Master of the World? Charles Sealsfield’s America between Emancipation, Exceptionalism and Globalization - 2020 Charles Sealsfield Symposium

Країна: Германія

Місто: Dortmund

Тези до: 01.05.2020

Дати: 24.09.20 — 26.09.20

Е-мейл Оргкомітету:,

Організатори: Fakultät Kulturwissenschaften, Technische Universität Dortmund; Fakultät für Geschichtswissenschaften, Ruhr-Universität Bochum; in Zusammenarbeit mit der Internationalen Charles-Sealsfield-Gesellschaft


The Dortmund and Bochum Sealsfield Symposium will place an emphasis on American Studies. Symposia topics of the past decade have dealt with bio­gra­phical questions and their implications for Sealsfield’s work; his place in the relevant spectrum of European 19th century novels including imagological issues; as well as trans­atlan­tic fields of research. Common to all has been a predominantly Germanist, Europe-centered orientation.

The planned symposium will be organized in cooperation between American Literary and Cultural Studies (Walter Grünzweig, Dortmund) and North American History in its Transcultural Contexts (Rebecca Brückmann, Ruhr-Universität Bochum). Germanist/German Studies and Comparatist contributions will thus come into in dialogue with American Studies topically, methodologically and theoretically.

Accordingly, the symposium will deal with aspects of ethnicity, race (especially slavery), gender, sexuality and the environment in Charles Sealsfield’s work. Beyond this focus on American society, it will take up the role of the United States as a composite nation in a global political situation, especially its exceptionalist position so characteristic of Sealsfield. The Symposium will evaluate Sealsfield’s position in an inclusive, American(ist), but also world literary canon and thereby also emphasize his role in a new, multiethnically and multiculturally oriented field and canon of German literature and literary studies.

Sealsfield’s work is resonant with a series of current issues, including questions of climate (the representation of nature, especially the U.S. South, in Sealsfield’s works), the Trump presidency (particularly the significance of the personality and politics of President Andrew Jackson, an explicit role model for Trump), or—connected with that presidency—the politicization of poor evangelical segments of the country.

This symposium will offer a forum for dialog between a new generation of researchers and estab­lished Sealsfield scholars. Beyond this, one section of the symposium provides an opportu­ni­ty for advanced students of all fields to discuss their interests and questions relating to Seals­field’s work. The conference organizers will give financial support for students’ attendance and emphatically invite them to participate.

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