[UPDATE] Happiness in German Contexts, deadline approaching 12/17, 2/26 - 2/28

full name / name of organization: 
University Of Virginia

The Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures and the Corcoran Department of History of the University of Virginia present

The 17th Annual German Graduate Studies Conference
An die Freude: Approaching "happiness" in German contexts
February 26-28, 2010
Keynote Speaker: Professor Jeffrey High
(California State University, Long Beach)

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

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 Roessler
University of Virginia German Department
521 New Cabell Hall, P.O. Box 400125
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4125
Fax: 434-924-6700