OCCT HT Week 5 Updates

Tomorrow (22 February), OCCT’s graduate and early-career conference – Translational Spaces: Language, Literatures, Disciplines – is taking place. The conference will culminate with André Naffis-Sahely reading from The Heart of a Stranger: An Anthology of Exile Literature (Pushkin Press, 2019). The conference programme and registration link is available here: https://www.occt.ox.ac.uk/translational-spaces-language-literatures-disciplines-conference.

In our next Discussion Group session, on 24 February, Emily Di Dodo (Oxford) will introduce us to the creative unfaithfulness of 'A 15th-Century Castilian Translation of Boccaccio's Decameron'. We will be meeting between 12.45-2pm, in Seminar Room 10 in the New Library at St Anne's College. No advance preparation is needed. As always, sandwich lunch, fruit and coffee will be provided. On 28 February, TORCH International Fellow Antjie Krog, Professor Nkosinathi Sithole and Professor Chris Dunton, Professor of English and Dean of Humanities at the National University of Lesotho, present the OUP Africa Pulse series and discuss translation in translated contexts. The discussion, entitled ‘African Classics: Translating texts, translated contexts’, will take place at St Anne’s in the Tsuzuki Lecture Theatre, 5.30pm - 7.30pm.

Yesterday, Jennifer Croft discussed her book Homesick, particularly her decision to write it in Spanish first, and then to start writing a version in English, and how the versions differ. This short talk was followed by a discussion with Kasia Szymanska (Trinity) on translation, Olga Tokarczuk, and other topics. The event ended with Jennifer Croft reading extracts from Homesick, and a short Q&A with the audience.


1. Queen's College Translation Exchange

Queen's College Translation Exchange, in partnership with Pushkin House, looks forward to welcoming Russian poet Galina Rymbu and her translator Helena Kernan, who will be in residence between 24th February and 15th March. Living and working between Queen's, St Edmund Hall and University College, the pair will be taking part in several events:

Meet the Poet Reading

Tuesday 3rd March
The Chapel, St. Edmund Hall

Come and listen to our poet and translator reading and talking about their work, including the opportunity to ask Rymbu about her politically-inspired poetry and Kernan's experience of translating it.

(NB this event is on the same evening as our Book Club, which is now sold out.)

All are welcome; please book your free tickets and register your interest in our Facebook event for more information, articles and reading!

Translation Workshop

Thursday 5th March
The Memorial Room, Queen's College

Led by translator Helena Kernan, participants will have the opportunity to work together on one of Kernan's translations-in-progress, discussing the pleasures and challenges of translating Rymbu's poetry. No knowledge of Russian is necessary - just a passion for languages, literature or either of the above!

All are welcome; please book your free tickets and make sure to click 'going' on our Facebook event.

Rymbu and Kernan will also be giving a talk to the Russian sub-faculty on Thursday 12th March, and doing a public reading at Pushkin House in London on Friday 13th March.


All of the events are free, but we do ask that you book in order to secure a place before they become unavailable!

If any accessibility information or adjustments are required, please email us at translation.exchange@queens.ox.ac.uk

2. Internationally Award Winning South African Poet Antjie Krog in conversation with Professor Peter McDonaldhttps://www.queens.ox.ac.uk/translation-exchange

TS Eliot Theatre, Merton College

Wednesday 26 February 2020 (Week 6); 5 .30 pm –7 pm

Followed by a Drinks Reception. All welcome! No tickets required.

How might the use of particular kinds of language change who we are? Who do we become when we read and write poetry? What happens on the page—and off it—when words join and meet in surprising and sometimes troubling ways? Can literature be relied upon to tell a truth, or will it be always found wanting? These questions and more will be the basis for a discussion at Merton this term when Peter McDonald (St Hugh’s) introduces iconic South African writer Antjie Krog to an Ox-ford audience. An author of groundbreaking works of poetry that fuse the individual with the commu-nal, the aesthetic with the political, Antjie Krog will be reading from her highly ac-claimed collections including  Lady Anne, Down to my Last  Skin, and others, as well as discussing the part language itself has to do with the way we shape individual and collective consciousness. She will be joined by Merton Visiting Research Fellow, Kirsty Gunn, in an evening that promises to open wide our ideas about the value of literature in a post-truth age. Antjie Krog’s most recent awards include The Stockholm Award from the Hiroshima Foundation for Peace and Culture as well as the Open Society Prize from the Central European University, with Jürgen Habermas and Vaclav Havel. Peter McDonald’s Artefacts of Writing was published by OUP in 2017. J. M. Coetzee called The Literature Police: Apartheid Censorship and its Cultural Consequences(2009) ‘indispensable reading’. Kirsty Gunn is published by Faber and Faber and the author of short stories, novels and essays. She is the current visiting Creative Research Fellow at Merton.

