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Ergebnisanzeige "Barbarism Revisited: New Perspectives on an Old Concept"
RessourcentypKonferenzen, Tagungen, Kolloquien
TitelBarbarism Revisited: New Perspectives on an Old Concept
BeschreibungOrganizing Institutions: Leiden University (Netherlands) & The University of Bonn (Germany)
Location: Leiden
Date: May 30-June 1, 2012
Organizers: Prof. Dr. Christian Moser (Bonn) & Dr. Maria Boletsi (Leiden)

The notion of “barbarism” and the figure of the “barbarian” have captivated the Western imagination and been a constant part of our vocabulary since Greek antiquity. In the age-old opposition between civilized and barbarian, the “barbarian” supports the superiority of those who assume the status of the “civilized.” “Barbarism” reinforces the discourse of “civilization” by functioning as its antipode. Today, both terms figure prominently in political rhetoric, the media, historiography, and everyday speech, and their use carries an air of self-evidence: there appears to be a silent consensus on what barbarism means or who a barbarian is. However, while the persistence of the civilization / barbarism opposition in Western history indicates the power and violence of this binary mode of thinking, the “barbarian” also carries different stories. These stories involve reversals of the hierarchy between civilized and barbarian; instances of critique and renegotiation of the concept of barbarism; attempts to recast the “barbarian” in positive terms, as a force of renewal of a decaying civilization; and reconceptualizations of barbarism as a discursive challenge to predominant modes of exercising political power.
This conference brings together a wide range of perspectives on barbarism and the figure of the barbarian, in order to reclaim the complexity and versatility of these notions, revisit their genealogy, chart their diverse meanings and uses in history and in the present, and tease out their critical thrust. The scope of this conference is simultaneously broad and very specific: it aims to stimulate interdisciplinary dialogues on the “barbarian,” while putting the emphasis on the specificity of this category, as it intersects, overlaps, or clashes with other categories of otherness. By zooming in on the barbarian, we wish to follow its travels across historical periods, cultural contexts, discourses, genres, media, and disciplinary fields; follow the cultural and political implications of its various uses and abuses; place “barbarism” or the “barbarian” in unfamiliar discursive constellations; interrogate the binary opposition in which these concepts are implicated; and discuss new meanings and creative or dangerous uses of the “barbarian” today.
What insights can we gain by retracing the uses of barbarism in history? What could be the implications of revisiting barbarism and its genealogy for our contemporary cultural and social realities? Can the concept contribute to, and critically intervene in, current debates on globalization, postnationalism, multiculturalism, post-sovereignty, and communication models?
How do subjects that are labeled as “barbarians” “hijack” the trope of the barbarian from dominant discourses and use it in their own subversive and critical projects? How can we listen to the “noise” of “barbarian” others, allowing it to take effect in our own languages?
Can barbarism intervene in our discursive frameworks and inspire new modes of knowing and theorizing, as well as alternative (inter)disciplinary practices and methodologies that can help us rethink our roles as scholars?

P R O G R A M M:

Wednesday, May 30 2012

12:00-13:00: Registration (Academiegebouw, ground floor)
13:00-13:30: Welcoming words by conference organizers (Academiegebouw, Klein Auditorium)

13:30-15:00: Keynote lecture by Prof. François Hartog: “The Greeks, the Barbarians, the Others in the antiquity and beyond” (Academiegebouw, Klein Auditorium)

15:30-18:00: Parallel Panels: Barbarism historically: the concept’s genealogy

Panel I: Conceptual and cultural histories of barbarism (Lipsius, room 147)

Markus Winkler: Towards a Cultural History of Barbarism from the 18th Century to the Present: Outlines of a Project

Paul Smith: A Short Conceptual History of Barbarism from the Perspective of Montaigne’s essay Des cannibals (1580)

Christian Moser: Barbarism as a Liminal Concept

Panel II: Barbarian configurations in classic and medieval settings (M. de Vrieshof 4, room 008a)

Miryana Dimitrova: ‘Barbarians’ on Julius Caesar’s Roman Stage: Revisiting the General’s Triumphs in the Light of Histrionic Presentation of Self and Enemy

Daniel Wendt: Laughing at the Barbarians: On Barbarism and Humour in Ancient Greece and Rome

Carla Dauven-van Knippenberg / Clara Strijbosch: Evil Pleasures. Barbarian Behaviour in Medieval Texts

Elke Brüggen & Franz-Josef Holznagel: Des künic Etzelen man – The Huns in Fritz Lang’s Silent Movie Classic Kriemhilds Rache and in the Nibelungenlied.

