Category Archives: Panels

From the Executive Secretary

Goethe Society members and friends have a great deal to look forward to at the 2019-20 GSA and MLA conferences. GSNA-sponsored sessions span a wide range of topics and approaches from Goethe’s heterodox thought and Karl Philipp Moritz’s interdisciplinarity to broader themes of realism, colonialism and decolonization. They also encompass an equally wide range of formats, including a panel, a panel series, a seminar, and a roundtable. This diverse range not only of what we are talking about, but how we are talking with one another, speaks to the Experimentierfreude that is alive and well among the community of scholars affiliated with the GSNA.

For the German Studies Association convention in Portland, Jan Jost-Fritz (East Tennessee State University) and Christian Weber (Florida State University) have co-organized a four-part panel series on “Realism in the Age of Goethe and Its Legacy,” bringing together over 20 scholars. Clark Muenzer (University of Pittsburgh), Karin Schutjer (University of Oklahoma), and John H. Smith (University of California, Irvine) are convening a seminar at the GSA on “Goethe as a Heterodox Thinker” that likewise gathers about 20 participants around a topic that attracted intense interest at last year’s GSA in Pittsburgh. Mattias Pirholt (Södertörn University) has also put together a fascinating panel for the GSA on “Karl Philipp Moritz’s Interdisciplinary Stance.” Together, these GSA sessions include participants from institutions in the US, Canada, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and Australia. For the 2020 Modern Language Association convention in Seattle, Jason Groves (University of Washington) and Ervin Malakaj (University of British Columbia) have collaborated to assemble a truly impressive roundtable comprised of 8 panelists addressing “Decolonization and the Age of Goethe.”

I want to thank each of these organizers for all their excellent and innovative work.  As a result of their hard effort, 2019-20 promises to be a banner year for the Goethe Society at both the GSA and the MLA. I hope that many of you will be able to join us in Portland and Seattle!

As always, if you are interested in organizing a panel sponsored by the Goethe Society at one of the annual (incl. regional) meetings of ASECS, GSA, or MLA, please contact me.

Elliott Schreiber
German Studies Department
Box 72
Vassar College
Poughkeepsie, NY 12604
Telephone: (845) 437-5687

Note the deadlines for submission of panel proposals.

  • GSA, 15 November 2019 for the 2020 convention
  • MLA, 1 December 2019 for the 2021 convention
  • ASECS, 15 March 2020 for the 2021 convention

We encourage all presenters to become members of the GSNA.

Elliot Schreiber
Vassar College

From the Editors of the Goethe-Lexicon

From May 2-5, 2019, the first International Workshop for the Goethe-Lexicon of Philosophical Concepts (GLPC) will be held at the University of Pittsburgh. Organized by the lexicon’s co-editors, Clark Muenzer (University of Pittsburgh) and John H. Smith (UC Irvine), this gathering of 20 collaborators from the US, England, Germany, and Switzerland, will build on the 4 GSA panels on “Goethe as a Heterodox Thinker” (which drew more than 150 conferees to its sessions last October). It also looks forward to the GSA Seminar on the same topic in the Fall, as well as the second International Workshop at Cambridge University in the summer of 2020.

The Pittsburgh Workshop will be an important step towards realizing our goal of publishing 10 entries by the end of 2019. Participants will engage in a variety of activities to address different aspects of our collective undertaking, including an ongoing conversation about the very nature of the project. The intensive, 2-day program will include:

  1. a panel discussion placing the GLPC in relation to other exemplary lexica, handbooks, and dictionaries, including the Goethe-Handbuch, the Dictionary of Untranslatables, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Mauthner’s Wörterbuch der Philosophie, Aesthetische Grundbegriffe, and Keywords for Today;
  2. a second panel, organized by our digital editor Bryan Klausmeyer (Virginia Tech), with presentations on “technical” matters, including a first look at the platform we will be using. Because the GLPC will be a dynamic reference work, we have included information science experts to introduce us to possible options;
  3. presentations and discussions of 12 sample entries that will be made available to all participants in advance;
  4. breakout sessions to discuss in small groups ideas about how the entries can be framed in general for the Lexicon. While the GLPC cannot be designed by committee, it will be productive to solicit the input of collaborators on such issues as the ideal length for entries, their style, structure, and content, as well as the kinds of Goethean concepts we want to include;
  5. a public lecture by Gabriel Trop (University of North Carolina) on “Kraft: On the Potential of a Concept”; and, of course
  6. a festive banquet!

