The Future of Philology - 11th Annual Graduate Student Conference, Columbia

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Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, Columbia University


11th Annual Graduate Student Conference 2012

Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, Columbia University February 24-25, 2012

Philology in the emphatic sense is undergoing a renaissance within the humanities. This revival of the "core competencies" of literary studies bespeaks a newfound awareness of the status and relevance of literature and language studies among other disciplines. We will explore these currents as possibilities for interdisciplinary research rather than just as counter-trends to it.

Three tendencies can be distinguished within this recent development:

(1) a broadening of the thematic and methodological scope that points to a movement away from the text itself. By this we mean not only the emergence of cultural and media studies, but also the department's function as an outpost of continental philosophy and a testing ground for questions not yet ascribed to specific disciplines.

(2) a recent focus on the old core competencies of philological work and research that point to a return to the text, such as edition philology, the study of the materiality of texts, archival studies, narratology, and genre theory.

(3) an increasing historical and praxeological self-reflection of the discipline itself. As products of the nineteenth century, modern language philologies emerged as politically charged national philologies whose residual nationalism demands critical attention.

We are not simply confronted with a return to traditional values and a turning away from interdisciplinarity. Philology does in fact have something to offer to other disciplines. In light of all these differing tendencies, what are the common boundaries of the discipline? Have these boundaries reached a degree of permeability that threatens the cohesion of the field itself, or might this apparent diversification prove to be a force of consolidation? Can these currents contribute to each other? And can other disciplines learn from philological research methods?

We encourage submissions from all language and literature departments, as well as other fields within the humanities and social sciences. Reflections on the profile of the discipline of philology are as welcome as presentations that exemplify new thematic and methodological currents and their position within the field.

The conference will be held at Deutsches Haus at Columbia University in the City of New York on Friday and Saturday, February 24-25, 2012. The keynote speaker will be announced in the near future.
Please submit a 300 word abstract for a 15-20 minute paper by December 16, 2011, to:

Topics may include but are not limited to:

- Edition philology and editorics
- Philology and the archive
- Philology and notational iconicity
- Philology and genre theory
- The materiality of text
- Praxeology
- The history of philology
- Metatheoretical and metaconceptual outlooks on the field
- Philology and interdisciplinarity

Conference organizers: Hannes Bajohr, Benjamin Dorvel, Vincent Hessling, Tabea Weitz 

Columbia University

Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures
414 Hamilton Hall

1130 Amsterdam Avenue

New York, NY 10027