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Symposium: Competing American Literary Institutions around 1900 (June 10&11, 2021)

In the United States, the turn of the twentieth century marks a critical period of institutional emergence still influencing the present not least because it revolves around a crucial tension: The increasing diversification and differentiation of the literary field at this time coincides with centralizing attempts such as the professionalization of the study of literature at universities and the founding of institutions such as the American Academy of Arts and Letters. This constellation engenders specific conditions of inclusion and exclusion and brings into focus not only competing communities but also their points of convergence. The contributors to this two-day international symposium aim to explore the competitions and convergences resulting from this historical complex by analyzing several literary actors in their embeddedness and investment in institutional contexts.

Terra Symposium 2021 (June 3, 2021)

This symposium will showcase some new biographical and autobiographical approaches to writing American art’s histories, with a view toward the ways in which the life experiences of artists and writers afford opportunities for counternarratives and new ways of understanding the diverse histories of American art. Lives: Biography and Autobiography in New Writing on American Art brings together scholars and curators who discuss the intertwinement and intersectionality of artists’ life experiences with the work they produced from them.

Speakers include C. Ondine Chavoya, Joan Kee, Cyle Metzger, and Helen Molesworth.

“Nature” in American Art Since 1970: Reconceiving the Human-Nonhuman Relationship? (May 19, 2020)

Can the art produced in the United States over the last fifty years help us model a new human-nonhuman relationship for the era of climate change? Has recent American art, to be slightly more specific, imagined any viable alternative to the modern idea of nature as the passive “other” to human agency, an object or image to be exploited or protected by “man”? Finally, what role might art play in the cultural transformation that will be necessary for stopping climate change?

This symposium brings together a small group of leading scholars and invites them each, through close analysis of works of art, to propose answers to these questions.

1898: Imag(in)ing the Caribbean in the Age of the Spanish-American War (June 25, 2019)

Terra Foundation Conference 2019

This interdisciplinary conference will address visual representations produced in the wake of the Spanish-American War—an understudied yet pivotal conflict in the history of the United States and its relation to the world. While the war only lasted four months, the consequences were profound.

Organizer: Laura Katzman

Videographic Criticism: Aesthetics and Methods of the Video Essay (June 21, 2019)

This one-day symposium is dedicated to videographic criticism – a digital method that uses the materiality of film and media to produce audiovisual analyses, commentaries, and scholarship. It brings together practitioners, curators, scholars, and teachers to present their recent videographic work and to exchange ideas about their individual approaches to videographic criticism and their preferred aesthetics and methods for producing video essays. The participants will also discuss the potential of the video essay for critically engaging with and studying film and media texts as well as its promises for scholarship, teaching, and forms of public engagement.

Aesthetics and Democracy (May 3, 2019)

A Symposium in Honor of Winfried Fluck's 75th Birthday

Featured Speakers:
Walter Benn Michaels (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Heike Paul (Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg)
Donald E. Pease (Dartmouth College)
Johannes Voelz (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt)

Remake Studies: New Methods and Approaches (October 25, 2018)

Cinema abounds with films that repeat, continue, expand and revise an already familiar story. This workshop brings together scholars and practitioners to examine one of cinema’s most longstanding practices as a meaningful and meaning-making industrial and cultural activity. The objective is to discuss and probe new methods and approaches for remake studies. What new insights and perspectives do quantitative methods, audience research, industry studies, and videographic criticism have to offer the emerging research field? How can they contribute to our understanding of popular culture and its principle of repetition and innovation?

Empathy, Intimacy, and Ethics in American Art (June 5-6, 2018)

Do we feel ourselves by looking at objects? This two-day international symposium in Berlin returns to the late nineteenth-century German proposal that empathy (die Einfühlung) constitutes a way to understand aesthetic response. In contemporary usage, empathy implies the ability to share another person’s feelings, offering the possibility of transcending social divisions through emotion. However, the word’s complex life begins in an aesthetic theory of how human emotions project into optical forms.

American Counter/Publics (May 24-27, 2018)

65th Annual Conference of the German Association for American Studies (DGfA)

The 2018 Convention of the German Association of American Studies (DGfA) explored questions of publics, counterpublics, publicity, and public (dis)trust in US politics, society, history, and culture, examined through the lenses of literary and cultural studies, political science, sociology, historiography, media studies, economics, and didactics.

From the department of culture, Frank Kelleter was a co-organizer of the conference and Alexander Starre was a member of the planning committee.

