Literary Form. History and Culture of Aesthetic Modeling

Münster, Germany, 5-7 October 2015



Das Thema ,Form‘ erlebt zur Zeit in den Sozial- und Geisteswissenschaften einen eindrucksvollen Aufschwung. Hier verbinden sich historische Debatten um Gestalt, Morphologie, Struktur, etc. mit neuen Fragestellungen aus dem Bereich der transdisziplinären Wissensgeschichte, aber auch mit Überlegungen zur Modellierung, Formgebung und Repräsentation in der Natur- und Technikwissenschaft. Die internationale Tagung ,Literarische Form. Geschichte und Kultur ästhetischer Modellbildung‘ greift dieses Interesse an der Form aus philologischer Perspektive auf. Sie fragt nach der Funktion und Leistung (literar)ästhetischer Modellbildung für einen transdisziplinären Formdiskurs. Sie fokussiert dabei drei Zentren einer Formgeschichte, die auch als Geschichte literarischer Modelle sichtbar werden soll: I. Formtheorie als Poetologie der Form (Konzeptgeschichte), II. Formverfahren als dynamisches Prinzip der Zeichen-, Text- und Gattungsproduktion (Verfahrensgeschichte), III. Formkultur als Praxis des kultur- und medienübergreifenden Formentransfers (Transfergeschichte).

In the humanities and social sciences the topic of poetic form is celebrating an impressive comeback. Current projects are not only realigning dormant debates on morphology, gestalt or structure with the latest research in the history of science; they are also focusing on problems of (aesthetic) modeling, representation and formalization that emerge in science and technology itself. The international conference on ‘Literary Form. History and Culture of Aesthetic Modeling’ will build upon that recent interest in form from a comparative perspective: the perspective of classical and modern languanges, literatures, and media. It will investigate the function of aesthetic modeling for a transdisciplinary discourse on poetic form. In highlighting three central aspects of the history of literary form the conference may also contribute to the development of a new history of literary modeling: I. Theory of Form as a poetics of form (history of concepts), II. Form-Processing as a dynamics of semiotic, textual and generic production (history of devices) III. Cultures of Form as a practice of cultural and medial mediation of forms (history of transfers).

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Actuellement, le thème de la forme connaît un essor important dans les sciences sociales et dans les sciences humaines. Les débats historiques à propos des concepts de Gestalt, morphologie, structure etc. sont noués tant aux questions nouvelles provenant du domaine transdisciplinaire de l’histoire des savoirs qu’aux réflexions sur le modelage, le façonnage et la représentation dans les sciences naturelles et dans les sciences techniques. Le colloque international « Literarische Form. Geschichte und Kultur ästhetischer Modellbildung » vise ces questions dans une perspective philologique. Quelle fonction le modelage esthétique remplit-il, quelles peuvent être ses contributions au discours transdisciplinaire sur la forme ? On se concentrera sur trois aspects d’une histoire de la forme qui se veut aussi une histoire des modèles littéraires : I. La théorie de la forme comme poétologie de la forme (histoire conceptuelle), II. Les procédés formels comme principe dynamique de la production des signes, des textes et des genres (histoire des procédés littéraires), III. La culture de la forme comme pratique de transferts de formes tant transculturels qu’entre les arts (histoire des transferts).
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Call for Papers

The Return of Form. The growing interest in the idea of form that has quite recently emerged in history of science, literature and media studies seems to point to an increasing need: the re-evaluation of the productivity and agency of literature ‘as such’. This novel ‘consciousness of form’ aims to address two counter-trends in academic research: the expansion of the literary in the fields of discourse history and its reduction to a matter of narration. The conference will build upon the recent interest in form and modeling. It will explore both the poetics and the history of form (Burdorf) in case studies that cover a wide range of topics – with regard to literary history as well as to affiliated discourses and academic fields. It aims to trace the functions of poetic form-processing (genesis, transfer and transformation). It will analyze formalization (e.g. in the concept of ‘generic knowledge’) and it will address the cultures and milieus of form (for instance intermediary forms between the classic and the popular) together with their strategies and policies of form. The conference distinguishes between the concept of poetic form and its competing notions (such as signature, contour, gestalt, structure, system). It also covers well-established binaries like chaos vs. form, form vs. matter, content vs. form, as well as their dynamic counterparts, such as morphology or ‘inner form’.

Form and Model. A central issue of the conference will be the way in which poetic modeling and form-processing constitute each other in producing a specific work of art. Heuristically, poetic form may be related to three types of modeling: conceptual modeling (the level of judgement), semiotic and material modeling (the level of representation/device), and generic modeling (the level of classification/convention/norm). Aiming to sketch a history of literary forms (and thus a ‘history of literary modeling’) the conference will highlight three major fields of research: I. Theory of Form as a poetics of form (history of concepts), II. Form-Processing as a dynamics of the production of signs, texts and genres (history of devices) III. Cultures of Form as a practice of cultural and medial mediation of forms (history of transfers).

Papers. We invite case studies in German, English, and French in the three areas outlined above. Papers may address (but are by no means limited to) the following topics: I. formalisms / form and ideology – form and system (theory of systems) – form and cognition – model and form – model and modality – model and simulation – coded form; II. forms of style – form and narrative – form and symbol –genre knowledge – genre hybridization – encyclopaedism – seriality – dramatized form – form as performance; III. gestalt – morphology – form and time – experienced form – form as ritual – form as function – form and gender – form and game (game theory, game studies).

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