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  1. Comparative Ecocriticism in the Anthropocene
    Published: 08.06.2017

    Ecocriticism started out in the early 1990s in the framework of American literary studies - in the Anglo sense that equates "America" with the "United States." In fact, the new field's first professional organization, the Association for the Study of... more

     

    Ecocriticism started out in the early 1990s in the framework of American literary studies - in the Anglo sense that equates "America" with the "United States." In fact, the new field's first professional organization, the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment, was founded as an offshoot of academic interest focused on a particular region of the United States, in the backroom of a casino in Reno, Nevada, during the 1992 annual convention of the Western Literature Association. During its first decade, the bulk of ecocritical attention focused on American literature as shaped by Thoreau and British literature as shaped by Wordsworth - a limited but powerful concentration on nature writing in the genres of poetry, nonfiction prose, and the noveI, with particular attention to Native American literature. By the turn of the millennium, in a story that has by now been told repeatedly, interest in the literature-environment nexus had grown and diversified enough that ecocriticism almost literally exploded into a much broader research area encompassing multiple historical periods (from the Middle Ages to postmodernism), genres (from poetry to the graphic novel and narrative film), and regions: the Caribbean, Latin America, East Asia, and Western Europe all emerged as new areas of ecocritical exploration. New encounters between postcolonial theory and ecocritical analysis proved particularly productive for both fields: linking historical exploration and political ecology with literary analysis, the emergent "poco-eco" matrix opened new perspectives on the connections and disjunctures between imperialism, ecological crisis, and conservation. Over the last few years, the concept of "Environmental Humanities" has increasingly co me to accompany and to superimpose itself as an umbrella term on ecocriticism and comparable research areas in neighboring disciplines: environmental history, environmental anthropology, environmental philosophy, cultural geography, and political ecology. Driven by the impulse to connect environmental research across the humanities, to justify humanistic research at institutions often prone to cut first in the humanities, and to bring the knowledge generated through humanistic research into the public sphere, environmentally oriented scholars have used the term "Environmental Humanities" as a shorthand for what they hope will be a new vision of their discipline. As of this writing, the concept remains somewhat more aspirational than real. While ecocritics and environmental philosophers have long collaborated in Australia, and environmental historians and ecocritics sometimes collaborate in the United States, the disciplines that make up the Environmental Humanities have to date largely pursued their own disciplinary trajectories. But there are signs that the tide may have begun to turn. Various universities and research organizations have started programs in the field. The Swedish environmental historian Sverker Sörlin published a brief outline of the new interdisciplinary matrix in the journal 'BioScience' in 2012, and a longer manifesto followed from the editorial collective of the newly established journal 'Environmental Humanities' at Macquarie University in Australia (Rose et al. 2012). Another journal focusing on the environmental humanities began publication in early 2014 from the University of Oregon under the title 'Resilience'.

     

    Content notes: free
    Source: CompaRe
    Language: English
    Media type: Article
    Format: Online
    DDC Categories: 570; 800
    : Synchron. Wissenschaftsverlag der Autoren
    Rights: Veröffentlichungsvertrag für Publikationen
  2. The world in a 'Zeitschrift'
    Published: 27.04.2017

    The relaunching of the Jahrbuch 'Komparatistik' in 2015 takes place at a time of ferment in comparative literary studies, as a discipline long focused primarily on Western Europe seeks to reconsider its position in a global landscape, and in the... more

     

    The relaunching of the Jahrbuch 'Komparatistik' in 2015 takes place at a time of ferment in comparative literary studies, as a discipline long focused primarily on Western Europe seeks to reconsider its position in a global landscape, and in the process to rethink the contours of European literature itself. Here I would like to discuss one new manifestation of this rethinking: the founding of the 'Journal of World Literature', which will be debuting in 2016. Published in Amsterdam by Brill, with its managing editors located in Leuven and in Göttingen, the 'JWL' represents a European initiative in comparative and world literary studies, and the journal has a global presence as well. It is overseen by an international board of editors (myself among them), and it has an association with the Institute for World Literature, a Harvard-based program supported by five dozen institutions around the world, which will be responsible for one of its quarterly issues each year. Global in outlook and outreach, the 'JWL' can equally be thought of as carrying on an originally German project: to embody the potentially vast field of comparative and world literature within the pages available in a scholarly journal. To this end, very different approaches were tried in the last quarter of the nineteenth century by two foundational journals: the 'Acta Comparationis Litterarum Universarum', published in Cluj from 1877-88 by the Transylvanian scholars Hugo Meltzl and Sámuel Brassai, and the 'Zeitschrift für vergleichende Litteraturgeschichte', founded in 1886, published in Berlin under the editorship of Max Koch. Probably the very first journals in the field – the French 'Revue de littérature comparée', for example, dates only from 1921 – these pioneering journals divided up the literary territory in very different ways. Meltzl and Brassai’s 'Acta' reflected an idealistic globalism grounded in a radical multilingualism, whereas Koch opted for a more pragmatic but markedly nationalistic conception of the field. The new 'Journal of World Literature' will need to draw on the strengths of each approach even as its editors seek to avoid the pitfalls of both.

