CFP: GSA 2021 - Seminar: Tradition and Discontinuity: The Early Modern Period as Solitary Era, Indianapolis (25.01.2021)

Oliver Bach's picture

Type: Call for Papers

Date: September 30, 2021 to October 3, 2021

Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

Subject Fields: Early Modern History and Period Studies, German History / Studies, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, Intellectual History


Franz X. Fromholzer (Universität Augsburg, DE)
Oliver L. Bach (University of Pennsylvania, PA / LMU München, DE)


The Early Modern Period has been recognized as a transition period for ancient and medieval traditions (Hoefele/Mueller/Oesterreicher 2013). However, many of the earlier traditions this period adopted were later denied by subsequent eras. Conversely, the Early Modern Period was also one of innovation; it established entirely new literary genres (e.g., utopian literature, journalism) and operated as a staging ground for the 'new science' (Bacon, Descartes, Leibniz). Is the Early Modern Period a final stage or a new beginning, or is it perhaps neither? Participants in this seminar will continue the ongoing debates on the "legitimacy of the Modern Age" (Blumenberg) and will question the supposedly regressive character of early modern literature (Schlaffer) and its liminal classification (Foucault). The seminar seeks to query ways in which the Early Modern Period created new forms of thinking and writing that neither emanated from antiquity and the Medieval Ages nor continued after 1750 and to discuss the status of the Early Modern Period as "solitary era" and its academic value in German Studies.


Participants will be required to write a short paper (maximum 2500 words) reflecting on their approach to their current research in Early Modern Studies; another seminar member will serve as a respondent and discussion leader for that paper. All papers will circulate by the end of August 2021 so all participants will have time to read and prepare. In late spring 2021, the conveners will send three-four theoretical essays on this topic to stimulate their preparation.

Goals and Procedures:

This seminar seeks to bring together North American and European scholars working in the Early Modern Period in order to forge a transatlantic interdisciplinary dialogue. Overarching questions we shall seek to address include:

  1. What are the "solitary" ways of writing and thinking in early modern times? Is there a specific otherness of the early modern period? Do they have origins we can analyze (Cooper 2013)?
  2. How do we define "early modern" in German Studies? (Dubrow/Dolan 1994, Cave 2006, Greenberg 2013)
  3. Should there be intensified cooperation with other language and history departments? Can this elucidate the relation and difference of "early modern" and "early colonial" (Loomba 2014) How can early modern scholars best coordinate and promote their research agendas?
How to apply:

To participate, please visit the GSA website and apply electronically by January 25th, 2021 

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact the conveners, Franz X. Fromholzer ( and Oliver L. Bach (

Contact Info: 

PD Dr. phil.habil. Franz Fromholzer
Akademischer Rat a. Z.
Universität Augsburg
Philologisch-Historische Fakultät
Universitätsstr. 10
86159 Augsburg

Dr. Oliver Bach
Visiting Scholar
University of Pennsylvania
Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures
745 Williams Hall, 255 South 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Contact Email:


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

Diese Ankündigung wurde von H-GERMANISTIK [Johannes Schmidt] betreut –