CFP: GSA-Panel Series 2020: The Concept of the Masses in Literature, Visual Arts, and Theory, Washington, D.C. (15.01.2020)

Jennifer Jenkins's picture

Dear Colleagues,


We invite you to submit an abstract to a series of interdisciplinary panels on “The Concept of the Masses in Literature, Visual Arts, and Theory” for the upcoming GSA conference in Washington, D.C. (October 1-4, 2020); details below.




Jennifer Jenkins (Pacific Lutheran University)

Kristopher Imbrigotta (University of Puget Sound)




Call for Papers: The Concept of the Masses in Literature, Visual Arts, and Theory


Forty-fourth Annual Conference of the German Studies Association

October 1-4, 2020, Washington, D.C.


Since the turn of the millennium, scholars working in varied disciplines have approached the concept of the masses with a number of different analytical tools, including those of literary history (Münz-Koenen & Schäffner, Eds., Masse und Medium. Verschiebungen in der Ordnung des Wissens und der Ort der Literatur 1800/2000, 2002 and Zeller, „Einer von Millionen Gleichen.“ Masse und Individuum im Zeitroman der Weimarer Republik, 2011), discourse analysis (Schettler, Berlin, Wien… Wovon man spricht: Das Thema Masse in deutschsprachigen Texten der zwanziger und Anfang der dreißiger Jahre, 2006), the history of ideas (Gamper, Masse lesen, Masse schreiben. Eine Diskurs- und Imaginationsgeschichte der Menschenmenge 1765-1930, 2007), psychology and literature (Wälchli, Poetik und Massenpsychologie. Zur Funktion der Dichtung bei Freud, 2010), and cultural history and political theory (Jonsson, A Brief History of the Masses: Three Revolutions, 2008 and Crowds and Democracy. The Idea and Image of the Masses from Revolution to Fascism, 2013), to name just a few.


This series of interdisciplinary panels aims to build on that work and to seek new approaches to engaging the concept of the masses.


Possible topics include, but are not limited to:


  • Poetics of the masses; textual constitution of the masses
  • The masses as narrative problem
  • Representations of the masses in drama
  • Metaphors & symbols of the masses
  • The masses and myth
  • Literary engagement with mass psychosis
  • Cultural, philosophical & psychological theories of the masses (Freud, le Bon, Reich, Tillich, Broch, Canetti, etc.)
  • The masses and “Rausch”
  • Gendered masses (the masses as “Weib”)
  • Representation of the masses in the visual arts
  • The figure of the “Massenmensch”
  • The masses and the metropolis
  • The masses and fascist aesthetics
  • Conceptions of early cinema as mass medium
  • Technology and the masses
  • The masses and processes of cultural democratization
  • Critical mass: environment, nature, and human masses


Please send a 350-600-word abstract in English or German and a 150-word bio by January 15, 2020 to both organizers, Jennifer Jenkins ( and Kristopher Imbrigotta (, also indicating your willingness to serve as commentator and/or moderator for a panel in this series in which you are not presenting.


Further information about the GSA conference can be found here:



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

Diese Ankündigung wurde von H-GERMANISTIK [Constanze Baum] betreut –