NeMLA 2022: The German Novella: Dis/ability, Othering, and Embodiment
CFP: The German Novella: Dis/ability, Othering, and Embodiment
To be held at the NeMLA Annual Convention, Baltimore, Maryland, 10-13 March 2022; Deadline for abstracts: 30 September 2021
Andreas Gailus has characterized the German novella as a “genre of crisis” that “thematize[s] the limits of (social, psychic, narrative) systems.” Such crises and ruptures are often figured through representations of othered bodies and tropes of dis/ability. For example, in Tieck’s Der Blonde Eckbert (1797) and Kleist’s Das Bettelweib von Locarno (1810), the appearance of an older woman with physical disabilities heralds an ambivalent encounter with fate and the uncanny. Later novellas such as Storm’s Der Schimmelreiter (1888) and Hauptmann’s Bahnwärter Thiel (1888) cast children with disabilities as passive, overdetermined figures that bear the brunt of the novella’s symbolic conflicts. In modernist novellas such as Kafka’s Die Verwandlung (1915), by contrast, the depiction of the other takes a different form, with othered figures assuming the role of narrator or protagonist. Furthermore, the experience of othering and/or dis/ability has also been linked to privileged, alternative modes of perception in the novella, e.g., in Hoffmann’s Des Vetters Eckfenster (1822) or Sharon Dodua Otoo’s Synchronicity (2015). Where disability studies seeks to explore the experiences of people with disability and probe social norms surrounding the body, literary scholarship has often focused on life writing and other genres. How can the genre of the novella be seen to challenge society’s understanding of and relationship to otherness and dis/ability?
We welcome papers that analyze diverse representations of embodiment and/or the experiences of people with disabilities in novellas in the German tradition from the late eighteenth century to the present. Particularly encouraged are contributions that consider the perspective(s) of disability studies, queer studies, intersectional feminism, medical humanities, and critical race theory.
Please submit a 250-300 word proposal through the NeMLA submission portal by 30 September 2021:
If you have any questions regarding the panel, please contact the organizers directly: Mary Helen Dupree (email@example.com) and Lorna McCarron (firstname.lastname@example.org)