri-annual Goethe Society conference leads us to reconsider the intellectual practices that caused writers to set and erase conceptual boundaries, from Enlightenment epistemology to the Romantic fascination with losing one’s way to the invention of World Literature. With an inevitable dialectical turn, the logic of spatial categories also invites us to reconsider the organization of history, so that we may find different temporalities and experiences of time by looking back.

Reorientations will expand the already burgeoning scholarship on the relationship of German culture with Europe’s expanding domination over the globe. We will encourage scholars to re-evaluate the place of German thought within the broader discourses of science, trade, and colonialism throughout the world. Goethe’s espousal of world literature is most certainly a re-orientation of media networks away from the national.

Even as Reorientations urges us to explore spatial turns within literature, but it also acknowledges that recent scholarship has also moved from the geographical to the atmospheric realm, so that meteorological and climactic concerns in poetry and prose have found a crucial new importance. By reconsidering these familiar terms we can draw connections between the culture around Weimar and our own environmental crises and informational ecologies.

Re-orientations will examine both how the era from 1749 to 1832 brought with it massive political, intellectual and artistic revolutions, but also how scholarship on this period has refocused critical analysis on questions such as the interaction of humans with their environment, or the inter-dependencies between philosophy and science. Is the reorientation of aesthetics onto Naturphilosophie also a redeployment of images and terms from religious discourse? To what extent does the increasing prominence of concepts such as “fluidity,” “porosity,” or “plasticity” give voice to a new orientation in the scientific study of nature and aesthetics?

Reorientations emboldens us to find a new understanding of Romantic irony and Idealist self-consciousness. The term speaks to Idealism’s critical self examination of philosophical consciousness: the basic notion that subjectivity is not only orientated towards the outside world, but also back onto itself so that it engages in observations about its own subject-object relationships.

Reorientations spurs us to reconcile the era’s devotion to Classical culture with modern notions of progress and advancement. We will consider how literature re-orients itself away from the conventions of established genres onto the experiences of subjectivity. How were the ends of the Enlightenment, which Kant, Lessing, and Mendelssohn considered far from attained, re-directed by subsequent generations? How were established literary genres, such as tragedy, rerouted from the misfortunes of monarchs to the misadventures of more humble individuals? How did the novel become ever more minutely concerned with the socialization of the individual? On the level of the text, Reorientations also calls attention to the sudden redirections in plot within familiar narratives, –the unexpected turn of events that reveal previously unrecognized truths.

Reorientations rouses us to consider the demise of the Holy Roman Empire and the redrawing of Central European boundaries under Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna. Reorientations speaks to the domestic politics of an era that also called for the emancipation of women, Jews, slaves. Anthropological thinkers fixated on previously unrecognized features in order to reorient the classificatory systems used to define the “human”. The era saw the discovery of childhood as well as the first formulations of racial theories organizing humans according to skin color.

We will also question the extent to which literature reflects the era’s transformation of social institutions, whereby groups such as the nuclear family were re-codified in order to fulfill specialized biological and pedagogical purposes. To what extent did the literature of the Goethezeit reorient gender identity and sexuality?

From the President

As we commence this new term in the Goethe Society, I would like to thank the outgoing officers who have worked so hard over the last years. President Clark Muenzer initiated the Society’s international cooperation with Weimar, while organizing a wonderful conference in Pittsburgh, where after the lively panels we were able to visit the Andy Warhol Museum to contemplate Goethe as a Pop Art icon. For all his service to the Society from its very inception, we thank Clark and look forward to his continued presence in our gathering. As Executive Secretary, Karin Schutjer managed the Society’s many operations, maintained a clear memory of how we had done things in the past, and proposed elegant solutions to complex questions. As the Book Series editor, Jane Brown, set the standard for Goethe scholarship in the Society’s publications. In meetings, we always looked to her for the wise recommendation, just as we were inspired by her ground-breaking keynote address at the conference. Claire Baldwin kept us all honest, up-to-date, and running smoothly as Treasurer by maintaining the membership roll and tending the Society’s endowment. As Directors-at-large, Heather Sullivan and Horst Lange wore many hats to pull off multiple feats of administration and scholarship. They were instrumental in organizing the conference and adjudicating the essay prize. As Book Review Editor, Birgit Tautz encouraged and reminded the members of their scholarly commitments. By guiding the Yearbook’s reviews, she pulled together our republic of Goethe scholars.

