Category Archives: Panels

From the Executive Secretary

As I am stepping down as Executive Secretary, I’d like to thank all members for the always constructive cooperation. And, of course, as we are looking forward to the Atkins Goethe Conference at PSU, I don’t want to forget to mention our excellent panels at the GSA in Atlanta: two on Goethean thought, organized by Michael Saman and Fritz Breithaupt, and one on Semiosis and Poiesis in the Age of Goethe (1750–1830), organized by Christian Weber.

The next call for proposals is coming up soon: 1 December 2017, for MLA 2019.

Birgit Tautz
Bowdoin College

Call for Papers: Network Panel at ASECS 2018

German-Language Networks Transformed

Organizer: Birgit Tautz, Bowdoin College

This panel examines networked relations across Europe, along the Atlantic rim, and across the oceans, as they manifest in German-language texts and “cultural products,” as well as importations into German culture. The panel investigates and presents methods and approaches that decidedly move away from a national focus and the dominance of national authors/canons. Instead, it is interested in multi-directionality and patterns of resonance, rather than causal impacts. Papers therefore chronicle obscure and often diffuse traces of the global that surface regionally and locally and across a range of media. Contributions may include but are not limited to artists networks and networks forming around certain writers; orality v. literacy in the salon; fake and real translations; traded/stolen/adapted texts; religious repercussions/structures in secular text; tourism and explorations.

Abstracts of 200 words and very short biographical information (100 words) no later than September 15, 2017 to Birgit Tautz at


Call for Papers: Panels at ASECS 2018

The Fate of Popular Literature within and beyond the Goethezeit

Organizers: Christopher Chiasson, Graduate Student, Indiana University,, and Anita Lukic, Lecturer, University of Pittsburgh,

Responses to Ian Watt’s The Rise of the Novel and work by Robert Darnton and Peter Brooks have directed attention to best-selling literature in Britain and France, but the topic remains understudied in other contexts. The German case is particularly relevant for exploring Franco Moretti’s contention that readers decide what becomes canonical, as the divergence between eighteenth-century popularity and current canonicity could hardly be greater: Iffland and Kotzebue were the most popular dramatists of the Goethe Era, not Lessing, Goethe, or Schiller; authors such as Pestalozzi, Salzmann, and Lafontaine wrote novels that out-sold Moritz and Wieland. Popular poets such as Johann Gleim and Wilhelm Müller have only remained canonical insofar as composers set their poems to music, in contrast to Novalis or Hölderlin. Moreover, canonical authors often enjoyed their greatest popular successes in genres that are now held in low esteem. Does Moretti’s thesis need to be revised given this disjunction? Can Darnton, Brooks, or Catherine Gallagher contribute to our understanding of German best-sellers? Papers addressing maligned or peripheral authors, works, or genres are encouraged, as well as those considering the institutions of canonization. So-called “minor” literatures and comparative perspectives are also welcome.

250 words abstract by September 15.


Goethe and the Visual Arts

Organizer: Matt Feminella, Assistant Professor, University of Alabama,

Goethe’s fascination with and commitment to the visual arts remains an enduring feature of his oeuvre. From painting and sculpture to architecture and the performing arts, Goethe’s theoretical works engage with a remarkably wide array of visual media, and these art forms also make frequent appearances in his novels and plays. This panel seeks new responses to Goethe’s intervention in discourses on the visual arts. While we invite contributions from scholars working within German Studies, we particularly welcome contributions that address this topic comparatively, as well as from the perspective of other disciplines (including but not limited to history, art history, philosophy, design, etc.) With this panel, we seek to expand upon the discussion initiated by the Goethe Society of North America in a recent special section of the Goethe Yearbook.

250 words abstract by September 15.


Material Culture Studies and Eighteenth-Century Germany

Organizer: Karin Wurst, Professor, Michigan State University,

Things loom large in eighteenth-century culture. We see the emergence of the lifestyle magazine such as the Journal des Luxus und der Moden that introduces and depicts fashionable furniture, decorative objects and dress to a broad readership. Household books allow glimpses at coveted objects and their place in the household economy. Collecting was no longer limited to the elites. Toys and picture books entered the nursery. Not only writers saw themselves in “conversation with things” (Goethe 1786), but the general interest in objects of material culture including the visual arts reshapes the relationship between the self and the environment.

British material culture studies and visual studies engage in vibrant theoretical discussions that could further stimulate the discussion in the German contexts. We seek contributions that explore the theoretical debates or the role of things in literary or theoretical texts, in periodicals, inventories, autobiographical writings, and letters. Questions could explore the implications of the new material landscape on the domestic sphere, on our understanding of gender roles, or on our view of childhood. How does the interest in things shape the relationship between everyday culture and high-culture? How does it influence consumption practices? We also welcome papers on comparative aspects in methodology and material cultural practice.

