An die Freude: Approaching 'Happiness' in German Contexts February 26 -28, 2010

full name / name of organization: 
University of Virginia, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures

The 17th Annual
German Graduate Studies Conference

An die Freude:
Approaching "happiness" in German contexts

February 26-28, 2010

We have all heard of "the pursuit of
happiness", "all's well that ends well", and "Shiny Happy
People". Happiness is treated as an allegedly on-demand commodity,
but in our age of financial and environmental crises, it seems
increasingly out of reach. What do we mean when we speak about
happiness? Does it exist? Or is it merely a word, a metaphor for an
ineffable desire?

Recent and past studies on love,
melancholy, and anguish often overshadow scholarly explorations of
happiness. This conference investigates conceptions and functions of
happiness in German and German-related contexts, posing questions
such as these: Does happiness play a role in cultural production? Is
it a poetic, social or political construct? Does happiness have its
own logic? Is its structure teleological or dialectical? In the
history of our and other nations, what has happiness meant? Possible
topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • happiness and happenstance

  • play as happiness

  • happiness in crisis

  • psychoanalysis and happiness

  • mania and depression

  • genealogy/histories of happiness

  • pursuit of happiness

  • "die laughing"

  • happy endings

  • happy-go-lucky figures

  • Glücksfall/ Glücksfälle

  • "Friede, Freude, Eierkuchen"

  • aesthetics of happiness

  • happiness and semiotics

  • Freude, Glück = happiness?

  • happiness as financial well being

  • well-wishing (Glückwünsche)

  • happiness and fate

  • religious ecstasy as happiness

  • Elysium and Schlaraffenland

  • Glückseligkeit

  • happiness and gender

Keynote speaker to be announced. Papers
will be selected based on compatibility. Presentations in
German/English should be no longer than 20 minutes. UVA graduate
students will offer accommodations. Limited travel grants may be
awarded. Please submit a 250-300 word abstract by December
17, 2009
to the conference organizers:

Gabriel Cooper and Gerrit

University of Virginia
German Department

521 New Cabell Hall, P.O.
Box 400125

Charlottesville, VA

Fax: 434-924-6700