Annual Conference Globalization and Literature

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Conference 2018: World-Consciousness and the Unconscious of Globalization

Conference of the DFG Research Training Group Globalization in cooperation with the Bavarian American Academy

31.05.2018 - 02.06.2018

Keynote Speaker: Jean-Claude Milner (Paris)

Conference Abstract

On the one hand, World-Consciousness can be understood in a Humboldtian sense as the accumulation of knowledge of the interconnectedness and interdependency of all processes and phenomena on a global scale. On the other hand, the prevalent Eurocentrism of global consciousness is the result of the systematization of knowledge during the Enlightenment as a specifically European enterprise. Since this predominant understanding of the world as a whole arguably conceals the reality of hegemony, violence and humiliation, the conference seeks to address the Unconscious of Globalization and the ways in which World-Consciousness effectively hinders the emergence of hidden dimensions of globalization.

The framework of psychoanalysis is only one of the possible ways to understand and describe the relationship between World-Consciousness and the Unconscious of Globalization. The conference invites participants to explore this posited relationship from a variety of approaches and conceptual frameworks such as, for example, Edward Said’s concept of contrapuntal reading. Special emphasis will be put on the role of literature in the emergence of these connections and phenomena.

In what way does literature participate in the constitution of World-Consciousness and how does it reflect the aforementioned ambiguities? Can literature give voice to suppressed or invisible aspects of the way the world as a whole is perceived? Does that which cannot be admitted in prominent versions of World-Consciousness resonate in literary texts and can literature therefore be considered as an adequate archive to be consulted with questions about the Unconscious of Globalization? Is the interpretation of literary texts and the focus on the Unconscious a way of redefining the structures of knowledge and power that they produce, and that produce them?

These are only some of the issues we propose to discuss in the conference and we invite participants to ask further questions.


Conference venue: Bayrische Amerika-Akademie (BAA)| Barer Straße 19 a| 80333 Munich

Wednesday, 30th May (Venue: RU 104B, Schellingstr. 3, RG)

  • 18.00-20.00 Workshop with Jean-Claude Milner
  •  20.00 | Dinner

Thursday, 31 May

  •  13.30-14.00 Introductory Address
  •  14.00-15.00 Thomas Erthel (Munich). Compression and Conflict: World-Consciousness in Voltaire’s Candide
  •  15.00-15.30 | Coffee break
  •  15.30-17.30 Elahe Haschemi Yekani (Berlin). Global Entanglement versus Postcolonial Counterpoint: Rereading the "Dead Silence" in Jane Austen's Mansfield Park
    Georges-Louis Tin (Orléans). Is it really possible to be gay and black at the same time?

    18.00 | Visit at Biergarten 

Friday, 1st June

  •  11.00-13.00 Andrew S. Gross (Goettingen). Self-Definition and Contagion: Crises of Liberalism in the Writing of Benjamin Franklin
    Annegret Heitmann (Munich). Anecdotes of Silence: The Unconscious of Globalization in Isak Dinesen’s Tales
  •  13.00-14.00 | Lunch break at BAA
  •  14.00-16.00 Niels Werber (Siegen). Popularizations of German Geopolitics: Perry Rhodan 1961/2016
    Christoph K. Neumann (Munich). Revolution and World-Consciousness in Turkish Literature
  •  16.00-16.30 | Coffee Break
  •  16.30-17.30 Werner Bonefeld (York). State, World Market and Society
  •  18.00-19.15 Jean-Claude Milner (Paris). The Sound of Silence in Modern Democratic Societies

    20.00 | Dinner

Saturday, 2nd June

  •  10.00-12.00 Eleonore Zapf (Innsbruck). Dante illegal. Migration and the Underworld in Eduardo González Viañas El corrido de Dante
    Karen Benezra (New York). Total Conversion: Primitive Accumulation in the Andes
  •  12.00-12.30 | Coffee break/Snack
  •  12.30-13.30 Christian Moser (Bonn). "We want the world and we want it… Now!" The Manifesto as a Vehicle of World-  Consciousness and of Global Contemporaneity
  •  13.30-14.00 | Final Discussion and Closing Remarks