300 words abstract and a short bio by September 15.


Other Calls for Papers at ASECS 2018

Call for Papers: Joint Panel at MLA 2018

The Goethe Society of North America and the MLA forum on Comparative Literature and Culture Studies of the 18th century invite proposals for the following collaborative panel:

New Philology, Media Ecology

This panel invites papers that engage media philology (Medienphilologie) and/or media ecology in their relation and application to 18th-century literary texts. What is media philology? Why is the nexus of philology and media of current interest? Why does the Anglo-American world embrace media ecology rather than philology? And what are the unique contributions of media philology and media ecology, respectively? All approaches addressing these questions are welcome, particularly in relation to media and mediality, intermediality, the archive, philology and antiquarian studies, and disciplinary boundaries within the Humanities.

1-page abstracts by March 15, 2017, to Birgit Tautz at and Nicholas Rennie at


Call for Papers: MLA 2018

Panel sponsored by the Goethe Society of North America, proposed by Fritz Breithaupt (University of Indiana)

Goethe’s Narrative Forms

Given Goethe’s sense of style and his many astounding insights, it is easy to forget Goethe the story-teller. Narratives are everywhere in Goethe’s work, including his poetry that is rich in implicit narratives. But what are the larger or smaller narrative patterns that emerge from his stories? What is his (implicit) theory of narrative events in Die Novelle but also his dramas? What are the specific ways the perspectives of characters make up stories in Goethe’s texts? How do suspense, doubt, ambiguity, and plurality of possible versions establish the narratives in his texts? What role does retrospection and framing play? Which affects structure the plot lines? What is the narrative interplay between the every-day life and the exceptional mental states of the characters?

Please send abstracts of approx. 1 page and bio blurb to Fritz Breithaupt at by March 17.


From the Executive Secretary

Greetings from Maine (where we have another gorgeous fall)!

Writing this note, I am still inspired by the great panels on “Goethe and Play” at this year’s GSA (organized by Elliott Schreiber and Edgar Landgraf). But it is already time to think ahead to next year! GSA will meet in Atlanta, October 5-8, 2017. Please send me proposals for GSA panels no later than November 15th, 2016!

Meanwhile, we can look forward to two exciting panels at the MLA 2017: one, on “Goethe and Refugees,” organized by Karin Schutjer and me, and one on “What Goethe Heard,” organized by Mary Helen Dupree in collaboration with the Executive Committee on 18th and early 19th century literature. Panel proposals for MLA 2018 will be due December 1st, 2016!

Informal discussions at GSA suggested that there are many ideas for new initiatives, as well as questions and suggestions, hibernating among you! Please send all of them my way, including but not limited to new programming, ideas on recruiting more members, collaboration and support. Email me at

Best wishes, Birgit

Birgit Tautz
Bowdoin College

2016 GSA Panels

Special GSNA Sessions at the Annual Meeting of the German Studies Association
San Diego, Sept. 29-Oct. 2, 2016

Organized by Edgar Landgraf and Elliott Schreiber

Goethe at Play: Theories, Narratives, and Practices of Play in the Goethezeit (1)

Moderator: Elliott Schreiber (Vassar)
Commentator: Edgar Landgraf (Bowling Green)

  1. Ian McNeely (U of Oregon), “Kant for Kindergarteners: The Pedagogy of Play during the German Educational Revolution”
  2. Christiane Frey (NYU), “The Games of the Rule: Knowing and Playing 1799/1800”
  3. Nicholas Rennie (Rutgers), “Play with Memory: Faust
Goethe at Play: Theories, Narratives, and Practices of Play in the Goethezeit (2)

Moderator: Nicholas Rennie (Rutgers)
Commentator: Nicole Calian (U of Washington)

  1. Patricia Simpson (U of Montana), “Playthings: Goethe’s Favorite Toys”
  2. Elliott Schreiber (Bowling Green), “Literary Fairytales and Imaginative Play (Goethe, Tieck, Andersen)”
  3. Michael Powers (Tufts), “Play, or the First Poetry”
  4. Christian Weber (Florida State), “Erotic Play in Poetry: Uz, Klopstock, Goethe”
Goethe at Play: Theories, Narratives, and Practices of Play in the Goethezeit (3)

Moderator: Michael Powers (Tufts)
Commentator: Christian Weber (Florida State)

  1. Sam Heidepriem (U of Michigan), “Free Play in Kant, Schiller, and Poststructuralism”
  2. Christoph Rauen (U Kiel), “Das Spiel als Modell autonomer Kunst um 1800 (Nicolai, Musäus, Schiller, Goethe)”
  3. David Martyn (Macalester), “Authorship as Play: Schleiermacher’s Translingual Poetics”


From the Executive Secretary

I am delighted to continue my work for GSNA as your new executive secretary!