3.First Conference of the ICLA Research Committee on Literatures/Arts/Media (CLAM)

Transcodification: Literatures - Arts - Media
Department of Humanities – Excellence Program 2018-2022
July 1-3, 2020 – University of L’Aquila

Call for Papers

+++ Deadline extended until February 23, 2020 +++
The transition of narratives, characters, themes and iconic elements from one code of representation to another represents one of the most fundamental processes through which the literary and artistic fields evolve, transform, and expand within a given culture. These same processes of transcodification also play a vital role in how different cultures interact across time and space. In the classical world, mythical narratives were disseminated through the Homeric epic, the theatrical genre of tragedy and the visual arts. From the onset of Christianity to the late modern age, the history of European art has been driven by the adaptation of episodes from the Bible and other religious texts across a number of media, from painting to sculpture, from medieval plays to sacre rappresentazioni, from musical texts to folkloric practices. Fables have moved from orality to the written form; at the same time, written narratives have been circulating through oral transmission. Medieval and early modern manuscripts were illuminated; modern and contemporary texts are illustrated.

From antiquity to the contemporary media franchise, transcodification is ubiquitous.

Today, mass media and the digital revolution have changed—and are still changing—the notions of author, text, public, intellectual property and medium that were inherited from the 20th century’s critical traditions. Literature, cinema, theatre and television are now facing the multisensory logic of the contemporary mediascape, a logic based on inclusion, acceleration, simultaneity and hyper-mediation. The idea of text has expanded into that of hypertext, while narration is becoming more and more pluralistic, polycentric and antihierarchical: as proposed by Lev Manovich (2010), narratives are becoming more and more like softwares that can be endlessly rewritten and reused. Cinema is being re-articulated in the forms of the so-called postcinema, in which films become part of a larger system of converging media and cinema can be relocated outside its traditional and institutional spaces. This medium’s formal structures are being disseminated in urban spaces, thus giving birth to new forms of visuality like videomapping and media façade installations. Media may quote and thematize other media, according to the well-known concept of re-mediation coined by Bolter and Grusin (1999), thus generating what Irina Rajewsky (2002) defined as “intermedia references”. The interactivity and immersivity of videogames, augmented reality and virtual reality, as well as the transmedia and crossmedia organization of storytelling (especially in the case of TV series), also suggest a deep sense of engagement towards media hybridization and the exploration of innovative forms of textuality. Finally, the question has arisen, and is still being debated, whether it is appropriate to consider the theatre as part of the cluster of forms which, since the middle of the 20th century, have been subsumed under the general label “media”.

Given these premises, the first CLAM conference Transcodification: Literatures – Arts - Media represents an invitation to investigate the principles and practices of transcodification across time and space, as well as to discuss re-mediation as an aesthetic category which implies fluidity, fragmentation and pluralization. The conference’s main purpose is to offer an intermedial perspective on fiction and the arts taking as a starting point the insights provided by the most recent developments in comparative literature. More specifically, such an inquiry’s aim is twofold:

- historicizing transcodification, re-mediation and intermediality as both a set of practices and a set of philosophical notions;
- exploring transcodification in the contemporary (post-WWII) age and examining the new roles and configurations of literature in the global polymorphic imagination.

We encourage contributions addressing any of the following areas:

- Transcodification, adaptation and intermediality, from antiquity to today;
- Literatures and the arts;
- Transmedia narratology/transmedia storytelling;
- Philosophies of transcodification;
- Literary transcodifications: new perspectives in comparative literature;
- The dissemination of literary techniques (narration, empathy, point of view, etc.) in every aspect of contemporary culture;
- Cinema/TV series and intermediality: theoretical frameworks;
- Postcinema and new digital technologies;
- TV series and transmedia television
- Baroque/Neo-Baroque: theories, aesthetics and technologies;
- Theatre and Performance
- Digital Art: aesthetics, environments and historical perspectives;
- Inter-art studies;
- Inter/trans/crossmedial approaches to comics and graphic novels;
- Transcodification in/of videogames;
- Hybrid forms of mediality: musical theatre, video art, video clips, advertising, webseries, videomapping, media façade, etc.
Confirmed Keynotes:

