[Milton-L] CUNY Graduate Center Conference Nov 8-9: "Rediscovering Erich Auerbach: A Dialogue between German and American Scholars on the 50th Anniversary of his Death"

Elsky, Martin MElsky at gc.cuny.edu
Tue Sep 25 12:17:51 EDT 2007

Miltonists may be intereated in the following conference:


"Rediscovering Erich Auerbach: A Dialogue between German and American Scholars on the 50th Anniversary of his Death"


A Collaborative Conference Organized by the CUNY Graduate Center, the University of California-Irvine, and the Zentrum für Kultur- und Literaturforschung  Berlin


Thursday, November 8, 2007, 5:30-8:00pm

Friday, November 9, 2007, 11:00am-7:00pm

The Graduate Center

City University of New York

365 Fifth Avenue (34 Street)

New York City

(titles and rooms to follow)


This conference is free and open to the public


This conference is presented in coordination with an 

International Symposium organized by Claudia Hahn-Raabe (Goethe-Institut Istanbul) und Martin Vialon (Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung Berlin/Yeditepe University Istanbul):


Teutonia-Haus, Tünel-Beyoglu

Istanbul, Turkey

December 14-15, 2007


This conference will bring together scholars from the US and Germany to discuss the work of Erich Auerbach, the émigré German-Jewish scholar who, after exile in Istanbul from National Socialism, changed the shape of American literary criticism for a generation. The conference will focus on Auerbach from two directions, his connection to contemporary trends in literary and cultural theory, and the German, Jewish, and Turkish sources of his life and work, as informed by hitherto unknown archival material and personal correspondence. US and German scholars have reclaimed Auerbach as both a German scholar and as a Jewish scholar in Germany. 


The conference will present an image of Auerbach as a major cultural figure of the twentieth century: an intellectual whose thinking was shaped by his journey from Jewish and academic Berlin to the Bosporus to the US where the cosmopolitanism of his thought took root and continues to inspire new directions in literary criticism. Auerbach will emerge as the tri-continental scholar, a prototype of the exiled, migratory intellectual constantly reevaluating his own intertwined native traditions under the trauma of global changes brought about by two world wars. 


Stephen G. Nichols (Johns Hopkins University) will deliver the keynote address on "Fortuna, Fabula, Figura : Auerbach as Philosopher of the Secular World." Conference topics will include Auerbach's relationship to Walter Benjamin, Hans Blumenberg, and the Warburg Institute; the political context of Auerbach's figural interpretation; the impact of Jewish thought on Auerbach's philology; Auerbach, surrealism, and post-colonialism; Mimesis and migration.


The conference will include the voice of Auerbach himself on a newly discovered tape of a Dante lecture he delivered in 1948 at Penn State University soon after his arrival in the US.



Speakers will include:


Ackbar Abbas is Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of California-Irvine.  He is an expert on the European literary and theoretical tradition, and has participated in current debates about globalism in literature, theory, and film.   He is the former Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Globalization and Cultures at Hong Kong University and is renowned for his work on the culture of Hong Kong, including his celebrated book, Hong Kong: Culture and the Politics of Disappearance.


Karlheinz Barck is the Associate Director of the Zentrum für Kultur- und Literaturforschung Berlin, a major research center that has been behind the revival of interest in Auerbach in Germany through conferences and publications. Best known in the United States for his publication of the correspondence of Auerbach and Walter Benjamin, he has made available the works of Werner Krauss, Auerbach's last university student before Auerbach was forced to leave Germany, and one of Auerbach's main contacts in Germany during the war. He is an expert on the on the intellectual life of the Weimar Republic as it reeled toward National Socialism, including groundbreaking work on the relation between Auerbach and Benjamin.  A specialist in modern Spanish and French literature, he has written widely on the disciplinary history of literary studies, and the history and theory of aesthetics, including a seven-volume Historical Encyclopedia of Aesthetics. 


Matthias Bormuth is Professor of Ethics and Medicine at the Universität Tübingen, Germany.  A specialist in the history of the intersections of literature, art, culture, and psychoanalysis in the work of early twentieth century intellectuals, he has opened new avenues of research in his work on Auerbach's relationship to the circle of Max Weber and to other war-time exiles like the philosopher Karl Löwith.  He is the editor of the medical correspondence of Karl Jaspers, as well as of the correspondence of Löwith und the psychoanalyst Ludwig Binswanger. He is the author of Life Conduct in Modern Times: Karl Jaspers and Psychoanalysis.


