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Research Colloquium

Research Colloquium 2012/13:

 

CALL FOR PAPERS

Dear All,
 
I would like to invite papers for the Germanic Studies Research Colloquium for 2012-13.In particular, postgraduate students from all institutions are warmly invited and encouraged to use this opportunity to share and workshop their research.

If you would like to propose a paper (approx 30-40 minutes) related to any field of Germanic Studies, please send a 150 word abstract to nomaguir@tcd.ie. Feel free to circulate this call to colleagues and postgrads.


 

Emma Riordan (TCD)

Tuesday 5th March, 6.30pm in room 5085 Arts Building

'Language for Teaching Purposes: A language needs analysis of non-native speaker language teachers of German':

It is understood that the non-native speaker language teacher (NNSLT) requires a high level of language proficiency to be an effective and confident professional. However, the teaching of language to NNSLTs is often neglected in teacher training programmes (Medgyes, 1999), and it is not clear what the required language proficiency of this group entails (Braine, 2010). This paper proposes that non-native speaker language teachers would benefit from language training designed specifically for them and adopts a Language for Special Purposes approach to assess their language needs. The language needs analysis focuses on non-native speaker teachers of German at second level schools in Ireland using a Mixed Methods Research approach. Firstly, a document analysis and semi-structured interview investigate language teaching experts’ and policy makers’ expectations of language teachers’ language skills. Secondly, a mainly quantitative questionnaire regarding teacher language use was sent to all schools in Ireland where German is taught to gather the teachers’ views on their own language needs. Lastly, 19 German classes given by six different teachers were observed, recorded, transcribed and analysed yielding nearly 63,000 words of spoken classroom discourse. This observational data set is used to triangulate the results of the previous research methods. It was observed from the data that teachers need to perform specific functions in the classroom that are not normally addressed in general language classes. The results highlight the importance of Language for Teaching Purposes and may inform the development of German language teacher education programmes.



Dr Rachel Mag Shamhrain (University College Cork)

Tuesday, January 22nd, 7pm, Room 4050A, Arts Building

'Department Store Kleptomania'

This paper looks at a prototypical German example of the kleptomania diagnosis in its heyday around 1900, reading the phenomenon as a means of social control of women in a period of suffragist agitation. It argues that the medicalization of women in early-twentieth century forensic psychiatric treatises, such as this one -- Leopold Laquer’s Der Warenhausdiebstahl -- was in part an attempt to curb female enfranchisement, and a reaction against the social upheavals of modernity, while establishing the credentials of forensic psychiatry, a relatively new branch of medicine.

 

The Trinity SLLCS European Studies Public Lecture Series presents a talk by

Dr Stephan Resch (University of Auckland)

Thursday, 17 January 2013, 6PM, Long Room Hub Lecture Room

'The fickle pacifist: Stefan Zweig's struggle for a European perspective during World War I'

In recent critical literature, Stefan Zweig's ambivalent position towards the outbreak of World War I has been condemned as “hypocritical” and “schizophrenic”. While in some letters and diary entries, Zweig praises the German war effort and expresses the wish to fight as an officer against the French army, there are other personal documents in which he reassures the recipients that the brotherhood of  European nations is his foremost concern. These positions appear contradictory, yet seen in the light of the contemporary intellectual reception of the war and Zweig's own artistic development, influenced by the Belgian poet Verhaeren, they were not at all mutually exclusive. I will argue, that Zweig’s attempts to apply Verhaeren’s poetic concept of affirmation to the realities of modern warfare are to be read as aesthetic rather than political writings.

 

Robin Fuller (TCD)

Tuesday 11th December at 7.30pm in room 3126 Arts Block

'Alphabetical utopia: Sans-serif typefaces in Weimar Germany'

In 1920s Germany a new style of letter emerged known as the Geometric Sans-serif. The experimental alphabets of Bauhaus designers including Herbert Bayer and Josef Albers, and typefaces such as Paul Renner’s Futura and Rudolf Koch’s Kabel were largely attempts to design a universally legible and rational style of letter, free of cultural, historical or national nuance. Nevertheless, as this paper will demonstrate, the Geometric Sans-serifs arose from the specific circumstances of German typographic culture. The Geometric Sans-serif alphabets and typefaces were, in semiotic terms, attempts to design letterforms that would function as pure alphabetical symbols without second-order signification. It will be argued in this paper that this was an impossible task – designed letters always extend beyond their alphabetical function.