The Society’s offices will be filled by both new and familiar colleagues. Catriona MacLeod brings her experience in Goethe scholarship and in the Society to the office of Vice President. She will organize the essay prizes, which are now growing in number, as well as the dissertation workshop for the upcoming conference. The new Directors-at-Large, Heidi Schlipphacke and John Smith, will contribute their expertise to organizing the Society’s conference and essay prizes as well. Christian Weber will bring his disciplined focus to the position of Treasurer. We look forward to Birgit Tautz serving as Executive Secretary. Adrian Daub and Elisabeth Krimmer will continue to edit the Goethe Yearbook. Their next volume will be much anticipated. Sean Franzel steps in as the new Book Review editor. Karin Schutjer will assume the responsibilities of the Book Series. And most subtly of all, Burkhard Henke will continue directing the Society’s media operations as Webmaster and Editor of the Newsletter.

Goethe Society History

As the Society has been in existence for more than a generation and the newest members have only a distant image of the Goethe Society’s founding, we will start writing a history of the Goethe Society. Thus we will call on the earliest members to send us their written memories or photographs of the first years. If you have any recommendations, please contact me at dlp14@psu.edu.

Global Goethe Initiative

The Goethe Society will undertake a new digital humanities project: Global Goethe.

Global Goethe will ask how Goethe operates as a transnational brand. How does the name translate into cultural capital? Does the invocation of Goethe ease the barriers to cross-border dialogue?

Global Goethe will ask if the discussion of world literature as a concept and a practice has turned Goethe into a new type of icon. To what extent do references to Goethe serve to legitimate world literature as an academic discourse? How important is the illusion that Goethe as an historical figure stood outside the current system of capital, migration, and global competition? To what extent was Goethe’s own writing already defined within an international reception of culture, from Tasso and Shakespeare onwards? Our well-honed instinct to resist culture industries should not prevent our appreciation of how literary prestige helps facilitate writing and art. Nor should we presume that our present has produced the first iteration of Goethe as global icon. The global representation of Goethe has its own history.

We will consider to what extent Goethe was engaged in creating himself into an international celebrity, at least along the lines of Byron’s nineteenth-century fame. How do global allusions to Goethe go beyond the familiar legends of cultural legitimacy? Do the familiar tropes of globalization overwhelm critical engagement with Goethe’s writing? What values and ideologies does the invocation of Goethe sustain? How many different cosmopolitan invocations of Goethe can we find? Are there variations between local, national, metropolitan, and international adaptations of Goethe’s writing? How important are translations in enabling these different cultural regimes? To what extent does the global Goethe operate in conjuncture with German institutions? Can we write a history of the many different Goethes that have been given official sanction since at least 1832?

While we surely must acknowledge the ideological investment in authenticity, we would ideally like to gather together an archive of multivalent local perspectives deploying Goethe’s work. What different interpretations of Goethe are being developed across Asia, Africa, Europe, South and North America? To that end, we will start to work together with other institutions, organizations, and German scholars to develop a network of comparative studies, performances and translations of Goethe’s work.

Over the next years, we will create a digital archive of performances, translations, critiques, and visualizations from around the world so that we can develop a multifaceted critical understanding of world literature in and through Goethe’s writing. At the same time the North American Goethe Society, in conjunction with allied organizations, will develop conferences, panels, seminars, and publications more precisely defining the global implications of Goethe’s work. Most importantly we will establish collaborations with partner institutions—other Goethe Societies, and not just those in Germany—with whom we could elaborate new projects on this theme. More information will be announced in the coming months. Anyone with specific proposals or questions, please write to me at dlp14@psu.edu.

Upcoming Atkins Conference

Re-Orientations around Goethe

The next tri-annual Atkins conference of the North American Goethe Society will be held November 3-4, 2017 on the campus of Penn State University.

From Kant’s Copernican Revolution and France’s political earthquake to Goethe’s rediscovery of the Orient, spatial metaphors, such as re-orientation allow us to examine how art, politics, philosophy, and science were redefined in the seminal decades around 1800. Not only does “Reorientation” invoke the important revolutions of the era, but it also encourages us to reconsider our understanding of the historical period’s distinguishing characteristics. How do we decide what the essential features of the Goethezeit are? By focusing on the artistic, social, and philosophic changes during Goethe’s lifetime, can we isolate the era’s unique qualities? The spatial focus of this tri-annual Goethe Society conference leads us to reconsider the intellectual practices that caused writers to set and erase conceptual boundaries, from Enlightenment epistemology to the Romantic fascination with losing one’s way, to the invention of World Literature. With an inevitable dialectical turn, the logic of spatial categories also invites us to reconsider the temporal organization of history, so that we may find different temporalities and experiences of time by looking back.

