German Symposium-Meaningful Presence: Lived Experience (Erlebnis) and Representation

Thursday, February 15

5:00-7:00 p.m. at Russell House, 350 High Street

Keynote Lecture by David Wellbery (University of Chicago): “’Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön.’ Image as Dramatic Motivation”

Moderator: Martin Bäumel (Department of German Studies, Wesleyan University)


Friday, February 16 

The following events will take place at the Center for the Humanities, 95 Pearl Street, Room 106

9:30 a.m.-1:10 p.m. Epistemologies

9:30-11:10 a.m. Conceptualizing Presence; Moderator: Daniel Smyth (College of Letters, Wesleyan University)

9:30-10:20 a.m. Aleksandra Prica (Department of Germanic & Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill): “Signatura rerum. On Presence and Method”

10:20-11:10 a.m. Ethan Kleinberg (Center for the Humanities, Wesleyan University): “The Sourcery of the Text: Chladenius and the Historico-Theological Presence of the Past”

11:10-11:30 a.m. Coffee Break

11:30 a.m. – 1:10 p.m. Knowing Oneself, Knowing the World

Moderator: Julia Goesser Assaiante (Department of German Studies, Trinity College)

11:30 a.m.-12:20 p.m. Michael Meere (Department of Romance Languages & Literatures, Wesleyan University): “Imagining the Self, Inventing the Other: Representation and Presence in Montaigne’s Essays and Travel Journal

12:20-1:10 p.m. Kirk Wetters (Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, Yale University): “Presence and Absence in Georg Forster’s Voyage Round the World

1:10-2:30 p.m. Lunch Break

2:30-7:00 p.m. Technologies

2:30-4:10 p.m. The Presence of the Ephemeral; Moderator: Ulrich Plass (Department of German Studies, Wesleyan University)

2:30-3:20 p.m. Marco Aresu (Department of Romance Languages & Literatures, Wesleyan University): “Aurality and Corpus in Medieval Italian Literature”

3:20-4:10 p.m. Gabriel Trop (Department of Germanic & Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill): “The Aesthetics of the Paradox”

4:10-4:20 p.m. Coffee Break

4:20-7:00 pm Presence Techniques; Moderator: Stephanie Weiner (Department of English, Wesleyan University)

4:20-5:10 p.m. Jocelyn Holland (Department of Germanic & Slavic Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara): “Die Kunst des Fügens: Materials, Techniques, Schemas”

5:10-6:00 p.m. Courtney Weiss Smith (Department of English, Wesleyan University): “The Echo Historians: Prosody and Natural History in Eighteenth-Century England.”

6:00-6:10 p.m. Break

6:10-7:00 p.m. Natasha Korda (Department of English, Wesleyan University): “Gyno Ludens: Puppenhäuser and the Gendered Phenomenology of Play”


Saturday, February 17 

9:30 a.m.-3:20 p.m. Sociability

10:20 a.m.-12:20 p.m. Aesthetics and Ethics; Moderator: Roger Mathew Grant (Department of Music, Wesleyan University)

10:20-11:10 a.m. Frauke Berndt (Deutsches Seminar, Universität Zürich): “A.G. Baumgarten’s Epic Voice”

11:10-11:30 a.m. Coffee Break

11:30-12:20 Dorothea von Mücke (Department of Germanic Languages, Columbia University):  “The Presence of the Poet and The Enlightenment’s Author Function”

12:20-1:40 Lunch Break

1:40-3:20 p.m. Visualizing Social Cohesion; Moderator: Natasha Korda (Department of English, Wesleyan University)

1:40 -2:30 p.m. Michael Armstrong (Department of Romance Languages & Literatures, Wesleyan University): “Master Mistresses on the 17th-Century Spanish and English Stage: Actresses, Boy Actors, and the Proto-History of Screwball Comedy”

2:30-3:20 p.m. Joel Lande (Department of German, Princeton University): “Goethe’s Many”

3:20-3:45 p.m. Closing Remarks


Organized by the Department of German Studies and the Center for the Humanities, with generous support from the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service), the Thomas and Catharine McMahon Memorial Fund, the College of Letters, the Center for the Study of Public Life, and Academic Affairs. 

Novelist and screenwriter Merle Kröger will present her novel Havarie

The novelist and screenwriter Merle Kröger will present her novel Havarie in Professor Plass’ seminar on “Newest German Literature” on October 17, from 3:30 to 4:30, in Fisk 101. She will do so virtually, via large-screen videoconference from the University of Minnesota. Merle Kröger will first read from Havarie, a documentary-fiction thriller about the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean Sea. After the reading, there will be a discussion. Reading and discussion will be in German. 

Elisabeth Lauffer, ‘07 to speak at WesFest

Liz double majored in COL and German Studies. She spent her sophomore spring semester in Regensburg,
Germany. Her senior thesis was the translation of Russian émigré humorist Vladimir Kaminer’s The Trip to Trulala, which she completed under the mentorship of Professor Krishna Winston. Liz then moved to Germany, where she spent a year at Hamburg University through a DAAD Study Scholarship, before relocating to Berlin.
In 2011, Liz returned to the States to complete her Master’s in Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Since then, she has dabbled in various educational pursuits (including teaching in and directing the Middlebury Interactive Summer German Academy) and committed herself to literary translation. In 2014, Liz was awarded the Gutekunst Prize for Emerging Translators through the Goethe Institute New York. In 2016, her first full-length book translation, Animal Internet by Alexander Pschera, was published with New Vessel Press. Liz is currently under contract for two titles with the MIT Press and works as Production Editor at Chooseco, publishers of the Choose Your Own Adventure children’s book series.

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“Second Class Refugees”: The Struggles of Lesser-Known German Jewish Writers in the U.S.


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Professor Krishna Winston’s talk “Second Class Refugees”: The Struggles of Lesser-Known German Jewish Writers in the U.S.  is the second event in our series “Germany Meets the U.S.” and will take place Wednesday, October 5th, from 4:30-5:30 p.m., in Fisk 208. Refreshments will be served.

Professor Winston will talk about German Jewish writers who had been quite well known in Germany but who struggled to establish themselves professionally when they emigrated to the U.S. and thus endured great economic and emotional hardship. Among them are Mehring, Hans Sahl, Curt Riess, and Heinrich Eduard Jacob. Her parents, the distinguished translators Richard and Clara Winston, knew these authors personally and translated their works into English. Krishna will draw on her collection of letters exchanged between these refugees and her parents as well as on her own memories.