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Archive for the ‘Conference’ Category

On 9 and 10 July, I will be participating in a workshop in Berlin, organized by the DFG research network Auditory Knowledge in Transition. The workshop’s title is “Auditory Knowledge in Politics: The Sound of Power and the Power of Sounds”.

A keynote lecture by professor Monika Dommann of Zürich University with the title “Record, Rewind, Rewrite? Eine akustische Geschichtsschreibung der Presidential Tapes” will be held on Thursday July 9th, at 6 PM at the Seminarzentrum Silberlaube Otto-von-Simson-Straße 26 (Raum L 116). All are welcome.

I myself will comment upon a paper presented by my friend Daniel Morat of the Free University of Berlin.

plakat_dommann_930

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Greuze_Portrait_of_Diderot

On October 5th, it will be 300 years ago that the French philosopher, writer, encyclopedia editor and brilliant conversationalist Denis Diderot (1713-1784) was born in a small town in north-eastern France. To commemorate this, Dr. Isabelle Deflers of Freiburg University and the Center of French Studies have organised a public symposium which will take place on October 28th. It’s title is:

Diderot und die Macht / Diderot et le pouvoir

Focussing on Diderot’s thought on power (and his quarrels with it), an interdisciplinary group of specialists will present various aspects of his work and influence. I have been asked to address Diderot’s intellectual confrontation with Tahiti, which he famously discussed in his Supplément au Voyage de Bougainville, a text written in the early 1770s but unpublished until well after his death. The focus of my presentation will be on Diderot’s views on sexual morals and their relevance to his political thought. The title of my presentation is:

Diderot und Tahiti: Europa im Spiegel einer außereuropäischen Gesellschaft

(Diderot and Tahiti: Europe Mirrored in a Non-European Society)

Admission to the symposium, which will take place in the historical Haus zur lieben Hand in Freiburg from 10:00 to 18:15, is free and open to all.

For the program, click here.

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At a workshop at the ZiF in Bielefeld, I will be presenting a paper on the use of the concept of zeitgeist in early nineteenth century political discourse, titled:

The Politics of Time: Zeitgeist in Early Nineteenth-Century Political Discourse.

The workshop, titled “Zeitgeist: an Inquiry into the Media of Time-Specific Cultural Patterns”, takes place from 19 to 21 September, 2013. For the programm, click here. For the workshop’s concept, click here.

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On the 8th of June, I will be presenting an ‘introductory lecture’ on problems of periodization within the framework of the student-organized conference

“Einschnitt – Einbruch – Einheit? Nachdenken über Zäsuren und Epochen”
(“Incision – Incursion – Unity? Thinking about Caesuras and Epochs”)

held at Freiburg University.

Taking the history of periodization as well as its current ‘state of the art’ within the humanities as my point of departure, I will try to give an overview over the major questions and controversies currently under discussion in this field.

For more information on this conference, please refer to the official website or the facebook page.

zaes

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On May 15th to 17th of next year, I will be attending a conference titled “Declines and Falls: Perspectives in European History and Historiography” organized at the Central European University in Budapest.

My presentation – which draws upon my dissertation research – will address the complex interrelations between the concepts of progress and decadence in the long eighteenth century. Often, these two concepts are understood as mutually exclusive counter-concepts, epitomizing a forward-looking ‘Enlightenment theory of progress’ on the one hand and the backward and ultimately futile ‘complaints’ of conservatives and reactionaries on the other.

A closer look at the semantic structure of debates about the development of civilization in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries reveals, however, that to contemporaries, these concepts were not usually counter-concepts at all. Rather, they were regularly understood as linked, or even interdependent. To understand this paradox, my paper addresses the various ways in which ‘the culture/civilization as a whole’ was conceptualized in these discourses.

Joining the analysis of the semantic structure of contemporary narratives of cultural decline with their pragmatic interpretation as speech acts in public interaction, I identify three different types of interpretation of the ‘whole’ in which ostensibly monistic claims about civilization in toto were linked to a differentiated understanding of its plural nature. In this way, the common view of narratives of progress and decadence as mutually exclusive discourses – at worst resulting in a general narrative of modern intellectual history as an eternal struggle between Enlightenment and Counter-Enlightenment – may make way for a more detailed understanding of the complexities of the debates about the character and development of civilization that have been so very important to public discourses of self-reflection in the modern age.

Update: a conference report has been published on the CEU website.

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Last week, I presented a paper at the conference ‘The Changing Experience of Time in the Long Nineteenth Century: Local, Regional, (Trans)National and Global Perspectives‘, held at the Centre for Transnational History of the University of St. Andrews (Scotland). My presentation was concerned with different models of historical analysis of the changing experiences and practices of time, especially with the so-called model of ‘temporalization’ which has been primarily championed by the German historian Reinhart Koselleck. Its title was:

Modern Times: Temporalization as a Concept of Historical Analysis

Also, I’m happy to announce that next month, I’m presenting other research at a conference ‘Populäre Geschichte und medialer Wandel zwischen Fortschrittsoptimismus und Kulturpessimismus‘, organized by the DFG-research group ‘Historische Lebenswelten in populären Wissenskulturen der Gegenwart‘ (DFG-FOR 875). This time, my topic will be a narrative of cultural interpretation that was quite influential at the end of the 18th century, which interpreted history as a slow evolution from a ‘poetic’ to a ‘prosaic’ mode of existence. The title of my presentation will be:

Vom poetischen Ursprung zur prosaischen Gegenwart: ein kulturanalytisches Geschichtsnarrativ im späten 18. Jahrhundert
(From poetic origin to prosaic present: a historical narrative of cultural analysis at the end of the 18th century)

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Next March, I will be attending the 33rd annual conference of the Ninteenth Century Studies Association in Asheville, North Carolina. The title of the paper I will present is ‘Spiritual Power in a Secular Age: The ‘Spirit of the Age’ in Early 19th Century Politics’.

For more information, see here.

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