KONF: "Poetic Critique", Berlin (27.-29.6.2019)

Jan Lietz's picture

Poetic Critique

27–29 June 2019, Indiana University Europe Gateway, Gneisenaustraße 27, 10961 Berlin-Kreuzberg

Poetic critique—is that not an oxymoron? Do these two forms of behavior—the poetic and the critical—not pull in different, even opposite, directions? For many scholars working in the humanities today, they largely do, but that has not always been so. Friedrich Schlegel, for one, believed that critique worthy of its name must be poetic. Only then does it stand a chance of responding adequately to the work of art. “Poetic critique,” he noted in his 1798 review of Goethe’s novel Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship, “will present anew what has been presented; it will wish to shape once again what has already been shaped; [the poetic critic] will complete the work, rejuvenate and refashion it.” It is an audacious notion of critique, one that has inspired thinkers such as Walter Benjamin. Yet it is also a notion that has failed to gain a firm foothold in literary studies as it transformed itself into an academic discipline.

Our conference seeks to put new life into the idea of poetic critique, but also to ask about its limits and limitations. What forms might critique take when practiced poetically? What is revealed by it and what concealed? Would it make a difference to speak of poetic criticism rather than of poetic critique? Can this practice be rigorous enough to maintain a right of citizenship in the academy? Might it open the way to modes of inquiry that leave behind suspicion and righteousness? How can it keep faith with the meaning of a work of art? Are there other ways of renewing critique? We invite scholars in the humanities to reflect on the promises and pitfalls of critique, and to consider whether a concept such as poetic critique (or poetic criticism) lends itself to enriching our intellectual practice. We welcome perspectives that not only contemplate poetic critique, but which also practice it.

The conference is organized by The Philological Laboratory – a research project initiated by Professor Michel Chaouli (Indiana University) that is funded by Einstein Stiftung Berlin and situated at the Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School for Literary Studies (Freie Universität Berlin). The aim of the project is to develop modes of engagement with art, literature, and philosophy that are not determined by prevailing modes of critique. Without necessarily becoming uncritical, we would like to develop a sensitivity for the limitations and pitfalls of critical routines. At the same time, we want to broaden our perspectives: Our goal is to develop modes of understanding that are experimental and that, at the same, can make a claim to validity. In short: We would like to be able to do justice to our experiences with artworks – to our curiosity, wonder, and surprise – without standing in judgment.


Thursday, June 27

15:00: Welcome                                                                                 

15:15-16:45: Panel 1

Eli Friedlander (Tel Aviv University): “On Criticism and Dogmatism in Aesthetics after Kant”

Stephen Best (UC Berkeley): “Acts of Critical Complicity”   

17:15-18:45: Panel 2

Jeff Dolven (Princeton University): “Poetry, Critique, Imitation”        

Jennifer Ashton (UI Chicago): “Why Adding ‘Poetic’ to ‘Critique’ Adds Nothing to Critique”       

Friday, June 28

11:15-12:45: Panel 3

Bettine Menke (Universität Erfurt): “Theater as Critical Praxis. Gesture and Citability”       

Alexander García Düttmann (Universität der Künste, Berlin): “Echo Reconciles”    

14:00-14:45: Panel 4

Dennis Tenen (Columbia University): “The Hermeneutics of (Algorithmically) Reconstructed Texts”                                                    

15:00-16:30: Panel 5

Jonathan Elmer (Indiana University): “On Not Forcing the Question: Criticism and Playing Along”

Walter Benn Michaels (UI Chicago): “Historicism’s Forms, or, the Aesthetics of Critique”

17:00-18:30: Panel 6

Yi-Ping Ong (Johns Hopkins): “Poetic Criticism and the Work of Fiction: Goethe, Joyce, and Coetzee”

Amit Chaudhuri (Writer, University of East Anglia): “Storytelling and Forgetfulness”         

Saturday, June 29                          

12:00-12:45: Panel 7

Viktoria Tkaczyk (HU Berlin): “Critiques of Broadcasting and the Making of Radio: A Challenge for the Humanities”                                      

14:00-15:30: Panel 8

Amanda Goldstein (UC Berkeley): “Relief Poetry and Material Revenge: The Other Darwin”

Joshua Kates (Indiana University): “The Silence of the Concepts”                           

15:45-16:30: Panel 9

Anne Eusterschulte (FU Berlin): “La chambre poétique: A critical debate between Sören Kierkegaard, Theodor W. Adorno and Roland Barthes”                                          

16:45-17:30: Final discussion with Sharon Marcus and Michel Chaouli                   

18:00: Concert with Amit Chaudhuri and Matt Hodges


Organizers: Prof. Michel Chaouli, Dr. Simon Schleusener, Jan Lietz

Sponsors: Einstein Stiftung Berlin, Freie Universität Berlin, Indiana University

Contact: Freie Universität Berlin, Friedrich Schlegel Graduiertenschule für literaturwissenschaftliche Studien, Das Philologische Laboratorium, Habelschwerdter Allee 45, 14195 Berlin, Mail: labor@fsgs.fu-berlin.de



Redaktion: Constanze Baum – Lukas Büsse – Mark-Georg Dehrmann – Nils Gelker – Markus Malo – Alexander Nebrig – Johannes Schmidt

Diese Ankündigung wurde von H-GERMANISTIK [Mark-Georg Dehrmann] betreut – editorial-germanistik@mail.h-net.msu.edu