Alexander Gelley is Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of California-Irvine. A widely published and much honored specialist in eighteenth and nineteenth-century English and comparative literature, his research interests include German-Jewish literature and culture. In addition to monographs on literary theory, he has written on the German-Jewish symbiosis, Gershom Scholem, and Walter Benjamin. He is currently completing a book project on Walter Benjamin's aesthetics, literary theory, and urban culture in particular.


James Porter is Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan and is Visiting Professor of Classics at the University of California-Irvine. Widely known for his work on Greek and Latin literature and philosophy, his research interests include literary criticism and aesthetics, literary and cultural theory, the history of the classical ideal and classical disciplines. Editor of an Oxford University Press series on classical reception, he has written on Nietzsche, Saussure and Derrida, Freud, Foucault.  He is currently engaged in a study of the contribution of Jewish scholars to the study of philology. Most recently he has written on the Jewish context of Auerbach's literary history, and is editor of a forthcoming translation of Auerbach's essays. 


Jane O. Newman is Professor of Comparative Literature at UC Irvine, where she teaches Renaissance and Early Modern Comparative Studies and is Director of the Program in European Studies.  Her publications include Pastoral Conventions, The Intervention of Philology, and essays on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English and Central European literature and culture, the disciplinary history of Renaissance and Baroque Studies, and Feminist Studies. Most recently the author of an essay on Fritz Strich, Judah Magnes, and Walter Benjamin, she is currently completing a book entitled "Benjamin's Library: The Afterlives of the Baroque."  


Stephen G. Nichols is James M. Beall Professor of French and Humanities and chair of the Department of German and Romance Languages and Literatures at the Johns Hopkins University. A much honored, widely published specialist in medieval literature in its relations with history, philosophy, and history of art, he is co-editor of a prize-winning, recently reprinted volume of studies viewing Auerbach's concept of mimesis in the light of post-structural theory, Mimesis: From Mirror to Method, Augustine to Descartes, and editor of the prize winning special issue of Poetics Today on the New Philology.  He has also written on Auerbach's concept of "figura" as it relates to historiography both in the Middle Ages and in the post-Revolutionary revision of French history under the Restoration in France.  


Martin Treml is a member of the Zentrum für Kultur- und Literaturforschung Berlin, where he works on the history of religious studies, with a particular focus on the history of Judaism. In 1999-2000, he was a Research Fellow at the Franz Rosenzweig Center for German-Jewish Literary and Cultural History at the University of Jerusalem. In Berlin, he coordinates research projects on the "Sacred in the Dialectic of Secularization" and "Theaters and Figures of European Cultural History." He is the editor of the first volume of Martin Buber's works and has published numerous essays on the afterlives of ancient Greek cults in the modern era. He is currently completing a lengthy project on the work of the early twentieth-century German-Jewish art historian and cultural theorist, Aby Warburg. 


Martin Vialon is a member of the Zentrum für Kultur- und Literaturforschung Berlin, and Assistant Professor of English, German, Critical Theory and Philosophy at Yeditepe University in Istanbul. His work on Auerbach began with his dissertation, written at the University of Marburg, where Auerbach was director of the Romanisches Seminar. He has written widely on twentieth-century German philosophy, and is editor of Auerbach's letters to Martin Hellweg, Auerbach's assistant in Marburg, and Karl Vossler, who helped Auerbach escape Germany. He is currently at work on a major edition of Auerbach's collected letters. 



Conference organizers:


Jane Newman (University of California-Irvine)

Martin Elsky (The Graduate Center and Brooklyn College, CUNY)


Conference sponsors:


Office of Research and Graduate Studies, University of California, Irvine 

Renaissance Studies Certificate Program, CUNY Graduate Center

Zentrum für Kultur- und Literaturforschung Berlin

Center for the Humanities, CUNY Graduate Center

Center for Jewish Studies, CUNY Graduate Center

Ph.D. Programs in English and Comparative Literature, CUNY Graduate Center

Medieval Studies Certificate Program, CUNY Graduate Center            


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