Frontiers, Encounters: Celan and Philosophy

deadline for submissions: 
January 26, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
GSA 2018
contact email: 


GSA Seminar
Frontiers, Encounters: Celan and Philosophy
Forty-Second Annual Conference of the German Studies Association
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, September 27th-30th, 2018

Kristina Mendicino (Brown),
Dominik Zechner (NYU),

The poem must clear a way between silence and discourse. Lacoue-Labarthe

Abstract: Paul Celan’s works emerged as zones of intersection between the extremes of poetic expression and philosophical reflection. Not only have philosophers and theorists from Adorno via Szondi through Lacoue-Labarthe engaged Celan’s poems in profound and meaningful ways, drawing conceptual insight from the literary encounter—Celan’s poems themselves mark critical turns in traditional philosophical aspirations, as recently shown by Werner Hamacher, who tracked the conceptual traces and import of Parmenides, Benjamin, and Heidegger within Celan’s oeuvre. This seminar explores the ways in which the ambitions of poetic and philosophical writing meet in texts of and on Celan—pacing out his works as a borderland where the frontier between the literary and the philosophical is negotiated. We will discuss both Celan’s poems, probing their philosophical zeal, as well as their philosophical reception. We invite readers from diverse disciplinary directions to join us in approaching those liminal zones of writing and thinking that Celan so profoundly marked.

Format: We wish to solicit manuscripts of 10-15pp engaging our materials, circulated prior to conference. In session, authors will have 5-7 minutes to rehearse their main argument before entering plenary discussion. A dropbox folder containing both the manuscripts as well as primary and secondary texts will be made available in advance.

The submissions portal is open January 5th, 2018 through January 26th, 2018