Sean Cubitt, University of Melbourne / Marina Grishakova, University of Tartu / Christopher Johnson, Arizona State University / Ágnes Pethő, Sapientia University of Cluj-Napoca / Marie-Laure Ryan, University of Colorado / Rebecca Schneider, Brown University

We invite you to send paper proposals to clam2020conference@gmail.com
Proposals should include an abstract (300 words max), five keywords and a short biographical note (10 lines max).
The working language of the conference will be English.
The extended deadline for abstracts submission is February 23, 2020.
Participants will be notified of acceptance by March 15, 2020.
The conference will not have a registration fee.
The conference venue is the Department of Humanities, Viale Nizza, 14, L’Aquila.
Further information about accommodation and how to reach the conference venue will be published at www.clam-icla.com
Scientific Committee:
Massimo Fusillo, University of L’Aquila, Italy / Marina Grishakova, University of Tartu, Estonia / Hans-Joachim Backe, IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark / Jan Baetens, KU Leuven; Belgium / Bart Van Den Bossche, KU Leuven, Belgium / Kiene Brillenburg Wurth, University of Utrecht, Netherlands / Jørgen Bruhn, Linnaeus University, Sweden / Philippe Despoix, University of Montréal, Canada / Caroline Fischer, Université de Pau, France / Yorimitsu Hashimoto, University of Osaka, Japan / Karin Kukkonen, University of Oslo, Norway / Christina Ljungberg, University of Zurich, Switzerland / Kai Mikkonen, University of Helsinki, Finland / Nam Soo-Young, Korea National Univerity of Arts, Korea / Haun Saussy, University of Chicago, USA / Márcio Seligmann-Silva, State University of Campinas, UNICAMP, Brazil
Organizing Committee:
Massimo Fusillo / Doriana Legge / Mirko Lino / Mattia Petricola / Gianluigi Rossini




AGS Conference at SWANSEA UNIVERSITY, 2-4 September 2020



The next conference of the Association for German Studies in Great Britain and Ireland will take place at Swansea University, from 2-4 September 2020. The lead panel for the conference will be German Futures, Future German/ies, with a number of regular as well as one-off panels.
If you are interested in contributing a paper to any of these panels, please send your proposal directly to the email address of the convenors listed below. Proposals for papers should be 150-200 words and should reach the relevant convenors by 3 April 2020.




Lead Panel

German Futures, Future German/ies

Convenors: Anja Gerigk (Swansea); a.s.gerigk@swansea.ac.uk


Throughout German cultural and literary history, writers have thought beyond the present. Three periods seem especially rich in future-focussed creativity. Poetic fulfilment by endless progression and universal expansion lay at the heart of Romantic theory, while philosophical speculation around 1800 envisioned a course of times to come governed by teleology: history with a purpose moving towards a second Golden Age. Our panel asks whether there are traces of those aesthetics or that utopian mind-set in our own post-ideological, post-idealist era.  The surge in contributions to the futuristic imaginary in the early twentieth century belonged to prophetic or critical modernism. Between the apocalyptic ethos of Menschheitsdämmerung (1919), Döblinʼs singular epos Berge Meere und Giganten (1924) and Fritz Langʼs avant-garde film Metropolis (1927) with its blend of Christian eschatology and Marxist futurology, the prospects of civilisation took a dark turn.

However, as elsewhere in Europe, there is a more playful version of life reshaped by technical revolutions in works of popular science fiction. Paul ScheerbartʼsGlasarchitektur (1914) also paints a bright picture of the time ahead. Our panel asks which features derive specifically from German contexts and traditions. Arno Schmidtʼs Gelehrtenrepublik (1957) depicts a satirical version of a post-nuclear Cold War scenario, as found in other contemporary western cultures, while engaging ironically with authors such as Klopstock and Jean Paul. Since the millennium, there has been a revival of dystopian novels and tongue-in-cheek sci-fi, characterised by social scepticism (Juli Zeh), post-humanism (Dietmar Dath), and fear of global catastrophes. The writer and intellectual Kathrin Röggla has recently reclaimed “Zukunft” as a cultural resource in the risk-ridden age of turbo-capitalism, correcting the gender bias in much futuristic thinking.

The panel welcomes papers on all periods and all aspects of designing, managing, and projecting futures. It encourages comparative approaches: across media and genres, epistemic and poetic forms of knowledge, corresponding with the current transdisciplinary research interest in “Futurologien”.