Reorientations will expand the already burgeoning scholarship on the relationship of German culture with Europe’s expanding domination over the globe. We will encourage scholars to re-evaluate the place of German thought within the broader discourses of science, trade, and colonialism throughout the world. Goethe’s espousal of world literature is most certainly a re-orientation of media networks away from the national.

Even as Reorientations urges us to explore spatial turns within literature, it also acknowledges that recent scholarship has also moved from the geographical to the atmospheric realm, so that meteorological and climactic concerns in poetry and prose have found a crucial new importance. By reconsidering these familiar terms we can draw connections between the culture around Weimar and our own environmental crises and informational ecologies. Reorientations will examine both how the era from 1749 to 1832 brought with it massive political, intellectual, and artistic revolutions, but also how scholarship on this period has refocused critical analysis on questions such as the interaction of humans with their environment, or the inter-dependencies between philosophy and science. Is the reorientation of aesthetics onto Naturphilosophie also a redeployment of images and terms from religious discourse? To what extent does the increasing prominence of concepts such as “fluidity,” “porosity,” or “plasticity” reflect a new orientation in the scientific study of nature and aesthetics?

Reorientations emboldens us to find a new understanding of Romantic irony and Idealist self-consciousness. The term speaks to Idealism’s critical self examination of philosophical consciousness: the basic notion that subjectivity is not only orientated towards the outside world, but also back onto itself so that it engages in observations about its own subject-object relationships.

Reorientations spurs us to reconcile the era’s devotion to Classical culture with modern notions of progress and advancement. We will consider how literature re-orients itself away from the conventions of established genres onto the experiences of subjectivity. How were the ends of the Enlightenment, which Kant, Lessing, and Mendelssohn considered far from attained, re-directed by subsequent generations? How were established literary genres, such as tragedy, rerouted from the misfortunes of monarchs to the misadventures of more humble individuals? How did the novel become ever more minutely concerned with the socialization of the individual? On the level of the text, Reorientations also calls attention to the sudden redirections in plot within familiar narratives—the unexpected turn of events that reveals previously unrecognized truths.

Reorientations rouses us to consider the demise of the Holy Roman Empire and the redrawing of Central European boundaries under Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna. Reorientations speaks to the domestic politics of an era that also called for the emancipation of women, Jews, and slaves. Anthropological thinkers fixated on previously unrecognized features in order to reorient the classificatory systems used to define the “human.” The era saw the discovery of childhood as well as the first formulations of racial theories organizing humans according to skin color. We will also question the extent to which literature reflects the era’s transformation of social institutions, whereby groups such as the nuclear family were re-codified in order to fulfill specialized biological and pedagogical purposes. To what extent did the literature of the Goethezeit reorient gender identity and sexuality?

In the end, a Goethe conference focused on Reorientations will find new objects of study, so that we may develop new viewpoints on familiar and well-established questions of the Goethezeit. It encourages us to look back for a sense of direction in overcoming the contradictions and dead ends in our own era, while also raising the expectation that we permit the present to set a new course in Goethe Studies.

Reorientation contains within itself a tension, even a contradiction, which we wish to exploit. On the one hand, it refers to the act of returning to one’s original path as a response to the ways in which modernity has led us astray, so that we might rediscover stable means of engaging with society, nature, and art. On the other, reorientation urges us to revive the Goethezeit’s revolutionary aesthetics, politics, and philosophy.

Please submit paper (250 words) and panel proposals to Heidi Schlipphacke, heidis@uic.edu, and John Smith, jhsmith@uci.edu, by April 15, 2017. Decisions about submissions will be announced by May 15, 2017.

Daniel Purdy
Pennsylvania State University

From the President

After more than two years of planning, the 2014 Atkins Conference in Pittsburgh is quickly approaching. With the unflinching support and tireless work of our directors, Heather Sullivan and Horst Lange—who along with me have designed our program—as well as with Burkhard Henke’s technical and aesthetic expertise, everything is now falling into place. Please, therefore, think of this message to you as my last “breathless” invitation to join the festivities in Pittsburgh.