In order to work as closely as possible with each other, we have limited the size of our workshops to 20 participants. Importantly, our selection criteria considered scholars at all phases of their careers, as well as geographical and cultural diversity. Members of the GSNA, which as one of the project’s official sponsors has provided some financial assistance, are welcome to contact the editors with their ideas and, of course, their willingness to become collaborators. A Call for the second International Workshop in Cambridge, England, will go out early next winter. Please let us know if you would like to get involved, especially if you have any experience in the digital humanities. If the last 12 months is an indication, there will be many opportunities in the future to come on board. And keep your eye on the next issue of the Goethe Yearbook, where we plan to publish 2 sample entries for the GLPC.

Participants in the Pittsburgh workshop are: Colin Allen (Pittsburgh, History and Philosophy of Science); Jonathan Arac (Pittsburgh, Humanities Center and English); Matthew Bell (King’s College London, German); Frauke Berndt (Zurich, German); Fritz Breithaupt (Indiana, German); Aaron Brenner (Pittsburgh University Library System); Daniel Carranza (Chicago, German); Eckart Förster (Johns Hopkins, German and Philosophy); Jonathan Fine (Brown, German); Bryan Klausmeyer (Virginia Tech, German); Horst Lange (Central Arkansas, German); Charlotte Lee (Cambridge, German); John Lyon (Pittsburgh, German); Catriona MacLeod (University of Pennsylvania, German); Sebastian Meixner (Zurich, German); Clark Muenzer (Pittsburgh, German); Angus Nicholls (Queen Mary’s University, London); John H. Smith (Irvine, German); Gabriel Trop (North Carolina, German); Christian Weber (Florida, German); Christian Wildberg (Pittsburgh, Classics).

The concepts for discussion are: Aperçu (Förster); dämonisch (Nicholls); Eigen-/Selbstliebe (Bell); Gleichnis (Weber); Gott (Lange); Geduld (Carranza); Gewissen (Breithaupt); Pantheismusstreit (Fine); Rhythmus (Lee); Schattenriß (MacLeod); Symbol (Berndt); and Urphänomen (Meixner).

Call for Papers: MLA 2020

Goethe Society Sponsored Roundtable at MLA 2020 (Seattle)
Organizers: Jason Groves (University of Washington) and Ervin Malakaj (University of British Columbia)

Decolonization and the Age of Goethe

This roundtable seeks to establish productive connections between the scholarship on the Age of Goethe and recent conversations on decolonization in the academy generally as well as German Studies in particular. Broadly, work in decolonization of the academy calls for an acknowledgement of the role its constituent disciplines have played in the consecration and naturalization of violent discourses. In this light, scholars like Dalia Gebrial have shown how European Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment thought was “constituted through and alongside imperialism and slavery.” Along the same lines, scholars, such as contributors to Sara Eigen and Mark Larrimore’s volume The German Invention of Race (2006), have demonstrated how 18th- and early 19th-century German cultural pundits were major contributors to various debates on race ostensibly prefiguring 19th-century race science.

Although German-speaking lands are, strictly speaking, precolonial in the Age of Goethe, its literature and art was shot through with colonial fantasies of discovery and exploration, as Susanne Zantop and others have shown. If reality caught up with the imagination, in terms of Germany’s early 19th-century colonial ambitions, was there also a decolonial counter-discourse and counter-imaginary in this age that later became realized?  Relatedly, where and how have the later writers and thinkers who were instrumental in decolonization movements drawn from writers and thinkers of the Goethezeit? At the same time, it would be important to explore how and where the legacies of this age’s colonial imagination remain both unquestioned within the academy and active in contemporary societies.

On the one hand, we are interested in seeking out critical voices during the age and on the other we are seeking out decoloniality models for the age. We particularly welcome contributions that theorize effective frameworks for grasping the intersectional complexity of power configurations in literary and visual cultures or that establish links to various intellectual traditions by way of generating fruitful pathways for decoloniality and its cultural producers. In order to include a range of voices and perspectives on an issue currently generating considerable interest in the field, this session will be organized as a roundtable. Though each presenter will have approximately 8-10 minutes, we hope that the roundtable as a whole will be more inclusive and generative than a panel.

Please send abstracts of ca. 250 words and a short bio to both Jason Groves ( and Ervin Malakaj ( by March 15, 2019. Inquiries welcome.

