Wer-Was-Wo - Detailanzeige

Ergebnisanzeige "Benjamin's Constellations (ACLA-Panel)"
RessourcentypCall for Papers
TitelBenjamin's Constellations (ACLA-Panel)
BeschreibungThe 'thought image' of the constellation is one of the most prominent ones in Walter Benjamin's entire work. He refers to stellar constellations in a variety of contexts, such as his language philosophy ("On the Mimetic Faculty", "Doctrine of the Similar"), his literary texts ("One-Way Street", "Berlin Childhood"), his philosophy of time and history ("The Arcades Project", "Theses on the Concept of History"), his literary criticism ("Baudelaire Book", "Goethe's Elective Affinities"), his theory of the image ("Arcades Project"), and his epistemology ("Epistemo-Critical Prologue"). Throughout his oeuvre, Benjamin makes it very clear that constellation is a spatial concept. The likeness of German "Stelle" (place, position) and Latin "stella" (star) powerfully demonstrates this in a number of his writings – in "Goethe's Elective Affinities", for instance, Benjamin calls the image of the falling star the "Einbruch-Stelle" (irruption) of the novel. But constellations are also inherently temporal: Benjamin repeatedly mentions that stellar images (Sternbilder) are fleeting – and that the ability to read and decipher them is decaying with the progress of historical time. Reading constellations thus maps spatial and temporal orientation in texts, in time, and in perception. Simultaneously, constellations also refer to socio-economic and political contexts and maybe global and universal contexts. However, the constellation is not only a 'thought image', but it is also a method of presentation (Darstellung). For instance, textual (and sonic) constellations of language-fragments fleetingly give way to other, sometimes uncanny meanings of words as in the constellations of "Kleptomanin" (kleptomaniac) and "Ahnin" (ancestor) in his "Berlin Childhood", thus challenging the very concepts of 'reading' and 'hearing'.

The seminar aims to frame the notion of the constellation as both a 'thought image' and a methodological concept throughout Benjamin's philosophical and literary writings. We specifically welcome papers taking interdisciplinary approaches combining the insights of philosophy, (comparative) literature, sociology, history, art history, media studies, astrophysics, theology, etc. to enlighten the use of the concept and the method of constellation in Benjamin's writings. Possible discussion topics could include, but are in no way limited to the following:

- Reading Constellations: What specific text theory can be extracted from Benjamin's use of the term 'constellation'? What about the constellative character of Benjamin's literary critiques and his literary translations, especially the Baudelaire translations? How does Benjamin's constellation theory relate to Lukacs' "Theory of the Novel", for instance?
- Historical Constellations: How can one theorize Benjamin's notions of 'historical narrative' through the term constellation? Is there a general time theory represented through the method of constellation? How do "Jetztzeit" and constellation go together?
- Idea(l) Constellations: „Die Ideen sind ewige Konstellationen.“(I.1, 215) What specific influences of Leibniz’s monadology and Kant's transcendental philosophy can be seen in Benjamin's notion of constellation?
- Constellation and the Image: What is the dialectical image as a constellation? How can constellations be represented visually? What is a 'thought image'? Is there a specific theory of the image in Benjamin's aesthetics that informs his notion of constellation?
- Sociology's Constellations: How is Benjamin's concept of constellation linked to sociological discourses, such as Mannheim, Horkheimer, etc.? In how far is Benjamin's thinking of constellations connected to a dialectical view of Gesellschaft?
- Astrophysics, Mathematics, and Constellations: Is there a relationship between contemporary discoveries in astrophysics and mathematics and Benjamin's constellations?
- Theology and Constellations: „Die Ideen sind die Sterne im Gegensatz zu der Sonne der Offenbarung.“(GB 2, 393) How do religious and theological teachings and concepts (revelation, truth, sacred text, etc.) inform Benjamin's constellations? What about the fine line between theology and mysticism?

This seminar will be a panel at the annual American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA) meeting, taking place from April 4-7 in Toronto, Canada; see for more details.

Please submit a 250-words abstract by November 1st, 2012 at the latest through the following link: We accept papers both in English and in German.

A short seminar description can be found under

Caroline Sauter

Quelle der BeschreibungInformation des Anbieters
PersonName: Caroline Sauter 
SchlüsselbegriffeHistorische Semantik (Wissensgeschichte, Mentalitätsgeschichte, Ideengeschichte); Literatur 1880 - 1945; Literatur- u. Kulturgeschichte
Klassifikation17.00.00 20. Jahrhundert (1914-1945) > 17.03.00 Geistes- und Kulturgeschichte
Ediert von  H-Germanistik
Ein Angebot vonGermanistik im Netz
URL dieses Wer-Was-Wo-Datensatzes

© Virtuelle Fachbibliothek Germanistik | Letzte Änderung 17.10.2012 | Impressum | Intern