Aesthetics & Politics in 2020: [virtual] Conference

Aesthetics and Politics in 2020 Conference



Conference Program

Please note: The Keynote Lecture and the Friday roundtable will be live (and in webinar format); Columbia-internal papers (both students and faculty) will be pre-recorded. The live sessions on the internal papers will be discussion-focused.

Thursday, November 12

Keynote Lecture

6 pm: Tavia Nyong’o (Professor of African American Studies, American Studies, and Theater and Performance Studies, Yale University): The Politics of Fabulation

Moderation: Claudia Breger, Villard Professor of German and Comparative Literature


Friday, November 13

Artistic Acts in Response to War, Revolution, and the Rise of Fascism

(Starting from Verbs)


10 am Vance Byrd (Frank and Roberta Furbush Scholar and Associate Professor of German Studies, Grinnell College): Opening the Wounds: Appropriation as Physical and Material Methodology in Mark Bradford’s Pickett’s Charge

Moderation: Annie Pfeifer, Assistant Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures


11am Break


11:30 am Internal Panel (discussion-based)

Moderation and Response: Camille Robcis, Associate Professor of History and French

Didi Tal: The Theater of History. Reenacting the French Revolution in Georg Büchner, Peter Weiss, and Heiner Müller

Hazel Rhodes: Staying Lucid, Caring, Calling Out: Isherwood’s Berlin Stories


12:15 Lunch break


Political Reading in the Age of Postcritique (Starting from Adverbs)

1:30 pm Beverly Weber (Associate Professor of Germanic Languages and Jewish Studies, University of Colorado, Boulder): Reading Decolonially: Towards a Politics of Place

Moderation: Silja Weber (Lecturer, Germanic Languages and Literatures)


2:30 pm Break


2:45 pm Internal panel (discussion-based)

Moderation and Response: Andreas Huyssen, Villard Professor Emeritus of German and Comparative Literature

Cosima Mattner: Reading Empirically, Getting Close: Thoughts between Walter Benjamin and Today

Annie Pfeifer (Assistant Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures): Reading ‘Benjaminian-ly’ Today


3:30 pm Break


4:30 pm Columbia Faculty Roundtable: How We Read Politically Today     

Moderation: Claudia Breger

Nico Baumbach, Associate Professor, Film/School of the Arts

Jack Halberstam, Director of the Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality, Professor of English and Comparative Literature

Marianne Hirsch, William Peterfield Trent Professor of English, Director of Graduate Studies, IRWGS

Gil Hochberg, Ransford Professor of Hebrew and Visual Studies, Comparative Literature, and Middle East Studies

Bruce Robbins, Old Dominion Foundation Professor in the Humanities, Department of English and Comparative Literature


Saturday, November 14

Critical Reading and Postcritical Poetics: In the Contemporary Moment


10 am Olivia Landry (Assistant Professor of German, Lehigh University): In Defense of Anger

Moderation: Mark Anderson, Professor of German Language and Literature, Columbia University.


11am Break


11:30 am Internal panel (discussion-based)

Moderation and Response: Claudia Breger

Zachary Desjardins-Mooney: From Resistance to Reconfiguration: The “Everyday” in Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman

Luca Arens: Re/-producing Futurity: The Narrative Cell Biologies of Uwe Tellkamp and Alexander Kluge

Thomas Preston: The Body's Language in Slaboshpytskiy's The Tribe and Grisebach's Western


12:15pm Closing Words