Call for Papers: GSA 2019

GSNA-Sponsored Seminar for the 2019 GSA Conference, Portland, OR, 3-6 October 2019
Deadline:  26 January 2019

Goethe as a Heterodox Thinker

Conveners: Clark Muenzer, University of Pittsburgh,
Karin Schutjer, University of Oklahoma,
John H. Smith, University of California, Irvine,

This seminar will explore Goethe’s unique contribution to philosophical discourse. During the 2018 GSA, four panels were dedicated to “Goethe’s Philosophical Concepts.” They launched a multi-year project, a Goethe Lexicon of Philosophical Concepts, that will provide an ongoing online and print-on-demand collection of articles highlighting the novelty of Goethe’s thought. The project is inspired in part by Gilles Deleuze’s understanding of philosophy as the “creation of concepts,” and in part by Goethe himself, who wrote: “Kein Wort steht still sondern es rückt durch den Gebrauch von seinem anfänglichen Platz eher hinab als hinauf, eher ins Schlechtere als ins Bessere, ins Engere als ins Weitere, und an der Wandelbarkeit des Worts läßt sich die Wandelbarkeit der Begriffe erkennen” (Max. und Reflex. 983). The success of the panels encourages us to gather Goethezeit scholars of all ranks to discuss Goethe as heterodox thinker against the background of philosophical doxa.

Format: Each convener will provide a short reading by Goethe or from the philosophical tradition with a brief explanation of the selection. Each participant will write a short position paper on one of the readings (500-1000 words) to be distributed in advance. Each day of the seminar, one convener is responsible for moderating the discussion.

Call for Papers: GSA 2019

GSNA-Sponsored Panel for the 2019 GSA Conference, Portland, OR, 3-6 October 2019

Realism in the Age of Goethe and Its Legacy

In a conversation with Eckermann in December 1826, Goethe expressed contempt for readers of his 1796 epic poem Hermann und Dorothea who attempted to merely uncover the reality behind poetry: “Man will die Wahrheit, man will die Wirklichkeit und verdirbt dadurch die Poesie” (Goethe HA, 2:738). This contempt for a plain realism as a trajectory for poetry with its implicit assertion of poetry’s own epistemic value, however, is not just an echo of Schiller’s earlier claim that poetry has to free herself of all historical contingencies in order to constitute a poetic truth of her own right. Encompassing both aesthetics and his idea of sciences, Goethe by contrast maintained his idea of “hartnäckige[r] Realismus” (ibid., 10:541.). The romantics’ position towards realism and idealism was perhaps more ambivalent, but they too came to favor what Manfred Frank describes as “erkenntnistheoretischen Realismus” (Unendliche Annäherung, p. 663).

The renegotiation of the relationship between poetry and reality was first necessitated by the liquidation of traditional concepts of rhetoric and allegory in the course of the 18th century; major systems of reference for poetic concepts of truth and meaning had eroded by 1800, making way for various competing schemes, which were unified, however, in their affirmative or critical stance towards idealism. Thus, Goethe’s apodictic proposition (and the conceptualization of poetry in general behind it) certainly has reinforced the alleged divide behind Weimar Classicism and Romanticism on the one hand, and 19th century literary Realism on the other in modern periodization of literary history with its claim of two distinct literary epistemologies of the two periods.

This panel explores how poets from 1800 on conceptualized reality in and of literature. We want to address questions of how philosophical concepts of realism and idealism shaped and calibrated poetic forms of realism in Classicism and Romanticism, and how these literary movements approached their own historical reality to which they certainly reacted (and which, in turn, they shaped). And, by contrast, we will ask how ‘realistic’ Realism actually is, and to what end (if at all) Realism utilizes earlier poetic strategies / models for its own constitution of poetic reality.

Please send an abstract of no more than 350 words to Jan Oliver Jost-Fritz ( and Christian Weber ( by 31 January 2019.

Call for Papers: GSA 2019

GSNA-Sponsored Panel for the 2019 GSA Conference, Portland, OR, 3-6 October 2019

Karl Philipp Moritz’s Interdisciplinary Stance

For a long time, Karl Philipp Moritz was viewed as a minor figure in German intellectual history and as a mere epigone of Goethe. Today, he is appreciated for his important role in the evolution of several disciplines: modern aesthetic theory, psychology, and pedagogy, just to mention a few. He is considered the instigator of the theory of aesthetic autonomy, the inventor of the psychological case study, and a reformer of pedagogical practices.