Let me start with many thanks: to Karin Schutjer, for doing such a marvelous job and helping along the transition, everybody at the executive committee and particularly Burkhard Henke for helping me keep deadlines and disseminate information. Thanks to all of you for sending me ideas, suggestions, and conference panel proposals – but please no books or reviews. Please send them to Sean Franzel, who is doing a marvelous job.

The call for panel proposals for MLA 2017 has gone out already, but here is a list of current and upcoming deadlines:

  • ASECS, 15 March 2016 for the 2017 convention
  • GSA, 15 November 2016 for the 2017 convention
  • MLA, 1 December 2016 for the 2018 convention

For the 2016 GSA, Elliott Schreiber and Edgar Landgraf have arranged an impressive series of panels on Goethe at Play. Three panels, sponsored by our society, have been submitted to the program committee. You can see details below. Clearly, we’ll be well represented in San Diego!

In the meantime, happy spring and please do not hesitate to contact me!

Birgit Tautz
Bowdoin College

Call for Papers: 2017 MLA

Panel sponsored by the Goethe Society of North America, proposed by Karin Schutjer (University of Oklahoma) and Birgit Tautz (Bowdoin College)

Refugees, Migrants, and Exiles in the Age of Goethe

This panel examines figurations, metaphors, and constellations of displacement, engaging with questions of belonging, home, and escape, broadly construed. Papers may explore these questions in Goethe’s as well as contemporaries’ works. While we consider biographical approaches, we are particularly interested in fictional, psycho-geographical, and historical treatments, including, for example, adaptation and reception of antiquity or the Bible, French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars, the Grand Tour, or resettlement due to environmental change, colonization or development projects.

1-page abstracts by 1 March to and

From the Executive Secretary

With the annual meeting of the German Studies Association fast approaching, know that we will once again be hosting a cash bar in conjunction with our annual business meeting. If you’re attending the GSA, please plan to join us at 6:30 pm on Saturday evening in the Arlington Ballroom Salon 2 Foyer. The business meeting will begin around 6:50 pm in Salon 2. We’ll be saying a fond thank you to the officers who are ending their terms this year, will announce our election results, honor the recipient of the 2014 Essay Prize, and report on exciting new ventures and ideas for the future.

Karin Schutjer
University of Oklahoma

2015 GSA Panels

Special GSNA Sessions at the Annual Meeting of the German Studies Association
Washington, DC, October 1-4, 2015

Goethe’s Integration of Art and Science

Moderator: Clark Muenzer, University of Pittsburgh
Commentator: Frederick Amrine, University of Michigan

  1. “Goethe’s Epistemology of Love,” Arthur Zajonc, Amherst College
  2. “Organicist Aspects of Schenkerian Thought,” Jeff Swinkin, University of Oklahoma
  3. “Spiel der Phantasie: Trauer, Tanz und Therapie in Goethes Lila,” Ferdinand Bubacz, New York University


Science, Nature, and Art: From the Age of Goethe to the Present

Seminar Conveners:
Frederick Amrine, John Smith, and Astrida Orle Tantillo

Seminar Participants:

  1. Yvonne Al-Taie, Kiel University
  2. Jeffrey Champlin, Bard College at Alquds University
  3. Daniel DiMassa, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  4. Sally Hatch Gray, Mississippi State University
  5. Martha Helfer, Rutgers University
  6. Jennifer Hoyer, University of Arkansas
  7. Samuel Kessler, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  8. Rita Krueger, Temple University
  9. Alice Kuzniar, University of Waterloo
  10. Marcus Lampert, University of Chicago
  11. Charlotte Lee, University of Cambridge
  12. Seth Elliott Meyer, University of California, Berkeley
  13. Elizabeth Millan, DePaul University
  14. Howard Pollack-Milgate, DePauw University
  15. Sebastian Rand, Georgia State University
  16. Michael Saman, College of the Holy Cross
  17. Elliott Schreiber, Vassar College
  18. Alexis Smith, University of Oregon
  19. Gabriel Trop, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  20. Johannes Wankhammer, Cornell University


2016 MLA Panels

Special GSNA Sessions at the Annual Convention of the Modern Language Association
Austin, TX, Austin, 7–10 January 2016

Goethe and Cognitive Science, Cognition and Goethe

Presiding: Charlotte Lee, University of Cambridge, Murray Edwards College

  1. “The Sunlike Eye: Historicizing Cognition in Goethe and Uexküll,” Joseph D. O’Neil, University of Kentucky
  2. “Discovering the Urpflanze: Depictions of Empirical Observation in Goethe’s Botanical Writings,” Yevgenya Strakovsky, Stanford University
  3. “Cognitive Problems in Faust,” Christian Peter Weber, Florida State University
  4. “Ottilie’s Learning Disability and the Uncanny Saintliness of Deficient Social Cognition in Die Wahlverwandtschaften,” Donald R. Wehrs, Auburn University, Auburn