 

Markus Böttner (NUIM)

Tuesday 20th November, 7.30pm, room 4096

The scope of my research is teaching and learning German in Ireland. Best (1995) postulates that we learn L2 sounds by creating categories for new sounds and by assimilating those we preceive similar to L1 sounds with existing categories. 365 Million English native speakers in over 40 countries worldwide yield a wide range of L1 categories but are being lumped together as 'English native speakers'. Irish English itself is one of the oldest dialects of English and shares more phonemic similarities with German compared to other dialects. Additionally, the language contact between Irish and English adds another layer of transfer to the acquisition of German. In my paper I intend to raise the audience's awareness of features of Irish English and Irish and their transfer on German. I believe that the awareness of theses aspects among teachers and students will play a contributory role in the successful teaching of German in Ireland.

Professor Jürgen Barkhoff, Trinity College Dublin,

Arts Building, Rm 5086, May 16th, 7.30pm

 “Der Ironiker in der Südsee. Georg Forsters Reise um die Welt als literarische Anthropologie”

Georg Forster nahm als knapp 20jähriger an Capitain Cooks zweiter Weltumsegelung 1772 und 1775 teil und verfasste danach einen 1000seitigen Reisebericht, in dem er vor allem den Kulturkontakt mit den Bewohnern der Südsee eindrucksvoll und vielschichtig schilderte. Sein Werk gilt heute vor allem aufgrund seiner behutsamen und hochreflektierten Annäherung an das ‘wilde’ Andere der europäischen Zivilisation als anthropologischer Klassiker und als einer der Gründungstexte der modernen Ethnologie. Dabei sind es genuin literarische Verfahren, mit denen Forster die Alterität der exotischen Wilden markiert, die Projektionsmechanismen des europäischen Blicks thematisiert und seine zivilisationskritischen Textfiguren inszeniert. Seine ‚Poetik des Wilden‘, die sich ihrem Gegenüber mit Respekt nähert, sich aber auch des latenten Gewaltmomentes dieser Begegnung und ihrer textuellen Repräsentation bewusst ist und poetologische Verfahren nutzt, um sie auf dieses hin transparent zu machen, soll Gegenstand des Vortrags sein.

Thomas Meinecke (German author, musician, DJ)

Wednesday, 4th April 2012, 6pm in Trinity's Neill/Hoey Lecture theatre in the Long Room Hub

Reading in German and English from his newly published translation of Tomboy .

 

Prof. Clemens Ruthner (Trinity College Dublin)

Monday, 12th March 2012, 7.30pm in room 5086,

UmgangsFormen: (k.k.koloniale) Konstruktionen des/der bosnischen 'Fremde(n)' in österreichischen Texten um 1900 (presentation in German)

Da ich mich der literatur- und kulturwissenschaftlichen Imagologie schon einmal via Homi Bhabha und sein Stereotypen-Konzept gewidmet habe, möchte ich mich diesmal quasi in einer Parallelaktion von Alteritätskonzepten her der Figur des Fremden phänomenologisch nähern.  Aus Zeitgründen ist mir freilich eine intensive Auseinandersetzung mit der inzwischen umfangreichen xenologischen Theorie verwehrt: zu nennen seien nur kurz die Namen von Julia Kristeva, Bernhard Waldenfels und Rudolf Stichweh, die mich gleichsam in die Fremde begleitet haben. 

Ich muss mich also theoretisch auf einige Kernthesen beschränken, die auf die Problematik einer literarischen Repräsentation des Fremden hinführen sollen. In einem zweiten Schritt werde ich zu Beispielen aus einer mir vertrauten literarischen Formation greifen, nämlich österreichischen Texten über das 1878 okkupierte Bosnien-Herzegowina. Dies ist eine Auskoppelung aus meinem aktuellen Buchprojekt, das analysieren soll, wie die österreichische Kultur im 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhundert – und parallel zu ihr die reichsdeutsche – die bosnische Fremde und die dort lebenden Fremden konstruierte bzw. formatierte, und so der kolonialen Zurichtung des Landes durch die Habsburger Monarchie – ihrer sog. zivilisatorischen Mission - Vorschub leistete, zuarbeitete oder ihr in wenigen Fällen auch opponierte. Erste Textbausteine zu diesem Buch sind bereits erschienen und z.B. auf der Internetplattform Kakanien revisited (www.kakanien.ac.at <http://www.kakanien.ac.at/> ) allgemein zugänglich.

