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Workshop 2014-15


Term 3

Wed May 27th - Dr Jim Jordan (Warwick)

Paper: 'Narrative uncertainty and political implication in contemporary diasporic novels'

Wed April 22nd - Pia Deutsch (Warwick) and Gerhild Krebs (Warwick)

Pia will give the following paper: Negotiating Nationhood: Mediating German Identities (1988-1999)

And Gerhild’s paper is entitled: Walter Rilla and the Chances of Exile

Term 2

Wed January 14th - Dr Anna Schaffner (Kent)

Paper: "The Age of Burnout and the Pathologization of Modernity: On Past and Present Exhaustion Theories." Room H2.02, 4pm.

The specter of exhaustion appears to dominate our age. A particularly virulent form of cultural pessimism is evident in debates on the future of politics and the sustainability of both our economic and our ecological systems. Depression (which counts physical and mental exhaustion among its core symptoms), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), and burnout are now frequently diagnosed ailments. Depression affects more than 1 in 10 people in the Western world at some period in their lives; seventeen million people suffer from CFS worldwide; and burnout is one of the three most commonly diagnosed complaints in the workplace. But is exhaustion really the bane of our age, a phenomenon intimately bound up with modernity and its discontents, or have other historical periods also seen themselves as the most exhausted? This paper explores parallels and differences between past and present medical, theological and psychological discourses on exhaustion, paying particular attention to the ways in which theories of exhaustion tend to be combined with critiques of modernity.Anna Katharina Schaffner is Reader in Comparative Literature and Head of the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Kent. She is currently working on a cultural history of exhaustion.

Wednesday 18 Feb - Dr Frauke Matthes (Edinburgh)

Paper: "Die Stadt und die Welt" (Meyer, Im Stein, 20): Clemens Meyer, Singularity, and World Literature. Rom H2.02, 4pm.

Details to follow.

Term 1

Wednesday 29 October, 16:00 in H202 - Dr Kate Roy (IMLR)

Paper: "Future histories? The politics of time as duration in German-language diasporic literature."

This paper explores ideas of ‘duration’ in practice in German-language narrations of Other pasts by Emine Sevgi Özdamar (Das Leben ist eine Karawanserei, 1992), Mariam Kühsel-Hussaini (Gott im Reiskorn, 2010) and Navid Kermani (Dein Name, 2011), focusing especially on the effect of distinct understandings of duration on challenging or upholding the ‘two worlds’ dichotomy. In each case, I seek to unravel how duration intertwines these Other pasts with the German (and global) present – or how it separates past and present conclusively. In so doing, I explore both the intensive Bergsonian notion of duration, where the past is always already inherent in an ‘actual ever-present “Now”’ that generates the future ‘out of itself’ (Iqbal), and extensive ideas of duration in its (Orientalist) ‘enduring’ sense, where notions of antiquity play up ‘distance and difference’ (Said). My interest in exploring the radically different readings of duration that these German-language texts call forth is in these readings’ illumination of the texts’ respective ‘politics of the private’. Exploring the coexistence of past and present in these texts thus, I ask whether they enable us to move beyond the idea of reading the apparently (auto)biographical as an ‘autoethnography’ (Seyhan), or indeed beyond notions of ‘intact’ cultures in dialogue. Does ‘retrieving’ from these pasts resurfacing in the (German) present have the potential, as Naveeda Khan’s 2012 reading of Bergson suggests, to fashion a response to the world that ‘could introduce newness into [it]’, and indeed shape it anew?

Dr Roy will also be offering a seminar for final year students earlier on the Wednesday afternoon. Details tbc.

Kate Roy is a Martin Miller and Hannah Norbert-Miller Fellow at the IMLR. A graduate of the University of Manchester, where she completed her PhD thesis on a Deleuzian reading of the works of Emine Sevgi Özdamar and Leïla Sebbar, she has subsequently worked on aspects of contemporary popular Turkish-German writing, and more recently, with short grants from the Universities of Tübingen and Innsbruck, the Berlin State Library and the Leverhulme Trust, on Emily Ruete’s Memoiren einer arabischen Prinzessin, its ‘prequels’ and its afterlife. She was most recently a Lecturer in German at the University of Leeds. She has published articles on Özdamar, Sebbar, Ruete and Yadé Kara.

Wednesday 19 November, 16:00 in H202 - Professor Carol Tully (Bangor)

Paper: "European Travellers to Wales: Making the Minority Count."

Carol Tully is currently leading the AHRC-funded project, 'European Travellers to Wales 1750-2010, in collaboration with colleagues at Swansea University and the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies in Abersystwyth. She will talk about the project, which aims to uncover responses to Wales by European travellers, exploring in so doing issues relating to the role of minority cultures and their place in the field of travel writing. Her talk will also focus on a case study, that of Julius Rodenberg, who travelled to Wales in 1856. His reception of Wales and treatment of Welsh culture will be explored and contextualised within the parameters of the project as a whole.