Friday, January 23, 2015

CFP Deadline soon! Thirty-Ninth Annual Conference of the German Studies Association

CALL FOR PAPERS – Medieval/Early Modern  
Thirty-Ninth Annual Conference of the German Studies Association (
Washington, D.C., October 1-4, 2015

YMAGINA (Young Medievalist Germanists in North America, is pleased to announce the following calls for papers for sessions at the 2015 GSA conference.  

1. Lacunae
We invite papers investigating and/or challenging gaps in literal, metaphoric, and linguistic/philological contexts in premodern German text and art. Both frustrating and exciting for opening interpretive possibilities, the lacuna functions necessarily as negative evidence, and yet remains one of the fundamental units of premodern textual data: illegible passages in manuscripts; missing, torn, pierced, or otherwise damaged manuscript leaves or pages in printed books; missing source texts only discernible from later derivations or copies (i.e., lacunae in stemmata); imperfect transmission or utter lack of musical notation for lyric texts; works mentioned as part of an author’s oeuvre or listed in library catalogs but now lost; and semantic, syntactic, or morphological change with murky evidence of transition all characterize but do not exhaust the conceptual range of the lacuna in understanding our inescapably fragmentary field.

2. Sense Deprivation
The word Sinn possesses a vast array of meanings. In addition to designating direction of motion and the meaning of words, ‘sense’ refers to a number of different human faculties, including the five senses, consciousness, and even social or spiritual awareness. For this session, we invite papers on the lack of any of these forms of sense: disorientation or wandering; meaningless expressions and nonsense; blindness, deafness, and other inhibitions of sense perception; fainting, falling unconscious, or ecstatic states; deception of the senses by magic or demonic influences (invisibility or hallucinations); senseless figures such as the wild man or the fool; and loss of memory, among many other possible topics. ‘Sense’ seems to be a necessary and underlying condition of being human and the mode by which human experience becomes intelligible. This panel seeks to interrogate instances of insufficiency or lack in medieval and early modern German contexts.

3. Beginnings and Endings
Both individually and culturally, human perception gives precedence to beginnings and endings. Cultures process the most recent past and the time of origins, while the details in between remain vague. Cognitively, children and adults display a learning bias toward beginnings and endings of words. The implications of these tendencies for medieval and early modern cultural and linguistic production are “end”-less. The incipit of a poem, the prologue of a medieval romance, or the illuminated initials of a book entice us. The ending may be clever, grand, or fragmentary. Colophons and rubrics offer tantalizingly partial insight into the way scribes understood the texts under their pens. Meaning can be generated linguistically through prefixes and suffixes or initial and final syntactic placement. The creation story and the last judgment determined the way in which people lived their lives and perceived their own significance in history and in the cosmos. This panel seeks to open a scholarly discussion about the significance of beginnings and endings in a period of Germanic literary, cultural, and linguistic production that we persistently designate as the “Middle” Ages.

4. Open Call for New Research
In addition to sessions on the topics listed above, we would like to be able to showcase ongoing research on other aspects of medieval and early modern Germanic culture and language. We therefore welcome submissions concerning work in progress on topics unrelated to the specific calls.

We seek 15- to 20-minute papers, in English or German. Please send an abstract (max. 250 words) and a brief CV that includes institutional affiliation by MONDAY, JANUARY 26, 2014, to

2015 YMAGINA Organizers
Adam Oberlin (The Linsly School/Universiteit Gent)
Sharon M. Wailes (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis)

CJ Jones (University of Notre Dame)

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