Professor Stefan Neuhaus, Universität Innsbruck

Monday 23rd January, 7.00pm, Arts Building, Room 5086

Paarbildungen. Figurationen der Liebe in Gegenwartsliteratur und -film
Liebe ist von „Instabilität“ gekennzeichnet, weil sie mit größtmöglicher „Intimität“ einhergeht, so Niklas Luhmann in seiner Studie „Liebe als Passion“ (1982). Dadurch wird Liebe nicht nur „kognitiv strapaziös“, sondern zu einem Paradoxon: Die größtmögliche Selbstaufgabe geht mit der größtmöglichen Befriedigung eines egoistischen Bedürfnisses einher. Die Spannung der Interessen von Ego und Alter sind immer mehr gewachsen, angesichts der Vielzahl der Wahlmöglichkeiten der Lebensstile und Beziehungen wird heutzutage jede Entscheidung für einen Partner prekär. An Beispielen aus Literatur und Film soll gezeigt werden, wie Fiktionen Figurationen von Liebe inszenieren, reflektieren und kommentieren.

Caitríona Ní Dhúill, Durham University

6th December, 7.30pm in room 5086

From Vita to Corpus: Missing Bodies in Biography
If subjectivity is always necessarily embodied, and if the bodies of the dead are absent, what kind of encounter takes place when we engage with the traces – textual and otherwise – of their lives? Can biography – understood not only as “the story of a person told by someone else” (Hermione Lee), but specifically as a narrative about the life of someone who is no longer living – open up an intersubjective space? The paper examines the ‘rules of engagement’ governing biographical encounters, in which traces of vanished bodies are mobilised in the creation of narrative accounts. Arguing for a rethinking of the term ‘life writing’ which would acknowledge the horizon of death, I examine some of the ways in which corporeality is addressed – or suppressed – in biographical texts, from the mythographies of the George-Kreis to various postmodern metabiographies. The productive illusion which stages biography as an intersubjective encounter is shown at work.

 

Dr Cilliers van den Berg of the University of the Free State, South Africa

22nd November, 7.30pm in room 5086

Literary Discourse and Collective Trauma Narratives

This lecture proposes to give some introductory notes to a new research project at the University of the Free State. Collective trauma, or, the "empire of trauma" has become a major topic in the humanities.  Within this context there seem to be interesting structural correlations in the way in which Germany (with regards to the Holocaust) and some sections of South African society (with regards to Apartheid) deal with a "traumatic" past. Within a strict trauma construct Afrikaners are often seen as perpetrators, much like the Germans after WWII. The question is how Afrikaans literature has responded to this issue and to what extent literary discourse has any real effect on the construction of collective trauma narratives. Using such a comparative approach, much can be said about the dynamics of these narratives. 

 

Professor Desmond O'Neill (National Centre for Arts and Health at Tallaght Hospital and TCD)

Tuesday, 1st November, 6.30pm (Room 5086)

"Procrustes' Axe or Occam's Razor? Ageing, Illness and Creativity through a "Germanistik" Lens"

Narrative medicine is an evolving area of healthcare whose aim is to improve our understanding of the patient's journey through illness and health, and the multiple dialogues occurring in a physician-patient consultation, including dialogues with self, peers and society.
Great art can assist in conveying the complexity of such interactions through the force and subtlety of its metaphors, although new ways of interdisciplinary working are required to pursue these with academic rigour. Using some examples from Austro-Germanic culture, this talk will explore the opportunities and challenges of this new field, drawing on Goethe, Nolde, Grass, Lenz, Suter, Corinth, Klee, Bach, Mahler, Richard Strauss, and Schubert (with passing reference to Kant, Habermas and Gadamer, and straying as far as at least one Volga German!). Some consideration of the possibilities afforded can be gleaned from the following blogs in the British Medical Journal: Death and transfiguration, First night of the Proms, So, when do you become old?, A bloomsday brush with brilliance

Prof Desmond O’Neill is a geriatrician and stroke physician at Trinity College Dublin. His research centres on gerontology and the neurosciences, with a strong emphasis on the humanities. He is the Director of the Centre for Ageing, Neurosciences and the Humanities www.ageandknowledge.ie, and has worked with a number of cultural agencies and institutions to develop the concepts of arts, ageing and health, including the National Gallery of Ireland, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, the Irish Film Institute and the Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Dublin. He helped develop the first course for artists in health care in Ireland, has broadcast on Lyric FM (Ireland’s classical music station), and is an active contributor to the BMJ’s Medical Classics Section.
 