Lately, researchers have begun to emphasize the various intersections between these different disciplines, thus revitalizing the understanding of Moritz’s place in eighteenth-century thought. Following this trajectory, scholars are hereby invited to submit abstracts for a panel on the interdisciplinary stance in Moritz’s work. The scope of the panel is to engage more systematically with the connections between disciplines in his theoretical and fictional work. The papers should aim at combining or contrasting Moritz’s contributions to various intellectual and artistic fields, thus revealing the consistencies, tensions, and/or developments of his thought.

The following list of keywords are suggestions only and not meant to limit the scope of inquiry:

  • Aesthetic autonomy
  • Art history
  • Beauty
  • Ethics
  • Formation
  • Grammar
  • Interest and disinterest
  • Language pedagogy
  • Mythology
  • Pedagogy
  • Perfection
  • Politics
  • Prosody
  • Psychology
  • Signature
  • Theology

Please send abstracts (350-600 words) and a short bio in either English or German to Mattias Pirholt, Södertörn University ( by 15 January 2019.

Mattias Pirholt
Professor of Comparative Literature
School of Culture and Education
Södertörn University
SE-141 89 Huddinge

2018 GSA Panels

Heterodox Thinking: Goethe and the Invention of Philosophical Concepts
German Studies Association Conference
Pittsburgh, 27-30 September 2018

This series of four GSNA-sponsored panels has been organized by Clark Muenzer. It launches the lexicon of Goethe’s philosophical concepts that Clark first announced at the 2017 Atkins Goethe Conference, and promises to be a milestone event. See the invitation to participate in the project here.

Signature Concepts
Friday 10:30-12:15 (Grand Ballroom 3)
Moderator: Michael Lipkin (Columbia University)
Commentator: Michael Saman (New York University)

  1. Sebastian Meixner (Universität Zürich)
  2. Andree Hahmann (University of Pennsylvania)
  3. Margaret Strair (University of Pennsylvania)
    Gefühl, Empfindung, Einbildung

Concepts and Theories of Language
Saturday 10:30-12:15 (Grand Ballroom 2)
Moderator: Margaretmary Daley (Case Western Reserve University)
Commentator: John McCarthy (Vanderbilt University)

  1. Dennis Johannssen (Brown University)
  2. Clark Muenzer (University of Pittsburgh)
  3. John H.  Smith (University of California, Irvine)
    Geist and Buchstabe

Concepts and Prosody
Saturday 4:15-6:00 (Grand Ballroom 2)
Moderator: Jan Oliver Jost-Fritz (East Tennessee State University)
Commentator: Horst Lange (University of Central Arkansas)

  1. Simon Friedland (University of Chicago)
    Blank Verse
  2. Karin Schutjer (University of Oklahoma)
  3. Charlotte Lee (University of Cambridge)

Surprising Concepts
Sunday 12:30-2:15 (Grand Ballroom 2)
Moderator: Robert Norton (University of Notre Dame)
Commentator: Alice Kuzniar (University of Waterloo)

  1. Christian Weber (Florida State University)
    Wunderlich, Unheimlich, Ungeheuerlich
  2. Jennifer Caisley (University of Cambridge)
  3. Jane Brown (University of Washington)

2019 MLA Panel

Goethe’s International Relations: Imagining the Ausland, 1770-1832
Modern Language Association Convention
3-6 January 2019, Chicago

Organizer: Joseph D. O’Neil (University of Kentucky)
Presider: John H. Smith (University of California, Irvine)

  1. Chunjie Zhang (University of California, Davis)
    “Voltaire’s The Orphan of China (1753) and Schiller’s Turandot (1801)”
  2. Julie Koehler (Wayne State University)
    “Frau Holle Defeats King Arthur: A Conflict of Cultural Values in Naubert’s ‘Der kurze Mantel’”
  3. Joseph D. O’Neil (University of Kentucky)
    “Goethe with Sade? Principles of Republican Narratology”

Call for Papers: MLA 2019

Goethe’s International Relations: Imagining the Ausland 1770-1832

This panel welcomes papers on all aspects of the national/international, foreign/domestic, heimisch/fremd/unheimlich border in the age of Goethe, for example: representations of migration, wandering, displacement, and exile; comparative literary relations and world literature; the international or trans-regional reputation of and influences on Goethe or other figures of the age; foreignness, abroad or extimate; Orientalism and cosmopolitanism; border crossings and homecomings; translation and rewriting of or by Goethe and others across national and linguistic boundaries in that period.