Linguistics and Translation Studies

Convenor: Melani Schröter (Reading); m.schroeter@reading.ac.uk

The linguistics standing panel at the AGS welcomes papers on any aspect of German and Germanic linguistics, including comparative studies and translation studies. Papers may deal with diachronic linguistics or trends in current usage, second language acquisition, language policy, sociolinguistics and (critical) discourse analysis. A range of contributions is welcomed, those with a more theoretical and conceptual angle as well as those based on empirical research. A range of methodological approaches within empirical linguistic analysis is equally embraced.


New developments and trends in Deutsch als Fremdsprache (DaF), and the position of DaF within German Studies

Convenor: Mandy Poetzsch (Bristol); mandy.poetzsch@bristol.ac.uk


German language teaching plays a huge part in German studies; yet, is very rarely explicitly addressed at major German studies conferences.

This panel aims to highlight recent developments and trends in teaching German as a foreign language in Higher Education, as well as its position within German Studies in the UK.


Medieval and Early Modern Studies

Convenor: Mary Boyle (Oxford); please send proposals tos.stollhans@lancaster.ac.uk in the first instance


This panel invites papers on all aspects of medieval and early modern culture: its literature, material culture, history and thought. The panel warmly welcomes comparative perspectives and work connecting this period to others.


Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture

Convenor: Joanna Raisbeck (Oxford); joanna.raisbeck@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk

Papers are invited on all aspects of long eighteenth-culture culture, including literature, visual culture, history, and thought. Particularly welcome are papers that offer new and innovative approaches to eighteenth-century literature and culture (such as the use of digital humanities, the ‘transnational’ or global eighteenth century, expanding the corpus of ‘known’ writers and intellectual figures of the period).

Nineteenth and early Twentieth-Century Studies

Convenor: Malcolm Spencer (Nottingham Trent); malcolm.spencer@ntu.ac.uk   

Papers are invited on any aspect of the culture of German-speaking countries in the nineteenth century and earlier decades of the twentieth century (up to about 1930), including literature, theatre, visual and musical culture and thought.  

Welsh-German Cultural Exchange

Convenor: Steffan Davies (Bristol); Steffan.Davies@bristol.ac.uk

‘Would you let me quote Thomas Mann...?’ wrote Saunders Lewis, Wales’s foremost dramatist, in a letter to the Observer in 1959 defending why he only wrote creatively in Welsh. Lewis’s short letter speaks to fervent international and nationalist visions in almost a single breath, and encapsulates the productive tensions found so widely in transnational exchange. This panel seeks that exchange between the cultures of Wales and Germany, which have continuously made contact, and cross-fertilised, since the Middle Ages. Travellers, migrants, readers and translators have seen in the one a refuge from the other, or a model for it. Building on the work of the session on ‘Reading and Writing Wales’ at the Bangor AGS (2018), this panel invites contributions on all aspects of Welsh-German cultural interaction, and seeks in particular to foster dialogue between researchers in German and in Welsh. 

The East Beyond the Wall: Imagining East German Identities

Convenors: Laura Tradii & Kathrin Wunderlich (Cambridge); lt426@cam.ac.ukkw456@cam.ac.uk

The public discourse surrounding the 30th anniversaries of the fall of the Berlin Wall and unification shows that rather than gradually diminishing, the geographic and symbolic designation “East/Eastern” appears to acquire an increasing relevance in present-day German politics, culture and discussions of identity.

This panel seeks to assemble an interdisciplinary set of papers that engage with constructions, manifestations and self-conceptualisations of East German identities in the present. Rather than aiming for a definition of an identity, we seek papers that investigate how the notion of “East” has entered the personal, political, historical, economic, cultural and academic imagination, and what selfhoods, images, aesthetics, cultural and material objects this has produced.

(This panel is conceived as an extension of a DAAD-funded workshop at the University of Cambridge, which will take place in March 2020. See this link for more details: http://www.daad.cam.ac.uk/workshops/the-east-beyond-the-wall-constructions-manifestations-and-self-conceptualisations-of-east-german-identities)

 Emotionally demanding pedagogy/research

Convenors: Peter Davies (Edinburgh) & Helen Finch (Leeds);peter.j.davies@ed.ac.uk & h.c.finch@leeds.ac.uk   

This panel provides an opportunity to share practice and experiences in engaging with emotionally demanding material, topics or situations, whether in research or teaching. Strong emotional reactions can emerge when dealing with any material, but we have been slow to understand the consequences for the well-being of students of dealing with especially emotionally demanding texts, films or topics. As researchers, we are often left to deal with our personal reactions to our work in our ‘emotional spare time’. We would also be interested in hearing about any institutional projects to support students and/or staff, as they intersect with German Studies curricula or research, and any examples of pedagogy that have successfully (or indeed unsuccessfully) engaged with discomfort, anger, upset or anxiety.

