CFP: GSA 2022: New Perspectives on Rilke and Phenomenology (14.03.2022)

Brad Harmon's picture

German Studies Association, Sept. 15-18, 2022, Houston, Texas


Rilke’s standing in literary studies is unquestioned, and his work has been particularly influential in the phenomenological tradition. Yet beyond the appropriation of his writing as illustrating the ideas of e.g. Heidegger, Gadamer, Merleau-Ponty and Käte Hamburger, Rilke’s work evinces a singular potential for new descriptors or new understandings for phenomenology. What does Rilke’s poetry “know” that phenomenology as a discipline doesn’t (yet), or that it doesn’t as fully account for as his work might? As methods and concepts of phenomenology evolve and expand, how do they transform our (re)interpretations of Rilke. In reverse, what does Rilke have to contribute to philosophical concerns in the present?

Potential topics could include “Rilke and”: traditional, existential and critical phenomenology; environmental philosophy/ecology; readerly experience and poetic time; voice; imagination and perception; translation, re-translation and interpretation; poetics of the senses; materiality and textuality. Comparative topics as well as topics that traverse the limits of phenomenology are welcome.

We request that participants circulate papers of 15-20 pages by the end of August at the latest. Participants are welcome and encouraged to share earlier drafts with other seminar participants, as desired and as beneficial. Beyond participant papers, there will be no required reading, though participants should be familiar with standard interpretations on Rilke and phenomenology, particularly by Käte Hamburger.

To be apply to the seminar, all participants must submit an application consisting of a brief abstract (250 - 500 words) as well as a short CV through the GSA submissions portal by March 14th at 11:59pm EST. Please note that you need to be a GSA member to submit an abstract.

Feel free to contact the seminar conveners Brad Harmon ( and William Waters (