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Ergebnisanzeige "Discovering the Human- Life Sciences and the Arts in the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries"
RessourcentypKonferenzen, Tagungen, Kolloquien
TitelDiscovering the Human- Life Sciences and the Arts in the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries
BeschreibungInternational Conference at the Department of English and American Studies
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

10 - 12 September 2009

According to common scholarly opinion, the eighteenth century is not an era particularly famous for its groundbreaking scientific discoveries. Considering the innovations in the so-called life sciences, e.g. the emergence of modern neuroscience or the experiments of Galvani, this belief may be disputed. Although the eighteenth century undoubtedly also has to be characterized, as the late Roy Porter has pointed out, by the terms "acceptance", "consolidation", and "assimilation", the scientific landscape of the era, as latest research has emphasized, is much more complex and has a lot more to offer. In this context, the conference will focus on the life sciences, i.e. medicine, natural philosophy, physiology, psychology, and, at the close of the century, the emerging discipline of biology, in order to highlight how the discovery of the human is both the result of transformative processes as well as new discoveries and insights.

For the contemporary concept of the human, these transformations were indeed groundbreaking since they brought about a shift from the previous worldview dominated by religion to the modern scientific one. Science, hence, became an accepted cultural reality in the age of reason and in romanticism and was, as such, reflected, commented on, and criticized in literature and other cultural discourses. At the same time, traditional religious viewpoints remained of major importance in all major scientific disciplines. The conference aims to reflect the parallel and often contradictory discourses contributing to the construction and/or discovery of the human.

As the concept of the human was altered due to the gradual spreading of scientific knowledge, so did the depiction of the human change in literature and the arts. Since the two cultures, art and science, were not yet distinguished categories but rather closely intertwined, the modern concept of the human is a result of scientific-aesthetic negotiations.

The complex debates revolving around mechanism, vitalism, and materialism in order to define the nature of life in general are a case in point. The mechanistic physiology in the tradition of René Descartes that had replaced classical medical models such as the theory of the four humours gradually, as the century proceeded, made way for more holistic notions such as vitalism and a materialism based on the conception of the human and animal body as a self-sufficient organism, which is the prerequisite for the discovery of the human. And at times it is hard to say whether central texts, such as the works of Erasmus Darwin, are to be called science or poetry.


Thursday, 10 September 2009
Dorotheenstr. 24, Reutersaal

Registration at the Reutersaal, Dorotheenstr. 24

Conference Opening and Welcome Address by Michael Kämper-van den Bogaart, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities II

Plenary Lecture: George S. Rousseau (Oxford):
'Nervous Energies, Structural Forms, and Pictures in the Mind: Confronting the Language of the Soul'

Chamber Concert
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Klaviertrio Op. 49
George Rousseau (Grand Piano), Serge Verheylewegen (Violin), SoJung Lee (Cello)

Conference Warming

Friday, 11 September 2009
All day Registration at Dorotheenstr. 24, 1.501

Unter den Linden 6, 1064a

Sabine Blackmore & Ralf Haekel (Berlin & Göttingen)

Sharon Ruston (Salford):
'Romanticism and Vitality'

Dorotheenstr. 24, 1.501

Coffee Break

Imke Pannen (Bonn):
'Finch's Spleen'

Christoph Heyl (Frankfurt/Main):
'William Hogarth, Science and Human Nature'

Armina Grunewald (Berlin):
'The Art of Anatomy'


Hania Siebenpfeiffer (Wien/Greifswald):
'(Imagining) First Contact: Literary Encounters of the extraterrestrial Other in 17th and 18th-centuries novels'

Sladja Blazan (New York/Berlin):
'In Light of the Enlightenment: The Irrational'

Coffee Break

Felix C. H. Sprang (Hamburg): 'The Life of Plants and the Discovery of the Human in Erasmus Darwin's The Botanic Garden (1799) and Hugo von Mohl's Über den Bau und das Winden der Ranken und Schlingpflanzen (1827)'

Catherine Clinger (Montreal):
'Below the Surface: The Cavernous Culture of Ear, Nose, and Throat Medicine in the Romantic Age'

Conference Dinner

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Helga Schwalm (Berlin): 'Lives of the Scientists'

Mascha Gemmecke (Greifswald): '"Scientific Wives": Eighteenth-Century Women and Sciences'

Coffee Break

Birgit Kaiser (Utrecht): 'Electrified humans - intersecting ideas of the human and life in early Romanticism'

Ulrike Kristina Köhler (Lüneburg):
'Women and Science in the Female Gothic. A Subtle Pledge for Female Education in Science'

Ute Berns (Berlin):
'Frankensteinian Science in Mary Shelley's Novel its Visualization on Film'


Ben Dawson (London): 'The Self-Experience of the Romantic 'Actionist''

Antje Dallmann (Berlin):
'"Victim of Men's Ingenuity and of Thwarted Nature": The Wicked Doctor, Evil Science, and the Creation of a Monstrous Human Body In Nathaniel Hawthorne 's Fiction'

Coffee Break

Annika Lingner (Leipzig):
'"Wir drehen uns eine Zeitlang in diesem Platz herum wie die anderen Räder." Between Mechanism and Vitalism – on the Mediality of the body in Goethe's Götz von Berlichingen'

Tobias Leibold (Bochum):
'Communication between the Nervous Systems – Romanticist Neuroanatomy in G.H. Schubert's Works'

Sabine Blackmore (HU Berlin) and
Ralf Haekel (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen)

Sabine Blackmore, M.A.
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik
Unter den Linden 6
D-10099 Berlin
Tel.: +49/(0)30/2093-2067

Prof. Dr. Ralf Haekel
Juniorprofessor für Anglistische Literatur- und Kulturwissenschaft
Englisches Seminar
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Käte-Hamburger-Weg 3
D-37073 Göttingen
Tel.: 0551/39-7564

Quelle der BeschreibungInformation des Anbieters
Verknüpfte Ressource
PersonName: Haekel, Ralf [Prof. Dr.] 
Funktion: Veranstalter 
Name: Blackmore, Sabine [M.A.] 
Funktion: Veranstalter 
KontaktdatenName/Institution: Englisches Seminar Georg-August-Universität Göttingen  
Strasse/Postfach: Käte-Hamburger-Weg 3 
Postleitzahl: 37073 
Stadt: Göttingen 
Name/Institution: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik  
Strasse/Postfach: Unter den Linden 6  
Postleitzahl: 10099 
Stadt: Berlin 
Telefon: +49/(0)30/2093-2067  
SchlüsselbegriffeLiteraturwissenschaft; Historische Semantik (Wissensgeschichte, Mentalitätsgeschichte, Ideengeschichte); Komparatistik (Kulturvergleich, Interkulturelle Literaturwissenschaft); Literatur 1700 - 1770; Literatur 1770 - 1830
Klassifikation04.00.00 Allgemeine Literaturgeschichte > 04.03.00 Vergleichende Literaturgeschichte
Ediert von  H-Germanistik
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