CONF: Narrating and Constructing the Beach, 14–16 June 2018 (Munich)

Roxanne Phillips's picture

The Class of Literature at the Graduate School Language & Literature Munich (LMU Munich), in partnership with the Amerikahaus Munich and Bavarian American Academy, cordially invites you to the interdisciplinary and international Conference Narrating and Constructing the Beach.

The beach confronts us with crucial issues of our times: migration, postcolonial relations and mass tourism, climate change and pollution, as well as gender and burkini swimwear controversies are among the numerous conflicts, discourses, and practices that manifest within this liminal zone and that find their focal point there. The international and interdisciplinary conference examines how the experience of the beach and its complex imaginaries are constructed through art, society, and culture and goes on to ask if and how ‘the beach’ shapes poetics and aesthetics. It aims at a systematic analysis of the global varieties of the beach, viewed as a (border) phenomenon in its own right, at once in historical depth and in relation to contemporary debates.

Dates: Thursday 14 – Saturday 16 June, 2018

Venue: Amerikahaus Munich (Barer Straße 19a)

Talks will be given in English or German by 20 scholars and professors from different disciplines, with two poetry performances.


Our two keynote speakers are:

Michael T. Taussig, Professor of Anthropology from Columbia University, New York: The Disappearance of the Sea and its Phantasmatic Return (Thursday, 14 June at 19.00 followed by a reception). Please register via

Virginia Richter, Professor of Modern English Literature from the University of Bern: Stranded. The Beach as Ultimate Destination (Friday, 15 June at 9.30 a.m.).



Thursday, 14 June 2018

9:30 Conference Introduction

10:00 Barbara Vinken (Munich): Stoff und Strand: Weniger ist mehr?

11:15 Anna Maria Mullally (Dublin): Taking the Plunge: Irish Women, the Beach and Emancipation (1870–1936)

12:00 Carol Bunch Davis (Galveston): Building a Black Sense of Place: Galveston’s African American Beaches and Lifeguards 1930–1970

14:30 Jeannot Moukouri Ekobe (Munich): Raum der Machtlosigkeit, Ort der Übergangslosigkeit: Der Strand als Abweichungsheterotopie in der Literatur von ‘Afropäern’

15:15 Ursula Kluwick (Bern): Bodies Arriving on the Beach

16:30 Nadja Grasselli / Federico Robol (Leipzig): S h o r e l i n e s & S p a c e s (Reading & Sounds)

16:45 Florian Auerochs (Vechta): Müll/spill. Litorale ‘Petro-Topien’ in der Umweltfotografie

17:30 On Barak (Tel Aviv / Berlin): On Heat: Cultural Vibrancy and Environmental Crisis in the Middle Eastern Beach

19:00 Keynote: Michael T. Taussig (New York): The Disappearance of the Sea and its Phantasmatic Return

We ask you to please register for the keynote lecture by Michael Taussig via this link:


Friday, 15 June 2018

9:30 Keynote: Virginia Richter (Bern): Stranded. The Beach as Ultimate Destination

11:30 Carmen Ulrich (Wuppertal): Strandbekanntschaften in Georg Forsters Reise um die Welt und das europäische Projekt ‘Zivilisation’

12:15 Robert Bauernfeind (Augsburg): Der Strand als Bühne der Wunder. Das exotische Litoral in der flämischen Malerei des 17. Jahrhunderts

14:45 Konstantin Butz (Cologne): Surfing the Asphalted Beach: Maritime Voyages through Spaces of American Concrete

15:30 Dietrich Erben (Munich): Spuren und Bauten. Zur gebauten Ökologie des Strandes

16:45 Mark Olival-Bartley (Munich): The Prelude of Oneawa (Poetry Reading)

17:00 Roxanne Phillips (Munich): Time and Tide again. Permeable Spaces and Sensory Perceptions of the Beach in Theodor Storm’s Aquis submersus and David E. Kelley’s Big Little Lies

17:45 Christian Begemann (Munich): Stimmen über der Tiefe, gärender Schlamm, Wasserleichen: Strandzonen als Räume ‘transzendentaler Obdachlosigkeit’ bei Theodor Storm


Saturday, 16 June 2018

9:30 Myrto Stenou (Athens): Constructed Heterotopias by the Sea

10:30 Désirée Mangard / Miriam Strieder (Innsbruck): Wechselnde Gezeiten: Der Strand als Schauplatz für Wendepunkte in Heldendichtung und höfischer Literatur des Mittelalters

11:15 Thérèse De Raedt (Salt Lake City): Figuring the Intertidal Zones of Senegalese Beaches

12:15 Jack Parlett (Cambridge): Sex on the Beach: Gay Bodies on ‘70s Fire Island

13:00 Alberto Napoli (Bern): ‘Stile Balneare’: Narrating Summer on the Beach in Italian Popular Songs, 1960s–1980s

13:45 Concluding Discussion


For more information, please visit our website

We are looking forward to seeing you at the conference and the keynote lectures. Please also feel free to forward the invitation to those who are interested.

Please contact us for further questions via:

Admission is free.


Organizing Team: Carina Breidenbach, Stefan Brückl, Jeannot Moukouri Ekobe, Tamara Fröhler, Ines Ghalleb, Dominik Pensel, Roxanne Phillips, Katharina Simon, Florian Telsnig, and Martin Wittmann.

Graduate School Language & Literature Munich – Class of Literature (Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich)

In cooperation with: The Bavarian American Academy and Amerikahaus München

Sponsored by: The GraduateCenterLMU and Brillen Schneider