     

    Content notes: free
    Source: CompaRe
    Language: English
    Media type: Article
    Format: Online
    DDC Categories: 800
    : Aisthesis Verlag
    Rights: Veröffentlichungsvertrag für Publikationen
  3. Identity and Survival in 'Deutsche Menschen'
    Author: Britt, Brian
    Published: 22.06.2017

    The flourishing of literature and thought during the age of Goethe may have inspired German nationalism in the 1930s, but Walter Benjamin identified other values in the period worth defending. 'Deutsche Menschen' is a short collection of edited... more

     

    The flourishing of literature and thought during the age of Goethe may have inspired German nationalism in the 1930s, but Walter Benjamin identified other values in the period worth defending. 'Deutsche Menschen' is a short collection of edited letters by well-known German authors which Benjamin published in 1936 under the pseudonym Detlef Holz in order to hide his Jewish identity. In his inscription to Scholem's copy of the book, Benjamin wrote, "May you, Gerhard, find a chamber in this ark - which I built when the Fascist flood started to rise - for the memories of your youth," and in his sister’s copy Benjamin wrote, "This ark, built after a Jewish model, for Dora - From Walter." This essay considers what Benjamin may have meant by those inscriptions. Looking beyond discussions of "German," "Jewish," and even "German-Jewish" identity, this essay explores Benjamin's descriptions of his letter collection, asking how he conceptualized and framed it at first and how it may have changed between 1931 and 1936. The categories of tradition and agency will be my focus, which I will develop in the context of Benjamin's other writings and his particular interests in quotation and materialism. &e formation and reception of 'Deutsche Menschen' reveal a complex, ambitious project that combines many of Benjamin's ideas and goals.

     

    Content notes: free
    Source: CompaRe
    Language: English
    Media type: Article
    Format: Online
    ISBN: 978-3-7705-5782-0
    DDC Categories: 800
    : Leibniz-Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung (ZfL)
    Rights: Veröffentlichungsvertrag für Publikationen
  4. Shock and Aura : Benjamin on Dada
    Published: 22.06.2017

    If we take Benjamin's definitions to their logical conclusion, then the monad and the reproduced copy are set unequivocally into binary opposition, as we, the masses capable and most needful of action, are implicitly denied the potential for... more

     

    If we take Benjamin's definitions to their logical conclusion, then the monad and the reproduced copy are set unequivocally into binary opposition, as we, the masses capable and most needful of action, are implicitly denied the potential for liberation through aesthetic experience. This denial could not have been his long-term intention. When we take into account the breadth of his writings in response to Fascism, and we look at the artistic movements, Dada in particular, that Benjamin defines as 'politicizing art,' it seems as though we risk too narrow a reading of Benjamin's theories by assuming the aura can be, or must be, done away with. Rather, I would argue that this moment of auratic interaction is crucial to effectively politicizing art at all. Mechanically-produced art, in order to function politically, must allow its audience the space necessary to step back, awaken their 'Geistesgegenwart', and take action 'before' the present moment is finished and past. The elimination of aura - as per Benjamin’s own definitions of aura - neuters the interaction this awakening requires. While Benjamin provides the framework and asks the right questions, when determining what will allow his definitions to realize their aims most fully, I submit that he draws his line in the wrong place.

     

    Content notes: free
    Source: CompaRe
    Language: English
    Media type: Article
    Format: Online
    ISBN: 978-3-7705-5782-0
    DDC Categories: 800
    : Leibniz-Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung (ZfL)
    Rights: Veröffentlichungsvertrag für Publikationen
  5. The Painter through the Fourth Wall of China : Benjamin and the Threshold of the Image
    Published: 22.06.2017

    Walter Benjamin had a revealing fascination with the legend of a Chinese artist who entered his painting and disappeared in it. In his writings this character becomes an emblematic figure that enables the philosopher to discuss the nature of... more

     

    Walter Benjamin had a revealing fascination with the legend of a Chinese artist who entered his painting and disappeared in it. In his writings this character becomes an emblematic figure that enables the philosopher to discuss the nature of representation in its various infections (in games and in painting, in theater and in cinema); to explore the status of the image and of the threshold that simultaneously separates and connects image and reality; to analyse the different bodily (i. e. "aesthetic") attitudes of the beholder in his/her close or distant relationship to the image; to investigate the manifold implications of empathy ('Einfühlung ') toward the figurative world; and finally, to approach a peculiar kind of dialectics, namely the "Chinese". My paper aims at considering such varied aspects in Benjamin's interpretation of the Chinese painter, understanding it as a true "dialectical image" that in its 'non-coincidentia oppositorum' provokes not only significant hermeneutic oscillations, but even a radical inversion of its fundamental meaning.

     

    Content notes: free
    Source: CompaRe
    Language: English
    Media type: Article
    Format: Online
    ISBN: 978-3-7705-5782-0
    DDC Categories: 800
    : Leibniz-Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung (ZfL)
    Rights: Veröffentlichungsvertrag für Publikationen