GSA-Panel: Configurations of Patriarchy in the Long 18th Century, Montréal (20.03.2023)
CFP: Configurations of Patriarchy in the Long 18th Century
German Studies Association Conference
October 5-8, 2023
Panel Sponsored by the Goethe Society of North America
O du, für den ich ward
mein Schirm, mein Schild, mein All!
Dein Will’ ist mir Gesetz
So hat’s der Herr bestimmt,
und dir gehorchen bringt
mir Freude, Glück und Ruhm.
So speaks Eve to Adam in Haydn’s oratorio Die Schöpfung from 1798. When Eve recognizes her subservience in unequivocal terms, Die Schöpfung suggests that male authority is both God’s will and woman’s greatest pleasure. But is there not something excessive about Eve’s performance of subordination here, about this fantasy of unchallenged male authority? Does it bespeak an anxiety, perhaps, about legitimating the institution of patriarchy in an era of shifting gender roles, religious ideologies, and notions of political sovereignty?
Such questions are all the more relevant since Die Schöpfung was written in the same decade as Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Woman, a text which suggested that the more the concept of equality gained prominence in the Enlightenment, the more traditional gender hierarchies came into question. Since it is not hard to identify other German texts “um 1800” that mirror Haydn’s emphatic re-assertion of the patriarchy (one might think, for instance, of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Schiller’s Maria Stuart, or Goethe’s West-östlicher Divan) we invite proposals that investigate the long eighteenth century under questions such as the following:
What modes and trajectories of thinking about gender hierarchies existed before 1770, e.g., in Pietism, the early Enlightenment, the comédie larmoyante, or the bürgerliches Trauerspiel?
What fictions of patriarchy do we find in canonical writers “um 1800”? Are there counter-fictions (e.g., by women writers)? Where is the gender binary asserted or challenged?
What roles do male-centered institutions play (e.g., free-masonry)? Are there counter-institutions (e.g., salons led by women)?
How do philosophical, political, and scientific texts (re)conceptualize the family?
How do literary texts respond to changing ideas about, and realities of, gendered rights and roles?
What function in establishing or undermining the gender hierarchy do genres play, e.g., drama, novels, poetry, opera, or personal writings such as autobiographies, letters, or diaries?
Please send a brief abstract (approximately 350 words) to Sophie Salvo (email@example.com) and Horst Lange (firstname.lastname@example.org) by March 20, 2023.