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25 July 2023 - 27 July 2023

9:00AM - 5:00PM

Durham University

  • Free

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DAAD Postgraduate Summer School

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'Dis/Connections: Vernetzung und Digitalität in der deutschsprachigen Gegenwartsliteratur

German Studies at Durham University invites applications for an International Postgraduate Summer School titled 'Dis/Connections: Vernetzung und Digitalität in der deutschsprachigen Gegenwartsliteratur'.  The Summer School will be held in Durham from 25-27 July 2023 under the aegis of the DAAD programme 'Promoting German Studies' and as such is open to postgraduate students on all levels (MA, MPhil, PhD) at German, UK and Irish universities. Costs for travel, accommodation and meals will be fully covered.

Please send your application material (in English or German), including a CV, a motivational letter (maximum 2 pages), and an endorsement by a referee to:  Professor Claudia Nitschke and Dr Alexis Radisoglou.

The deadline for applications is Sunday 15 January 2023.

DAAD Postgraduate Summer School, Durham University
25-27 July 2023

Through a multidisciplinary engagement with contemporary literature in German, this academic summer school critically explores the phenomenon of global connectivity.  Drawing on the insight that such connectivity is both a result of the pervasive influence of digital media today and itself perpetually mediated through contemporary culture, we focus on the role of digital networks in, and for, contemporary German literature.  Focusing on various manifestations of digital connectivity - from social networks and new kinds of interpersonal communication to contemporary forms of digital governmentality and data mining - we are particularly interested in the ways in which literary texts represent, interrogate, and are themselves affected by the profoundly ambivalent effects of such connectivity. 

Our working hypothesis is that there is an increasing number of texts in contemporary German literature that are concerned not only with how digital networks connect and separate us but also with how they have come to shape large-scale political, social, historical, economic and environmental discourses, narratives and identities.  Simultaneously, we observe, literature has emerged as a privileged site for articulating a contemporary anxiety or discontent - an Unbehagen - with what is perceived as a form of global hyper-connectivity, sometimes advancing visions of a global un-plugging, disconnection, or 'Entnetzung'. 

Our goal, then, is to explore a contemporary 'poetics of dis/connections' by bringing literature in dialogue with a wide range of theoretical texts from disciplines such as media studies, sociology, history, political philosophy, the history of science, and cultural anthropology. 

The three-day event, which will be framed by an introductory session and a concluding plenary, and accompanied by a cultural programme including a roundtable discussion and a public reading, will be structured around five plenary core modules, led by international experts, in which participants will explore five key themes related to the main topic of the summer school.  Readings will include excerpts from contemporary literary texts in German as well as crucial theoretical contributions to the topics outlined below.

Module 1:  Digitalisation

In this module, we discuss the conditions of emergence for a new genre of 'digital literature', as well as the ways in which digitality affects the form, production, reception and distribution of literary texts.  We examine how information is generated and/or disseminated through digital culture, and how digitalisation impacts processes of self-fashioning, self-understanding, and world-making.

Module 2:  Post-Globality 

The module is concerned with imaginaries of a shared planet that critically interrogate, and depart from, the globe as a figure of a worldwide connectivity, homogeneity, and systemic integration. Our focus will be on both alternative models of planetary relationality and on imaginaries and theories of dis-connection.

Module 3:  Decolonisation

The module scrutinises how global political discourses such as Black Lives Matter have given new urgency to longstanding issues relating to migration and colonisation in German-speaking countries, focusing on the role of digital media in shaping both broader political discussions and recent literary thematizations of such issues.

Module 4:  Rights

Proceeding from the module on decolonisation which addresses broader emerging concepts of Human Rights, this module looks more specifically into the ways in which contemporary literature engages with questions of surveillance and privacy, and their complex connection to digital media.

Module 5:  Environment

Drawing on recent debates in the Environmental Humanities, this module examines the role which digital culture plays in the mediation between local environmental phenomena and a global framework of planetary crisis (or vice versa).