CFP: [Graduate] The Essay as Form - Yale Graduate Student Conference

full name / name of organization: 
Nora Gortcheva
contact email: 
nora.gortcheva@yale.edu

CALL FOR PAPERS – DEADLINE 15 FEBRUARY, 2008

THE ESSAY AS FORM IN GERMAN LITERATURE, CRITICISM, AND FILM

19th Annual Graduate Student Conference in Germanic Languages & Literatures at Yale
University

APRIL 4-5, 2008
Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

Fifty years after Adorno's claim that “the essay does not permit its domain to be predefined” the
challenge to approach the essay as a form of expression is still pertinent. Rather than defining
itself in the context of genres, the essay defies categorization. The essay is open, since it strives
to be both – a form and the erosion of a form. Though the essay finds its predecessors in the
age of Enlightenment, it was not seen as an independent form of writing in the German context
until the 20th century. Its emergence is closely related to new forms of criticism on literature,
film, culture (Kraus, Benjamin, Kracauer) and the advent of “monadic” literatures (Altenberg,
Kafka, Walser, Musil).

In contrast to written essays, film essays work on several discursive levels, using image, sound
and word. Nevertheless, essay films also interrogate genre expectations and go against genre
forms. They resist narration, revise the positioning of the subject in a public domain and trace a
reflexive process of self-observation and questioning. A number of German filmmakers (such as
Alexander Kluge, Hartmut Bitomsky, Harun Farocki, Werner Herzog and Wim Wenders) have
produced works which are often described as “film essays.”

The status of the essay as form – in the context of writing and film – is still open to discussion.
We want to explore this critical potential and we invite papers which address the essay in German
literature, criticism and/or film.

Keynote Speakers:
Nora Alter (University of Florida)
Ulrich Plass (Wesleyan University)

Please email 200 words abstracts in English or German to Nora Gortcheva and Ansgar Mohnkern,
at essay2008_at_gmail.com by February 15, 2008.

Or send to:
Nora Gortcheva/ Ansgar Mohnkern
Dept of Germanic Languages & Literatures
Yale University
PO Box 208210
New Haven
CT 06520-8210

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Received on Mon Feb 04 2008 - 00:03:36 EST

cfp categories: 
graduate_conferences