CFP: NeMLA Boston: Alexander von Humboldt and Friends (20.09.2019)

Pascale LaFountain's picture


Cosmos and Community: 250 Years of Alexander von Humboldt 

(Sep 20, 2019; March 5-8 2020)


To be held at the 2020 Northeastern Modern Language Association (NeMLA) convention in Boston. 


The theme of the 2020 Northeastern Modern Language Association’s annual convention is “Shaping and Sharing Identities: Spaces, Places, Languages, and Cultures.” Few authors’ works speak more directly to this topic than those of Alexander von Humboldt. Alexander von Humboldt, whose 250th birthday is being commemorated around the world this year, redefined many areas of German scientific life. As a botanist, ethnologist, cartographer, meteorologist, and linguist interested in all aspects of the “Cosmos,” Humboldt sought to understand every intricacy of the natural world, creating for himself a persona so strong that Andrea Wulf’s 2015 bestseller credits him with “the invention of nature” as we know it today. 

            This panel is interested in Humboldt’s work and legacy, as well as the contributions of his contemporaries.


Topics might include, but are not limited to: 

  • Humboldt’s modes of inquiry and/or narrative styles.
  • Studies on those who have followed in Humboldt’s footsteps or built on his legacy. 
  • Humboldt’s international relationships and his portrayal of global intellectual exchange.
  • Works by Goethe and other contemporaries that reflect the culture of this time period.
  • Works that build on conceptions of "nature" since this time period.
  • Critical considerations of recent “250 Jahre Alexander von Humboldt” commemorative events.

Please submit abstracts of approximately 250 words, including the submitter’s biographical information through the NeMLA website:


Submission deadline: September 20, 2019

For inquiries about the panel, contact: 

Pascale LaFountain, Assistant Professor of German and French, Montclair State University (