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 Speech’ and ‘Speaking the Truth’ in early modern discourse (GSA 2012)"
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TitelParrhesia – Concept and Figure of ‘Free
 Speech’ and ‘Speaking the Truth’ in early modern discourse (GSA 2012)
BeschreibungCall for Papers
GSA-Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, October 4-7, 2012
Parrhesia – Concept and Figure of ‘Free
 Speech’ and ‘Speaking the Truth’ in early modern discourse

Our understanding of parrhesia is largely influenced by Michel Foucault’s discussion of the notion in his project on the hermeneutics of the subject. In following the history of the parrhesia from ancient democracy to early Christianity, Foucault makes the term relevant for discussions in ethics and politics. He does, however, largely neglect the implications of the rhetorical notion of parrhesia. One might however ask whether it is not exactly the mode of ‘rhetorics degree zero’ (Foucault), i.e. rhetorics figuring as authenticity that permits to lie convincingly and to manipulate the truth. The panel invites contributions to the various aspects of parrhesia between the political and ethical discourse analyzed by Foucault and its rhetorical and poetical meaning in early modernity (roughly 1600-1800). An informative case in this context is the emergence of ‘parrhesia,’ ‘Free Speech,’ or rather ‘beautiful Free Spech’ in Baumgarten’s Aesthetics. It appears that Baumgarten’s coinage of the term ‘bellar parrhesia, beautiful parrhesia’ is not simply a symptom of the constant territorial negotiations between aesthetics and rhetorics. The idea of a free speech (Freimut) with its ethical and political implictions stands rather at the core of Baumgarten’s rearticulation of aesthetics as discourse of truth. Beauty as ‘truth in aesthetics’ and parrhesia as rhetorics of truth seem to renegotiate the asymmetries between Philosophy, post-cartesian knowledge and rhetorics. Parrhesia thus turns out to be a key notion within the shifts in aesthetics and epistemology around and after 1750. In this panel we wish to explore how and to what extent parrhesia in its multiple layers (authentic subjectivity, political power, rhetorics...) plays out in 17th and 18th century thought and literature, in particular we are interested in examining the career of the notion from Baumgarten’s Aesthetica to Goethe.

Possible topics could include: the truth of fictional discourse, censorship, parrhesia in dramatic literature from the baroque to Goethe’s and Schiller’s plays, ‘voice’ in narrative theory and practice, intersection of political theory and literature, parrhesia and philosophical discourse etc.

Please send an abstract not exceeding 250 words to Rüdiger Campe ( and to Malte Wessels (
The deadline for submissions is Jan. 15, 2012.


Quelle der BeschreibungInformation des Anbieters
Verknüpfte Ressource
PersonName: Campe, Ruediger (Prof. Dr.) 
Funktion: Professor / Chair German Department Yale University 
Name: Wessels, Malte (Dr.) 
Funktion: Visiting Assistant Professor 
LandVereinigte Staaten von Amerika
SchlüsselbegriffeLiteratur 1700 - 1770; Literatur 1770 - 1830; Medien- u. Kommunikationstheorie; Rhetorik
Zusätzliches SuchwortParrhesie
Klassifikation03.00.00 Literaturwissenschaft > 03.06.00 Literaturtheorie; 03.00.00 Literaturwissenschaft > 03.07.00 Ästhetik; 03.00.00 Literaturwissenschaft > 03.10.00 Stilistik. Rhetorik; 11.00.00 17. Jahrhundert; 11.00.00 17. Jahrhundert > 11.03.00 Geistes- und Kulturgeschichte; 12.00.00 18. Jahrhundert; 12.00.00 18. Jahrhundert > 12.03.00 Geistes- und Kulturgeschichte; 12.00.00 18. Jahrhundert > 12.08.00 Aufklärung; 13.00.00 Goethezeit; 13.00.00 Goethezeit > 13.03.00 Geistes- und Kulturgeschichte
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