The final program will be posted on the conference website in just a day or two, so take the time to review it and complete your personal schedules. They are sure be filled with events that will edify and entertain. At the top of the list are our two keynote addresses by our two distinguished colleagues Jane K. Brown and Anne Bohnenkamp-Renke, whom we will also honor with Life Memberships to the Society. But to launch things on Thursday evening after our Annual Business Meeting we are hosting a gala reception with enough food and drink (at least for most of us) to make a late dinner unnecessary. And for those arriving in the afternoon, after picking up your registration packets at the Wyndham Hotel, please consider taking the five-minute walk to the University Library to inspect an exhibition of rare books, manuscripts, and Goetheana in the Special Collections Department on the third floor, where you can also visit a display of books by members. Friday and Saturday, of course, will be the talks. In addition to the Keynote Addresses, these will include our Presidential Forum with Ellis Dye, Simon Richter, and Astrida Tantillo speaking to “Goethe and the Humanities Today” and some twenty panel with sixty papers, courtesy of you.

About seventy-five people have already signed-up for the final event on Saturday evening at the Andy Warhol Museum, but you still have a few days to buy a ticket on the conference website, if you don’t want to be alone in your room at the hotel. In addition to drinks and food, we will nourish you with full access to all seven floors of the museum, just for our group, as well as a display of all five of Andy’s Goethe-serigraphs and an animation installation entitled “The Poodle Arrives.” If you haven’t heard already, we are providing bus transportation from the Wyndham, but all that information and more is in the “Program.”

I’ll have to leave you now to check menus, rooms, and student workers. If all goes as planned, they will be the people wearing conference t-shirts who can help you out and answer your questions.

Have safe journeys all to Pittsburgh. We’ll be seeing each other in just over a week!

Clark Muenzer
University of Pittsburgh

Book Display

Book Display at the 2014 Atkins Goethe Conference in Pittsburgh

The conference organizers invite all attendees and all members of the society of the GSNA to send us any of your relevant monographs or volumes that you would like to display at our 2014 conference in Pittsburgh. We will have a publications display at the conference and would be delighted to include your books, especially any recent publications.

If you would like to participate in the book display, please complete the following 3 easy steps:

1) Send an email to the organizers indicating your wish to participate: Horst Lange <hlange@uca.edu>; Clark Muenzer <clark.muenzer@gmail.com>; Heather Sullivan <hsulliva@trinity.edu>.

2) In that email include information about whether you wish to pick up the books at the end of the conference, sell them to anyone interested (include price), or donate them to the GSNA.

3) Send copies of the books you wish to display to Clark at the following address:

Dr. Clark Muenzer
University of Pittsburgh
Department of German
1409 Cathedral of Learning
Pittsburgh, PA 15260

Thank you, and we look forward to seeing your works–and you–in Pittsburgh!

Heather I. Sullivan
Director-at-Large

From the President

Das Römische Karneval ist ein Fest, das dem Volke eigentlich nicht gegeben wird, sondern das sich das Volk selbst gibt.

Mark this date on your calendar!

OCTOBER 23-26, 2014:
ATKINS GOETHE CONFERENCE

Not quite three years ago we gathered in Chicago for our second international conference, which Mr. Stuart Atkins generously endowed in honor of his parents, Lillian and Stuart P. Atkins. With Mr. Atkins’s continuing generosity, as well as additional support from the University of Pittsburgh, we will gather for the second time in six years in Pittsburgh to convene the Goethe Atkins Conference again—in the spirit of Goethe’s characterization of the Roman Carneval—as a festive event of intellectual exchange that our community of North American Goethe scholars organizes for itself.

At the end of this note you can find links that will take you, virtually for now, to the conference site. So if you have not already, please go there to (1) submit a proposal for a paper and/or a panel by APRIL 1; (2) submit a proposal for the dissertation workshop, also by APRIL 1; (3) register for the conference AS SOON AS POSSIBLE; and (4) register at the conference hotel by AUGUST 1. (NB: There are other university events that weekend that would gladly use the rooms we’ve reserved, so I strongly recommend that you make your hotel reservations as soon as you are sure that you plan attending!)

We are looking forward to organizing as many as twenty sessions for Friday and Saturday. And while the flow of electronic submissions of proposals has begun, there is still time to prepare and submit one by the April 1 deadline. I urge our graduate student members who are dissertating to submit their proposals as well. With this work then complete, Heather Sullivan, Horst Lange, and I will move quickly ahead with the task of choreographing the contributions into an exciting program.

