CFP: GSA-Seminar 2018: Feeling Beyond the Human: Animals, AI, Machines, Pittsburgh, USA (26.01.2018)

Derek Hillard's picture

By Derek Hillard

Call for Abstracts: German Studies Association 2018 (Pittsburgh, Sept 27-30, 2018)

Deadline for Submissions: 26 January 2018

“Feeling Beyond the Human: Animals, AI, Machines”

(Seminar sponsored by the GSA Emotion Studies Network)


Over the past few decades, a ‘non-human turn’ has emerged in academic disciplines. This seminar aims to investigate non-human subjectivity and human-animal and human-machine interactions from the interdisciplinary perspective of emotion studies. Do ‘non-humans,’ such as animals and robots, have emotional lives? How have interactions with animals and machines influenced humans? Why and how have relationships between humans and non-humans been imagined differently over time? Descartes defined animals as automata mechanica, which meant they were without emotions. Darwin believed animal behavior revealed the functional story of emotions. In Kafka’s Die Verwandlung, the impact of music on Gregor calls into question the human/non-human divide. Responding to the historical, social, and cultural changes of their time, writers like those above have given creative expression to questions and anxieties about the core of human identity. Studies of ‘non-human’ subjectivity and emotions disrupt binaries such as human-machine and human-animal and ask us to reconsider what it means to be human. 

This three-day seminar seeks to continue the work of the Emotion Studies Network and push participants to think about emotions in German history, literature, and culture in radically new ways. We hope to break new ground by building upon recent research in animal studies, artificial intelligence, and emotion studies. The emotional lives of animals and the capacity of robots to develop feelings have recently been recent topics of debate in the sciences, but researchers in the humanities and social sciences have much to contribute to these debates. Seminar participants will be asked to submit a paper of 5-6 pages three weeks before the conference. Pre-circulated papers will be grouped into three themes (one per day of the seminar) and discussed in turn along with a theoretical or methodological text.


Please submit a 300-word abstract of what you would like to contribute to the seminar and a brief bio. Applications for seminar enrollment are due by 26 January 2018, respnses will be sent out by 2 February. Please visit the GSA website and apply electronically at

Please contact conveners, Derek Hillard (, Holly Yanacek (, or Erika Quinn (, with any questions. For more information about the 2018 German Studies Association Conference, see here:


Diese Ankündigung wurde von H-GERMANISTIK [Lukas Büsse] betreut –

Categories: CFP