Category Archives: Panels

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


2015 MLA Panels

Special GSNA Sessions at the Annual Convention of the Modern Language Association
Vancouver, 8–11 January 2015

135. Postclassical Goethe and the Pleasure of the Senses

Thursday, 8 January, 5:15–6:30 p.m., 10, VCC East
Presiding: Joel B. Lande, Princeton University

  1. “Thought and Language in Goethe’s ‘Pandora,’“ David Edward Wellbery, University of Chicago
  2. “The Scandal of Deep Time in Goethe’s Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahre,” Timothy Attanucci, Johannes Gutenberg–Universität Mainz
  3. “The Intimacy of Knowledge in Goethe’s Science,” Joel B. Lande 
206. Goethe’s Poetic Faculties and the Primacy of the Senses

Friday, 9 January8:30–9:45 a.m., 19, VCC East
Presiding: Claire Baldwin, Colgate University

  1. “Abstraction and Paraphrase in Goethe’s Study of Weather,” Alice Christensen, Princeton University
  2. “‘Ein Verhältnis, welches man auszusprechen kaum wagen darf’: On the Embodiment of Intuitive Understanding in Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahre,” Michael Saman, Princeton University
  3. “Between Art and Nature: The Pygmalion Motif in Goethe’s Römische Elegien,” Alexis Briley, Cornell University
313. “Bodies That Matter”: Corporeality and Materiality in the Age of Goethe

Friday, 9 January, 1:45–3:00 p.m., 5, VCC East
Presiding: Julie Koser, University of Maryland, College Park

  1. “Impossible Ideals: Virginity and Maternity in Goethe’s Werther,” Lauren Nossett, University of California, Davis
  2. “Bodies That Matter and Don’t Matter in Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister,” Susan Elizabeth Gustafson, University of Rochester
  3. “‘Pen Portraits’ and Salon Encounters in Berlin around 1800,” Marjanne Elaine Goozé, University of Georgia

2015 ASECS Panels

Special GSNA Sessions at the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies
Los Angeles, March 19-22

Creation and Procreation in Eighteenth-Century German Literature

Chair: Lauren Nossett, University of California, Davis

  1. “Ich will mir eine Mißgeburt vorstellen”: Miscarriages of Imagination in Eighteenth Century German Aesthetics
    (Lydia Butt, Carleton College)
  2. “Die Knochen als einen Text”: Sperata’s Story in Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre
    (Sonja Andersen, Princeton University)
  3. Body Politics and Political Bodies: Birth Narratives and the Emergence of German National Identity
    (Julie Koser, University of Maryland)
  4. Creating Things: Automata and Androids in the Long Eighteenth Century
    (Wendy C. Nielsen, Montclair State University)
The Idea of Europe in the Goethezeit

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

  1. “A Kind of Political Chemistry”: The Search for Ideal Government in Christoph Martin Wieland’s The History of Agathon (1766 / 1772 / 1794)
    (John A. McCarthy, Vanderbilt University)
  2.  German Romantic Europeanism: Union or Diversity?
    (John B. Lyon, University of Pittsburgh)
  3.  Herder, the French Revolution, and Europe
    (Greg Moore, Georgia State University)
  4. Georg Forster and the Emergence of a New Europe
    (Charles A. Grair, Texas Tech University)

Call for Papers: 2015 ASECS

Goethe Society of North America (GSNA) Session at ASECS, Los Angeles, March 2015

The Idea of Europe in the Goethezeit

Convener, John H. Smith, Dept. of European Languages and Studies, University of California, Irvine

The decades around 1800 in German-speaking countries saw major developments in the arts, society, politics, and philosophy that fostered thinking about both nationalism and cosmopolitanism. But the idea of “Europe,” which one could say lies between those two poles, also became a focus. Paul Michael Lützeler explored the topic of “Goethe and Europe” in his South Atlantic Quarterly essay (2000), which we can take as a point of departure for this session. We will explore the way Europe was conceived in relation to questions of both national identity and universalism for thinkers of the late Enlightenment, Classicism, Idealism, and Romanticism.

Please send 250-word proposals to John H. Smith by September 5, 2014.

2014 GSA Panels

Special GSNA Sessions at the
Annual Convention of the German Studies Association
September 18-21, 2014, in Kansas City, Missouri

Organizer: John Lyon, University of Pittsburgh

The Poetics of Space in the Goethezeit I: Political Spaces

Moderator: Tove Holmes, McGill University
Commentator: John Lyon, University of Pittsburgh

  1. Christian Weber, Florida State University:
    “An Explosive Compression of Space: Kleist’s Anecdotal ‘Tagesbegebenheiten’ in the Berliner Abendblätter
  2. Hamid Tafazoli, University of Luxembourg:
    “Poetologische Funktion des Raumes in Goethes West-östlichem Divan
  3. Joseph O’Neil, University of Kentucky:
    “Goethe and the Spatial Trope in Political Theology”
The Poetics of Space in the Goethezeit II: Spatial Configurations in the Wilhelm Meister Novels

Moderator: Hamid Tafazoli, University of Luxembourg
Commentator: Christian Weber, Florida State University

  1. Colin Benert, DePaul University/ University of Chicago:
    “The Space of Memory in Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre
  2. Jason Groves, Yale University:
    “The Shock of the Earth: Geoaesthetics in the Goethezeit
  3. Christina Hinz, Johns Hopkins University:
    “Spatial Movements and Astronomical Formations in Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahre oder Die Entsagenden
The Poetics of Space in the Goethezeit III: Literary Landscapes, Soundscapes, and Mindscapes

Moderator: Joseph O’Neil, University of Kentucky
Commentator: Elliott Schreiber, Vassar College

  1. Tove Holmes, McGill University:
    “Viewing Spaces: Literary Landscapes around 1800”
  2. Alexander Sorenson, University of Chicago:
    “Hearing das Unerhörte: Sense and the Space of Haunting in Gottfried August Bürger’s Lenore and Heinrich von Kleist’s Das Bettelweib von Locarno
  3. Stephanie Großman and Stefan Halft, University of Passau:
    “Entering the Romantic Mindscape: Changing Concepts of Space in Eichendorff’s Marmorbild and Hoffmann’s Die Bergwerke zu Falun