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Exemplary Singularity: Fault Lines of the Anecdota

Conference: "Exemplary Singularity: Fault Lines of the Anecdotal // Exemplarische Singularität: Bruchlinien des Anekdotischen" – John F. Kennedy-Institute for North American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin,

February 01-03, 2018

Organizers: James Dorson (Freie Universität Berlin), Florian Sedlmeier (Freie Universität Berlin/UCLA), MaryAnn Snyder-Körber (Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg), Birte Wege (Freie Universität Berlin)

The “culture of fact” is over. Ours is instead an age of “data” and the “post-factual.” With the rise of “data,” analysis has been outsourced to machines. Simultaneously, social media filtering has worn down older understandings of facts not only in the original sense of act or deed (factum). The further evidentiary function of the fact as that which can be observed, verified, and thereby serve to determine “truth” in legal, scientific, and, not least, political discourse has suffered yet more intensive erosion.

The international and interdisciplinary conference "Exemplary Singularity: Fault Lines of the Anecdotal // Exemplarische Singularität: Bruchlinien des Anekdotischen"proceeds from the conviction that this cultural situation compels renewed consideration of the anecdote as a narrative form whose deployment of the “singular” in the service of demonstrating the “exemplary” finds itself at the center of now current controversies as well as longer-standing negotiations of knowledge frameworks in modernity. At the present juncture, the human-focused scale of the anecdote challenges the preeminence of “big data” overview as much as the association with “secret history” places the anecdote in co-extensive proximity to rumor, conspiracy, and the mechanisms of a so-called “post-truth” politics. In the broader view, the history of the anecdote as a literary form and the anecdotal as a mode of critical and historical inquiry holds similar promise for illuminating the convergences as well as fault lines cutting across modern practices of knowledge production.

We thank the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, The Center for International Cooperation of the Freie Universität Berlin, and the Graduate School of North American Studies for their sponsorship.

Fictions of Management

8.-10. Dezember 2016. Ausgerichtet von der Reasearch Group "Fictions of Management: American Naturalism and Managerial Culture, 1875-1925" des John F. Kennedy-Instituts, organisiert von James Dorson, Florian Gabriel und Jasper Verlinden.

"The Emergence of the New" - A Symposium in Honor of Heinz Ickstadt

October 28th-29th, 2016. Hosted by the Literature Department of the John F. Kennedy Institute.

Crossroads and Transgressions: Cormac McCarthy Between Worlds

7.-9. Juli 2016. Ausgerichtet von der Abteilung Literatur des John-F.-Kennedy-Instituts, gemeinsam mit der Universität zu Köln, der Universität Paderborn und der Cormac McCarthy Society. Organisiert von James Dorson, Julius Greve, and Markus Wierschem.

Uncertainty/Risk/Management

26. Oktober 2015. Ausgerichtet von den Abteilungen Literatur und Geschichte des John-F.-Kennedy-Instituts. Organisiert von James Dorson und Sebastian Jobs.

Data Fiction. Naturalism, Narrative, and Numbers.

30. Januar 2015. Ausgerichtet von der Nachwuchsforschergrupper "Fictions of Management: American Naturalism and Managerial Culture, 1875-1925" der Abteilung Literatur des John-F.-Kennedy-Instituts. Organisiert von Prof. Dr. James Dorson.

Forms and Practices of Narrating

5.-7. Juni 2014. Ausgerichtet von den Abteilungen Literatur und Kultur des John-F.-Kennedy-Instituts, organisiert von Prof. Dr. Laura Bieger (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg) and Prof. Dr. Florian Sedlmeier (Freie Universität Berlin).