Cognitive Science in the Goethezeit

Presiding: John H. Smith, University of California, Irvine

  1. “Goethe and Schiller as Pioneers of Embodied Cognition,” Frederick Amrine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  2. “Phantasy and Cognition: Johannes Müller Reading Goethe,” Edgar Landgraf, Bowling Green State University
  3. “‘Des bildenden Geists werdender Werkstatt’: Hölderlin and the Plasticity of Poetry,” Charlotte Lee, University of Cambridge, Murray Edwards College


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Narratologist

Cooperative panel arranged by the International Society for the Study of Narrative and the Goethe Society of North America

Presiding: Birgit Tautz, Bowdoin College

  1. “Goethe, the Novel, and the ‘Secret Quest for Meaning,’” Karin Anneliese Wurst, Michigan State University
  2. “Narrative Solipsism in Die Leiden des jungen Werthers,” Christopher Chiasson, Indiana University, Bloomington
  3. “A School of Fiction or the Limits of Narrative: Goethe’s Unterhaltungen deutscher Ausgewanderten,” Sebastian Meixner, University of Tübingen


From the Executive Secretary

We are soliciting panel proposals for the next ASECS meeting March 29-April 3, 2016 in Pittsburgh. Please send me a brief topic description. The deadline has been extended until April 1, 2015.

If you are going to be at this year’s GSA in Washington, DC, please plan on joining us for our annual business meeting and cash bar, where we’ll be saying a fond farewell to many of our current officers and announcing incoming ones.

Karin Schutjer
University of Oklahoma

Call for Papers: Cognitive Science (2016 MLA)

Panel sponsored by the Goethe Society of North America, proposed by Charlotte Lee (Cambridge) and John H. Smith (UC Irvine)

Cognitive Science in/and the Goethezeit

Modern Languages Association Annual Convention
Austin, TX, 7-10 January 2016

A lot of work in the humanities recently has been drawn to the cognitive sciences, from the role of mirror neurons in empathetic and aesthetic experiences (Galese) to post-phenomenological interdisciplinary studies of the senses. And a lot of work on the Goethezeit has been drawn to varieties of scientific practices and to conceptions that once seemed antiquated but may actually have been all too prescient (the interrelations between the inorganic and organic, between mind and body, and between subject and object). This session would like to bring these two interests together. Building on a proposed conference on “Embodied Cognition and the Goethezeit” in Cambridge (September 2015), the session invites papers that would address such issues as the way literary and/or philosophical texts in the Age of Goethe explore cognitive processes or the way contemporary cognitive science might illuminate literary/philosophical texts; how the period looked at the intersection of mind and body; the extent to which the Goethezeit offers approaches to cognition that were not taken up by modern science but may be relevant again.

One-page abstracts by March 1, 2015, to Charlotte Lee ( and John H. Smith (

Call for Papers: 2016 MLA

Collaborative Session:
International Society for the Study of Narrative & the Goethe Society of North America

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Narratologist?

Modern Languages Association Annual Convention
Austin, Texas 7-10 January, 2016

Although constituting an innovative and influential narrative corpus, the prose works of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe are not often invoked in either the core texts of classical narratology or in contemporary narrative theory. According to Martin Swales, however, Goethe maintained a life-long interest in narrativity that significantly shaped his narrative practice. The inattention to Goethe’s work on the part of narrative theorists thus represents a significant oversight. We invite papers to consider how narrative theory can illuminate Goethe’s prose works—in particular his four novelistic masterworks Die Leiden des jungen Werthers (1774, The Sorrows of Young Werther), Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre (1795-1796, Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship), Die Wahlverwandschaften (1809, Elective Affinities), and Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahre (1821/1839, Wilhelm Meister’s Journeyman Years). We also wish to explore the ways in which Goethe’s narrative work enacts its own particular narrative theory. Possible presentations might address the following questions: How can narrative theory be productively deployed in analyses of Goethe’s works? How does an examination of his works help us to better understand the narrative conventions of the novel as they developed in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, whether in the context of German-language literature or transnationally/translinguistically? How do his prose works invite or resist narratologically inflected readings? How can insights into the narrative dynamics of Goethe’s texts enrich existing narratological  paradigms? We invite papers that either narrow in on particular narrative theoretical aspects of Goethe’s works or broaden their focus to consider Goethe’s narratives alongside the work of other writers.

1-page abstracts to and by 1 March 2015