Cultures of the Contemporary African Diaspora (April 19-20, 2018)

A Project of the Intitute for Research on the African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean and the John F. Kennedy Institute of North American Studies

Convener(s): Robert F. Reid-Pharr, CUNY; Martin Lüthe, JFKI

From April 18th until 20th 2018 the work begun by the “Contemporary African Diaspora: Travelling Cultures in the New African Diaspora,” workshop held in June 2017 at the Freie Universitaet was continued in this workshop at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. In the spirit of a true “workshop” we were able to discuss where and how we would like to move ahead with our shared research agendas.

At Home and Abroad: Movement, Influence, and Circulation in North American Art (June 28-29, 2017)

This international symposium focuses on exploring transcultural exchanges of North American artists and art objects from the late eighteenth century to the early twentieth century. Papers address the movement and displacement of North American artists and the circulation of physical art objects in North America and Europe, such as paintings and prints, during a broad time frame. Issues of audience and viewership across North America and Europe will also be considered, in cooperation with the varied forms of influence and knowledge from other sources, such as newspapers, letters, and copies of graphic material.

The Contemporary African Diaspora (June 21-23, 2017)

The workshop "The Contemporary African Diaspora: Traveling Cultures in the New Black Atlantic" lays the groundwork for what we hope will be a multi-year collaborative project engaging the practices, contexts, and contours of the post-World War II African diaspora in the United States and Europe. Our goal is to establish a research agenda in which we examine the social and cultural lives of post-World War II African immigrants. We will also examine the social contexts surrounding their emigration and repatriation. Analyzing the forms and practices of contemporary African Diasporic cultural formations, we will ask how contemporary African immigration to the United States and Europe expands—and challenges—established ideas of American, European, and African culture.

American Media/Knowledge at the Turn of the 20th Century (July 13-14, 2016)

This two-day workshop aims to initiate conversations between cultural, literary, and media scholars currently working on projects that address technological and epistemological shifts in U.S. culture. Presentations will focus on the cultural configurations of “discourse network 1900” in North America, as well as on theoretical and methodological issues. Session organizers: Martin Lüthe and Alexander Starre

SERIALITY SERIALITY SERIALITY: The Many Lives of the Field That Isn’t One (June 22-24, 2016)

The final conference of the Popular Seriality Research Unit (DFG Forschergruppe 1091 “Ästhetik und Praxis populärer Serialität”). After six years, thirteen subprojects, nine associated projects, numerous conferences, workshops, and publications it is time to reach some kind of conclusion. Together with our international collaborators over the years, we would like to explore future possibilities and alternative visions of a “field” that we always claimed existed. Thus, the focus of our final conference will be on the histories, conceptualizations, and methodologies of seriality studies itself.

Seeing Through: Negotiating the Photograph (June 8-9 2016)

Seeing Through: Negotiating the Photograph
International Conference
8/9 June 2016
Organizer: Heather Diack

Cli‐Fi: The Dystopian Impulse of Contemporary Climate Fiction (May 13, 2016)

This workshop on climate fiction is a cooperation between the M.A. seminars “Dystopian Visions of America” (Kathleen Loock) and “American Ecologies” (Alexander Starre) at the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies and the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam.

Goals and Limits of Formalist Criticism in the Interpretation of American Art (November 18 2014)

Goals and Limits of Formalist Criticism in the Interpretation of American Art
International Conference
18 November 2014
Organizer: Michael Schreyach

Looking Forward, 2014: Current Projects in American Studies (November 13-15, 2014)

The conference "Looking Forward, 2014" surveys major research projects of the coming years, mostly (but not exclusively) from Germany's American Studies community. In presenting their ongoing work, scholars will showcase diverse approaches to American culture, literature, and society.

Bologna Conference 2014 "Media Transformations / Transformative Media" (June 26-28, 2014)

The Bologna Conference is a biennial gathering of the International American Studies Research Group, a consortium of six European and American universities: Brown University, Freie Universität Berlin, University of Bologna, University of California Berkeley, Université de la Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris III), and Yale University. The conference takes its name from institution at which it began, while also honoring Professor Franco La Polla of Bologna, whose inspiration it was. The 2014 conference will be the seventh collective gathering of this group.

Forms and Practices of Narrating (June 5-7 2014)

Hosted by the departments of Literature and Culture at the John F. Kennedy Institute, Freie Universität Berlin, and organized by Prof. Dr. Laura Bieger (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg) and Prof. Dr. Florian Sedlmeier (Freie Universität Berlin).

Digital Communication and the Media Future of the Humanities: Knowledge, Scholarship, Teaching (30 June 2014)

A Roundtable with Leading American Specialists in Digital Humanities. Featured Panelists: Kathleen Fitzpatrick (Director of Scholarly Communication, MLA / New York University); Jason Mittell (Middlebury College); Mark Sample (Davidson College)

American Icons and Monuments

American Icons and Monuments
International Conference
25 January 2013
Organizer: Vivien Green Fryd