Beyond the usual array of sessions, we will feature two eminent keynote speakers, Jane Brown of the University of Washington, Seattle, and Anne Bohnenkamp-Renken of the Freies Deutsches Hochstift in Frankfurt. And we will continue for the third time, with the help of Daniel Purdy, to organize the highly successful Dissertation Workshop, as well as the Presidential Forum, where Astrida Tantillo, Ellis Dye, and Simon Richter will exchange views on the current (or perpetual) crisis in the humanities from a Goethean perspective. Finally, I am still working to convene a roundtable discussion or workshop with representatives of international Goethe Societies and other cultural institutions in order to discuss projects of cooperation, as well as exchange views on how best to foster our shared mission as mediators of Goethe and his Age across national borders.

In addition to all the “serious” events, there will also be ample opportunity in Pittsburgh to gather as friends and celebrate our shared scholarly passions. We will be providing useful information about the city’s cultural resources and restaurants on the conference website, but I can already mention three events on the program that I think you’ll want to attend. The opening reception will be held early Thursday evening on the University campus near the conference hotel. So please plan your flights accordingly. There will be plenty to eat and to drink there, but for those who are still hungry, you will be close to an array of restaurants that serve the university communities in this part of the city. I also hope that you will have time during your stay to visit an exhibition of rare books and other Goetheana in the Special Collections Room of the Hillman Library that I am putting together. Its provisional title is “Reading Goethe and Goethe as Reader.”

On a final, celebratory note, I’m excited to report success in locating our conference banquet on Saturday evening in the Andy Warhol Museum. So please be sure to book your return flights on Sunday and not before! I’ve already acquired funds to help underwrite this event, which will include an exhibition of all the Goethe serigraphs by Warhol, as well as some comments on this familiar image by the Museum Director, Eric Shiner. We will have the entire museum to ourselves for a few hours, and plans for a small Goethe installation at the museum are currently under discussion with a younger artist who has Pittsburgh roots.

I hope to see many of you this fall, which is a lovely season in this region west of the Alleghenies. You will, I am sure, find our city and campus welcoming. If you attended one of our events in Pittsburgh or Chicago, you know how lively and enjoyable they can be. If you did not, please think about beginning your triennial trek to the Atkins Goethe Conference this October.

Auch schmeicheln wir uns, solchen Personen zu dienen, welche dem Römischen Karneval selbst einmal beigewohnt und sich nun mit einer lebhaften Erinnerung jener Zeiten vergnügen mögen; nicht weniger solchen, welchen jene Reise noch bevorsteht und denen diese wenigen Blätter Übersicht und Genuß einer überdrängten und vorbeirauschenden Freude verschaffen können.

_______________________________

Visit the 2014 Atkins Conference web site!

See especially the tabs on

Submit a Proposal
Dissertation Workshop
Hotel Reservation
Registration will open soon

Clark Muenzer
University of Pittsburgh

2014 Atkins Goethe Conference

Imagining Worlds: Aesthetics and its Institutions in the Age of Goethe
University of Pittsburgh, 23-26 October 2014

The Goethe Society is delighted to announce the 2014 Atkins Goethe Conference, to be held in Pittsburgh next year.

Learn more about the conference.

We are soliciting papers of 20 minutes, as well as proposals for panels, that address the wide range of cultural, scientific, philosophical, and socio-political practices during the Age of Goethe that imagined and constructed meaningful worlds. The goal of the program is to consider the various ways that Goethe and his contemporaries understood and used aesthetic categories across the range of disciplines, as well as the impact of their work on aesthetic theoreticians and practitioners from the 19th through 21st centuries. We want to organize sessions that consider not only the nature of art, but also the theoretical and institutional roles of art and aesthetics in the construction of nature and science, self and society, culture and politics, etc. Papers/panels might address:

  • Topics in the fine arts (music and opera; dance; theater; painting, drawing, and sculpture; architecture; gardens) or decorative arts
  • Art as a literary motif
  • The aesthetics of genre in Goethe and his contemporaries
  • Aesthetic self-fashioning and aesthetic education in Weimar
  • The role of oppositional aesthetic categories in constructing social and political spaces (the beautiful vs. the sublime, the ugly, or the grotesque; harmony vs. carnival or chaos; purity vs. corruption or pollution; etc.)
  • Critiques of aesthetic categories and institutions from the 18th-21st centuries
  • Nature and Art: continuities and discontinuities
  • Cultural institutions (collecting; collected works; museums; schools; libraries; the theater; reading; salons; publishing; etc.)
  • Aesthetic sociality (Geselligkeit): conversation and epistolary correspondence
  • Festivities as socio-aesthetic form
  • Representation (image; metaphor; symbol and allegory; representing affect), including representations of Goethe in art from the 18th century to the present

To be considered, please submit a proposal (250 words) by 1 April 2014.

Direct any inquiries to Clark Muenzer.