Hubert Fichte and the Poetics of Syncretism (GSA 2021)
CFP: Hubert Fichte and the Poetics of Syncretism
Forty-Fifth Annual GSA Conference
Sept. 30-Oct. 3, 2021, Indianapolis, IN
„Ich bin Mischling ersten Grades, ein uneheliches Kind und nun auch noch schwul – das ist übertrieben.“ (Hubert Fichte, "Versuch über die Pubertät", 1974)
It is no exaggeration to say that Hubert Fichte was a syncretist of sensitivity. Beyond the combination of different beliefs, myths, and rituals, Fichte merged various genres, voices, and themes in over thirty books and features, incl. his epic fragment "The History of Sensitivity". Instead of an eclectic juxtaposition of arbitrary variation, Fichte’s texts reveal underlying connections and similarities between apparently distant cultural practices. His poetics of syncretism include perspectives that had no place in the predominant white male subjectivity of West-German authorship, while at the same time exposing the aporias of Fichte’s own post/colonialist project. The seeming contradictions in Fichte’s identity as a “half-Jewish” postwar subjectivist, queer pop author, sex work documentarist, polyglot travel writer, anti-academic ethnologist, gossip chronicler, Proust-epigone, and voodoo-novice are part of a utopian project of sensitivity, in which all of these perspectives would be included.
This panel seeks to discuss these various intersections and trace them in Fichte’s writing in order to locate his work in the center of contemporary debates around strategies to decolonize the German canon and German studies.
Possible topics and contexts in which to discuss Fichte’s work include but are not limited to:
- Fichte and the African diaspora
- traditions of queer writing (Platen, Proust, Jahnn, Genet)
- sex work as subculture
- pop-literature and writing styles of the contemporary (Brinkmann, Meinecke, Röggla)
- knowledge and sexual desire
- multilingualism and ethnography
- aporias of ethnology and the colonial gaze (Herodot, Leiris, Levi-Strauss)
- life-writing and self-writing
- liminal and transgressive poetics
- syncretist writing and textual fragmentation
Please direct questions and abstracts (300 words accompanied by a short bio) to andrefischer [at] wustl.edu by January 31 2021.
Assistant Professor of German
Washington University in St. Louis
1 Brookings Drive CB1104
St. Louis, MO 63130