Please send 250-word abstracts to Joseph O’Neil ( by March 20, 2018.

Call for Papers: GSA 2018

Heterodox Thinking: Goethe and the Creation of Philosophical Concepts

Panel 1: Philosophical Conceptualization and Goethe
Panel 2: Philosophical Conceptualization in Faust and the Poetry
Panel 3: Philosophical Conceptualization in the Dramatic and Narrative Fiction
Panel 4: Philosophical Conceptualization in the Scientific and Aesthetic Works

In Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1979), Richard Rorty gives prominent mention to Goethe as a philosophical contrarian who is situated “on the margins of the history of modern philosophy.” According to Rorty, Goethe, along with other heterodox thinkers (like Kierkegaard, Santayana, James, Dewey, and Heidegger) typically shocked systematic philosophy by waging war on its foundational principles, including the conceptual structures, or universals, that have traditionally supported it. Taking a cue from Rorty’s inclusion of Goethe in his lineage of “edifying” philosophers, this series of panels will consider the writer’s re-invention of philosophical concepts as part of his own philosophical edification (Bildung). If Goethe’s relation to the received opinions (doxa) of the professors of philosophy around 1800 was fraught, as he documents in “Einwirkung der neueren Philosophie,” (1820) it also prompted him to pursue an alternative kind of philosophical method, “durch die ich die Meinungen der Philosophen, eben auch als wären es Gegenstände, zu fassen und mich daran auszubilden suchte.”

We invite paper proposals for a series of four panels that will explore Goethe’s heterodox re-thinking of philosophical concepts.

Papers for three of the panels will focus on specific conceptual investments in Faust and the poetry, the plays and the narrative fiction, and the scientific and aesthetic works. Proposals for these work-specific papers, which we envision as “entries” in a Lexicon of Philosophical Concepts for Goethe, should explore the semantic range of a single linguistic marker. We are especially interested in examining concepts that Deleuze and Guattari call ”signed” (e.g., Aristotle’s “substance,” Descartes “cogito,” Leibniz’ “monad,” and Kant’s “condition.”) For Goethe these might include (1) signature words that he hijacked from the philosophical tradition, but that function differently for him: e.g., Subjekt, Idee, transzendental, Monade; (2) signature words that he coined: e.g., Urphänomen; or (3) signature words that he adapted for his own conceptual purposes: e.g., Polarität, Steigerung, Tat, Erscheinung, Bedingung. Beyond such “signature” words, papers might also explore (4) ambiguous words that change their “meanings” across several of his works or within a single work: e.g., Leiden, scheinen, Geist, trüb, Wahn, Schaudern; (5) coined words that shock: e.g., irrlichtilieren; (6) coined compound-words: e.g., Wechsel-Dauer or das Ewig-Weibliche; (7) everyday words that may not resonate philosophically for the untrained ear: e.g., Herz, Gefühl, Herrlichkeit, Wonne, Liebe, Form; (8) theological words, for example ewig or transzendent; (9) grammatical lexemes or syntactical units: e.g., the indirect object mir in the first line of “Mailied,” the wenn-clauses in Werther, or the preposition hinan in Faust; or (10) formal features (such as prosody) that create meanings: e.g., Knittelvers and Ottava Rima in Faust or the distich in the elegies.

In addition to papers on individual concepts we also welcome proposals for a panel on more general topics. Examples might include (11) historical dimensions of the philosophical concept within the western tradition; (12) the challenge of identifying/choosing the entries for the lexicon project for Goethe; (13) Goethe’s conceptualization of the concept (Begriff); (14) the relation of philosophical conceptualization in Goethe to metaphor and/or Bildlichkeit; or (15) the philosophical conceptualization of the literary symbol as process (Goethean Symbolik); (16) what should all entries in the lexicon project for Goethe include?

Papers should be about 2000 words in length, but should not exceed 2500 words. Please submit proposals of 300-500 words by January 22, 2018, to Clark Muenzer ( and John H. Smith ( Completed papers must be submitted by August 31, 2018.

All presenters at the GSA conference must become GSA members by February 15, 2018, see

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.