ASSOCIATION FOR GERMAN STUDIES IN GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND

91st annual AGS Conference

Trinity College Dublin, Tue 29th– Thu 31st  August 2023


SAVE THE DATE, INFORMATION ABOUT PANELS, AND LEAD PANEL CALL: “THE GROTESQUE”


The 91st Conference of the Association for German Studies will take place at Trinity College Dublin, August 29-31, 2023. We are planning on the assumption that the conference will run in person. We will also make every effort to accommodate colleagues who wish to speak at the conference and who are unable to travel for compelling reasons.

At this stage we invite proposals for Special Panels (one-off themed panels) to be included in the general Call for Papers, which will be sent out in February 2023. If you are interested in convening a Special Panel, which includes its organization from sending out a call for papers, to selecting the paper proposals and chairing the panel itself at the TCD conference, please send a brief description (c. 100 words) to the Conference Officer Rachel MagShamhráin (rmgs@ucc.ie) by 31 January 2023

If, alternatively, you are interested in running a Special Panel with already confirmed speakers, again please contact Rachel MagShamhráin (rmgs@ucc.ie), also by 31 January 2023, with your idea and (provisional) list of speakers. Full proposals and abstracts of the speakers’ papers are not required at this stage.

Proposals will be selected in February to be included in the general Call for Papers, which will be sent out in late February / early March 2023.

As in past years, we expect to include the following Recurring Panels, and will liaise separately with past panel chairs:

  • Medieval and Early Modern Studies
  • 18th century
  • 19th and early 20th century
  • Later 20th century and contemporary
  • Linguistics, language teaching and translation
  • Gender / Queer Theory

In addition, the programme will include, as in previous years, a schools liaison panel, and a dedicated session for postgraduates and early career academics, as well as a WIGs sponsored panel.

If you would like to discuss initial ideas or have any questions before submitting your proposal, please contact Rachel MagShamhráin (rmgs@ucc.ie).

In 2023 colleagues in the Department of Germanic Studies at Trinity College Dublin are pleased to accept paper proposals on the Lead Panel theme (abstract below). If you are interested to submit a proposal on this topic, please send it to Mary Cosgrove (cosgroma@tcd.ie) and Jürgen Barkhoff (jbrkhoff@tcd.ie) by 31 January 2023:


Mortality and Vitality? Grotesque Aesthetics in German-language Literature and Culture 

War is raging in Europe as democracy takes a stand against authoritarianism while, at the same time, being internally under threat from illiberal tendencies; the planet and its species are confronted with radical climate change; the pandemic can flare up at any time; and technology develops at pace, with AI redefining what it means to be human. Crisis and catastrophe have been key terms for conceptual consideration in recent years, and no wonder. It is an epoch of extremes. Against this backdrop, it seems timely to revisit the aesthetic figure of the grotesque, which has a long and privileged tradition in Western letters for expressing and negotiating crisis, catastrophe and the incommensurable. Rediscovered in the Renaissance and becoming a significant – if ‘lowly’ and counter-cultural mode of representation throughout the Early Modern period, the Baroque, Romanticism and Modernism, the grotesque operates through the principles of transgression, incommensurability and ambiguity. In some accounts, it is concerned with extremes of the body and tends towards the scatological in the name of upending existing power structures and temporarily imploding identities (Bakhtin, Kristeva); in others it is a complex, spectral signifier of angst, petrification and nihilism (Kayser); and in others still it is the dynamic expression of cultural change (Fuß). In all scenarios it can be disturbing, but also liberating; in this ambivalence, it connects to humour, satire and the absurd but also carries, at times, significant political clout. Is the grotesque therefore an aesthetic vehicle especially appropriate for our time, ready for a revival? And does the grotesque in its complex articulations throughout literary and cultural history offer valuable insights and perspectives? At the same time, we must ask whether the pressing concerns of the present surpass even the grotesque as an appropriate medium for these issues.  

The Lead Panel invites papers on aspects of the grotesque in all periods of German literature and culture. Thematic areas include (but are not limited to):  

  • War  
  • The body 
  • Gender and Identity 
  • Illness, Mortality, Death 
  • Carnival  
  • Technology / machines  
  • Catastrophe  
  • Climate change 
  • Pandemic 
  • The Abject  

We are looking forward to hearing from you with exciting proposals and are sending warm seasonal greetings.