He is also currently President of the European Union Geriatric Medicine Society.

 

Dr Andrew Cusack (TCD)

Tuesday 31st May at 7.30pm in room 5086, Arts Building

"Karl Gutzkow and Karl von Holtei: An Unlikely Friendship in a Theatrical Age"

Paper given in commemoration of the bicentenary of Gutzkow's birth in March 1811.
The theatre occupies a distinct position in the German literary field in the period 1815-1848, as a field of experimentation where such new genres as the Liederspiel are being tried out, and as a sort of surrogate public sphere where literature is enacted before an audience rather than being consumed in solitude. At this time the theatre is struggling to expand its audience, to become a Volkstheater, a development that the forces of Restoration are largely successful in containing by censorship and other curbs on authors. In this paper I view the complex field of pre-1848 German theatre history with its bewildering array of figures through the prism of an unlikely friendship between two very different men: Karl Gutzkow (1811-1878) and Karl von Holtei (1798-1880). I examine the vagaries of the relationship between these two dramaturges in an attempt to answer the question: how useful is the critical term “theatricality” as developed by Erika Fischer-Lichte and others as a key to the 1815-1848 era?


Drs. Emmeline Besamusca (Universiteit Utrecht / Universität Wien)

Monday, 4th April, 7.30pm, Room 4053, Arts Building

"Dutch tolerance? Debating women’s voting rights in the 21st century"

Dutch tolerance may sometimes show an unexpected face. Although suffrage was extended to all women in 1919, one of the political parties in Dutch parliament continued to politically exclude women by denying them full party membership and presenting only male candidates for election. Obviously, the party’s views have been challenged repeatedly and several discrimination cases have been presented in court. But only in 2005 a court decision ruled against the party, for the first time. Why not before? And why now? Has Dutch tolerance reached its limits, as has been suggested after the political murders on Pim Fortuyn (2002) and Theo van Gogh (2004), and the current rise of Geert Wilders and his Freedom Party? I will discuss the case of the women’s paragraph of this political party in the context of the current political climate in the Netherlands.

Emmeline Besamusca & Jaap Verheul (eds.), Discovering the Dutch. On Culture and Society of the Netherlands. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2010.

Dr Nicola Creighton

Monday, 21st March, 7.30pm, Rm 5086, Arts Building
"Contingency: the great challenge of Weimar"

As Foucault observes, two discourses from the same era are more similar to one another than the same discourse in two different eras. This is because of the particular knowledge paradigm, or assumptions about the possibilities of knowledge, operating in a given era. With this observation in mind and with a focus on the discourse of art history and political theory in the Weimar Republic, I would like to present an approach to Weimar that would surpass its reductive treatment as an age of ‘glitter and doom’ or ‘utopia and despair’.

Weimar was an age of exceptional spirit of experiment: in aesthetic, ethical, political and practical ideas and in practice/action. Experiment requires openness to contingency, which is ultimately an aesthetic stance, but equally judgment, which is a political/ethical matter, on the issue of what is open for experimentation. Departing from a number of studies on modernism and on modernist and avant-garde aesthetics including Michael Makropoulos’s Modernität und Kontingenz (Munich 1997) and Inge Baxmann’s Mythos: Gemeinschaft. Körper- und Tanzkulturen in der Moderne (Munich 2000), I wish to propose, in place of the relatively neat dichotomies of older histories, a spectrum based on degrees of openness or closure to contingency. This theoretical approach can be applied to political as well as cultural material (I take aspects of Carl Schmitt’s political theory and of Carl Einstein’s art historiography as my examples). This approach allows a nuanced analysis of the discourses of the Weimar Republic and can deal reflexively with Left-Right schemas apparent in less recent scholarship.


 


 

Research Colloquium Archive:


Last updated 20 February 2013 Germanic Studies (Email).