GSA-Panel 2023: Voices of Difference and Sturm und Drang, Montréal (Deadline 30 March 2023)

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Call for Papers

German Studies Association Conference

October 5-8, 2023

Montréal, Canada


Organizers: Mary Helen Dupree (Georgetown University) and Lisa Wille (Technical University of Darmstadt)

Until very recently, Sturm und Drang has been treated as a period that has been researched exhaustively. Over the last few years, however, this assessment has received some overdue corrections, with scholars on the one hand applying more scrutiny to the ‘blind’ spots of Sturm und Drang, one key example being Stefan Hermes’ 2021 study Figuren der Anderen: Völkerkundliche Anthropologie und Drama im Sturm und Drang, which engages with long-unasked questions about the staging of cultural difference in Sturm und Drang literature from an intercultural perspective. On the other hand, recent scholarship has sought to embed Sturm und Drang in a broader European context, e.g., with emphasis on Jonathan Israel’s concept of “radical” and “moderate” Enlightenment, as exemplified by the 2022 special issue of German Life and Letters on “Radical and Moderate Sturm und Drang” edited by Ellwood Wiggins and Martin Wagner.  Rereadings of these texts informed by newer theoretical approaches – e.g., intersectionality, interculturality, race, gender studies, sound studies, and media theory – can place Sturm und Drang in conversation with important present-day debates and issues within and outside of academia. Recent examples of this include Wendy Sutherland’s analysis of stage props and the staging of blackness in Karl Lessing’s drama Die Mätresse in her 2016 monograph; Lisa Wille’s resituation of the reception and knowledge history of Sturm und Drang in relation to present-day debates about #metoo and rape culture in her 2021 monograph on H.L. Wagner; and Mary Helen Dupree’s forthcoming analysis of language and Jewish identity in Lenz’ Die Soldaten (2022).

Inspired by more recent scholarship on Sturm und Drang as well as the 2022 workshop on Canonical Pressures hosted by the University of Toronto, this panel attempts to explore the voices of difference in and around canonical and non-canonical Sturm und Drang literature. In so doing, we want to discover new topics and aspects of Sturm und Drang as well as revise already established ones, with the help of new theoretical approaches and considerations. The focus will not only be on canonical authors of the Sturm und Drang such as Herder, Goethe, Lenz, Wagner, Hamann, Klinger or Bürger, but also on those whose texts reveal hidden or explicit “Voices of Difference”.

Please send a 250-word abstract and short bio by March 20, 2023 to Mary Helen Dupree ( and Lisa Wille (