The panel will have a roundtable format, so we welcome offers of short contributions setting out examples or questions for discussion with relevance to German Studies, whether about teaching and learning practice or our experiences as researchers. We particularly welcome contributors of colour, casualised contributors, contributors from working-class and international backgrounds, and queer contributors.

Ringing the changes? Literary and Cultural responses to the Anthropocene

Convenor: Robert Craig (Bamberg); robert.craig@uni-bamberg.de

The environmental challenge to our collective existence is both more urgent, and more intractable, than ever before. As ‘global heating’ looks likely to surpass 3C by the year 2100, the realities of life in the Anthropocene are asserting themselves with a speed and ferocity still inconceivable only a decade ago. While literary and cultural studies are undeniably central to a rethinking of our place in this mess, the scale and complexity of the transformations may, as such thinkers as Timothy Morton and Timothy Clark have warned, throw into doubt our existing approaches and resources.

This panel invites papers that both investigate and challenge German and comparative responses to changing climates and environments in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Contributions can be cultural or political; literary, filmic, or theoretical; and concerned with the very large, the very small, or anything in between. As ‘we’ are only one (if uniquely destructive) part of the picture, negotiations with animals and other non- and post-human beings are also warmly welcomed.   

The Sturm und Drang at 250

Convenor: Elystan Griffiths (Birmingham); E.GRIFFITHS@bham.ac.uk

As the 250th anniversary of many key writings of the Sturm und Drang approaches, this panel invites contributions that identify new scholarly approaches to the Sturm und Drang that might support a revival of research in the field. Papers on individual authors of the Sturm und Drang, on influences and networks, neglected texts and archival or editorial work that remains to be done are all equally welcome. The aim of this panel is also to identify possibilities for potential further research collaboration over the coming decade.

German Dystopian Literature and Film

Convenor: Thomas Crew (Cambridge); tc502@cam.ac.uk

“The world is a machine, man an automaton”. Friedrich Georg Jünger’s assertion, from his anti-utopian work, The Perfection of Technology, cuts to the heart of almost all dystopian writing. Whether the world is expressly conceived as a mechanical construct, in which the engineer or scientist is accorded the prime social role, or whether rapid modern developments assume an irresistible life of their own, dystopias are invariably characterised by a radical reduction of freedom, meaning, and virtually every defining human trait, often in the name of “improving” the world.

We are calling for papers that consider dystopian literature or film from the German-speaking world, from the genre’s emergence, around the turn of the 20th century, to the present day. Papers could focus on, but are by no means limited to: technology, politics, society, history, or even the natural world.

Translocal German Studies? Scales of Belonging in Contemporary German-language Literature and Culture

Convenors: Maria Roca Lizarazu (Birmingham) & Myrto Aspioti (De Gruyter, Berlin); m.rocalizarazu@bham.ac.uk & myrto.aspioti@degruyter.com

Recent research has illuminated the varied ways in which contemporary German culture is becoming increasingly 'transnational'. This panel wants to start a discussion on the ways recent German culture reflects 'translocal' attachments, i.e. how German-language authors, playwrights, filmmakers and visual artists negotiate their simultaneous attachment to more than one location, often valuing local connections over a national sense of belonging. Contemporary authors and filmmakers, such as Kermani (Cologne/Isfahan), Grjasnowa (Baku/Berlin), E. Menasse (Vienna/Berlin), Stanišić (Višegrad/Heidelberg), Akin (Hamburg/Istanbul), Beckermann (Paris/Vienna) and Haneke (Paris/Germany/Austria), to name but a few, refuse to define their sense of belonging in monolithic, stable and nation-bound categories, and instead perceive themselves as connected to various and shifting spaces and places at once. This panel wants to reflect on these intersecting, multiple and fluid scales of belonging, which might include everything from global and even planetary affiliations to national, regional, urban and Kiez connections. By extension, this panel also encourages us to think about geographical belonging in German literature and culture in new, simultaneously globalised and localised, ways.



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