19:00: Conference Dinner (Scheltema Complex)

Thursday, May 31 2012

09:00-11:00: Parallel Panels: Aesthetics and Enlightenment

Panel I: The aesthetics and ethics of the barbarian (Lipsius, room 148)

Reinhard M. Möller: Sublime Barbarism? Affinities between the Barbarian and the Sublime in 18th Century Aesthetics

Tim Albrecht: Trusting Barbarians in Franz Grillparzer’s Das goldene Vließ (1819)

Ingrid Hanson: William Morris’s Barbarians and the Ethics of Beautiful War

Panel II: Barbarian (de)constructions of state and religion (M. de Vrieshof 4, room 008a)

Madeleine Kasten: European Enlightenment and its Muslim Other: Constructing the Barbarian in Voltaire’s Mahomet ou le fanatisme (1741)

Steven Howe: “Der Sitz der jungen, lieblichen Gefühle, um eines Wahns, barbarisch – ”: Savagery, Barbarism and the Revolutionary State in Heinrich von Kleist’s Penthesilea (1808)

Christian Cwik & Verena Muth: Barbarisation of Caribbean Amerindians in the 18th century

11:00-11:30: Coffee/tea (Academiegebouw, ground floor)

11:30-13:00: Keynote lecture by Prof. Natalie Melas “Barbarian Conversions: Nature, Form and the Primitive Within” (Academiegebouw, Klein Auditorium)

13:00-14:00: Lunch (Lipsius restaurant, ground floor)

14:00-15:30: Parallel Panels: Barbarians across cultures

Panel I: Barbarian constructions in literary narratives (Lipsius, room 148)

Bill Stratton: ‘Sustained by his fellow men:’ Barbarism and Ever-Present Spectre of the American Frontier.

Omar Moumni: Barbary Captivity Narratives and Resistance in Early English Fiction

Panel II: Barbarian constructions beyond Europe (M. de Vrieshof 4, room 008a)

Priya Swamy: Tantrism and the ‘Hindu Barbarian’

Sinkwan Cheng: The Return of the Barbarians: Chinese Subaltern Discourse after 1858

16:30-18:00: Evening lecture by Prof. Terry Eagleton: “The Barbarian in the Citadel” (Academiegebouw, Groot Auditorium)

12:00- 22:00: “Cultuur?Barbaar!” (whole-day parallel art event at Scheltema Complex)

Friday, June 1 2012

10:00-12:00: Parallel Panels: Barbarian methodologies and modes of theorizing

Panel I: Barbarism in Walter Benjamin’s thought (Lipsius, room 148)

Christopher Leslie: Benjamin and the Stages of Civilization

Georgios Sagriotis: Barbarians and their Cult: On Walter Benjamins Concept of New Barbarism.

Eric Jarosinski: “‘Barbarism? Yes, Indeed.’: Cultivating Walter Benjamin’s Unruly Interventions”

Panel II: Barbarism and/in modernity (M. de Vrieshof 4, room 008a)

Anna-Maria Valerius: “Barbarians Betwixt and Between. Funerary Rites and Mourning in post-World War II literature”

Marco de Waard: Mr. Sammler’s Creaturely Planet: Rethinking Barbarism and Civilization

Rico Sneller: Paving a Way to the Barbarian Mind Set. Goldensohn’s Nuremberg Interviews Compared to Bataille’s Approach of Gilles de Rais, Erzebeth Bathory and Marquis de Sade.

12:00-13:00: Lunch (Lipsius restaurant, ground floor)

13:00-15:00: Parallel Panels: Barbarism today - from critique to creativity?

Panel I: Barbarism in contemporary rhetoric (Lipsius, room 148)

Liesbeth Minnaard: A Novel of Multicultural Downfall, Or Pushing the Rhetoric of Threat in the Debate on Migration To Its Limits

Nikos Patelis: “’Ultimi Barbarorum’: Eloquence and Subjectivity in 21st century Social Movements.”

Terri R. Baker: Barbarism and Religion in Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall

Panel II: Barbarian interventions in art, sociology, and literature (M. de Vrieshof 4, room 008a)

Marjan Groot: BioDesign as Creative Barbaric Intervention

Eveline Reisenauer: The Simultaneity of the Non-Simultaneous

Admission to the keynote lectures is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact the conference organizers at and visit the conference's website (
Quelle der BeschreibungInformation des Anbieters
Verknüpfte Ressource
PersonName: Moser, Christian [Prof. Dr.] 
Funktion: Koordinator 
Name: Boletsi, Maria [Dr.] 
Funktion: Koordinator 
KontaktdatenName/Institution: Institut für Germanistik, Vergleichende Literatur- und Kulturwissenschaft der Universität Bonn 
Strasse/Postfach: Am Hof 1d 
Postleitzahl: 53113 
Stadt: Bonn 
Telefon: +49 228 73 7767 
SchlüsselbegriffeSprache und Gesellschaft (Diskursanalyse, Ethnographie, Sprachkritik, Sprachplanung, Sprachpolitik); Historische Semantik (Wissensgeschichte, Mentalitätsgeschichte, Ideengeschichte); Komparatistik (Kulturvergleich, Interkulturelle Literaturwissenschaft)
Ediert von  H-Germanistik
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