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Announcements


July

SFB 948 welcomes PD Dr. Erik Schillingas new visiting researcher

SFB 948 welcomes PD Dr. Erik Schilling as new visiting researcher. From 16 to 28 July, he will conduct research on his project "Rainer Maria Rilke 'Fünf Gesänge' als Heroische Hymnen" in subproject D6.

SFB 948 welcomes PD Dr. Erik Schillingas new visiting researcher

July

Conferenece Announcement: “Love and Heroism in Neo-Latin Epic Poetry” (September 20–22)

Innsbruck, September 20–22, 2018

Organized by Dennis Pulina (Freiburg i.Br.) and Florian Schaffenrath (Innsbruck)

Vergil’s narrative of Dido and Aeneas had a broad reception throughout the European literary history. Due to its impact on questions surrounding the fulfillment of duty and grief, or even death caused by love, it became an example, precursor, and point of reference for many Latin and vernacular love stories, and as such, it remains important to this day. As a result of the complex and difficult interference of heroism and love, many epics ignore the latter entirely, while others try to integrate love into the heroic or vice versa. Generic traditions notwithstanding, epic poetry is strongly influenced by the changing cultural and religious beliefs, commandments of heroism, as well as emotionality, especially of love and marriage.

This question becomes particularly complex in the Latin epics of the early modern period. On the one hand, these epics are based on generic tradition and its repertoire, on the other hand, the heroes and the heroines rarely originate from a mythical past, but are contemporary personalities such as Francesco Sforza or Christina of Sweden. The aim of this conference is to examine the dimensions of the interweaving of love with Neo-Latin epics, and the interdependence between love and the heroic in the intersection of the reception of Greco-Roman antiquity and different real-world contexts. As has been shown by the recent research of Yasmin Haskell on emotions in early modern Latin poetry, and the considerations of Ludwig Braun in his paper with the provocative title “Why there is no love in the Neo-latin epic poetry?”, the topic of love and the heroic in Neo-Latin epics is not only vastly significant but also in urgent need of further critical discussion.

Considering love and heroism together raises different questions. Given that a crucial duty of early modern rulers was to maintain diplomatic and economic ties, one area of investigation will be whether there were any kind of romantic love and/or arranged marriages, which were implicated in dynastic and power-political considerations. Therein, a possible effect on the motivation of the hero is already indicated. Can love drive the hero? Are there figures who can only archive heroic deeds through love, like Roland in the Italian tradition? On the other hand, we will also examine whether an arranged marriage imposes on the hero the duty to prove himself and, in this case, how the hero handles the situation. We will also investigate the differences between the love of heroes and heroines. Finally, it is not less important to scrutinize the differences in distinct epic contexts, for example between epics on a condottiere in fifteenth century Italy and colonial epics set in the ‘New World’. What considerations must one take into account when telling a love story of Isotta and Sigismondo Malatesta in the Hesperis, and what, in a completely different context, are the consequences of Columbus’s love to Auria, the daughter of the king of Cuba, in Carrara’s Columbus?

Against the background of the frequent integration of pagan gods into Neo-Latin epics and a hybridisation of paganism and Christianity, the influence of Christian morals and commandments on matrimony must also be considered. Are there standards for the loving hero, Christian or pagan-philosophical, or even new-stoic, that suggest that the representation of love is based on a philosophical concept? In the case of exorbitant and irrational heroes, the further questions arise regarding whether a hero should love moderately or excessively and how this is judged by the hero himself, his surrounding, and/or the narrator. How does one convey and depict excessive emotions (such as jealousy) or even suicide – the latter an especially difficult issue in a world dominated by Christian morals?

Since in Latin epics the enemy is frequently a worthy opponent and therefore a hero in many respects, it will also enrich the conference to focus on the loving enemy or the love of supporting actors, and to contextualize them within the broader thematics of the epic.

Finally, in addition to contemporary historical personalities, we will ask whether, for instance, ancient heroes experience a transformation in the early modern epics, whether they experience love in a different way or even at all. This is especially interesting in supplements to ancient works, for example the thirteenth book of the Aeneid by Maffeo Vegio which depicts Aeneas’s love for Lavinia.

English will serve as the official conference language.

Venue: University of Innsbruck, Dekanatssitzungssaal der Theologischen Fakultät, Karl-Rahner-Platz 1, 6020 Innsbruck

Hotel: Leipziger Hof, Defreggerstraße 13, 6020 Innsbruck (https://www.leipzigerhof.at/)

If you have any questions, please, contact Florian Schaffenrath (florian.schaffenrath@neolatin.lbg.ac.at) or Dennis Pulina (dennis.pulina@altphil.uni-freiburg.de).

Conferenece Announcement: “Love and Heroism in Neo-Latin Epic Poetry” (September 20–22)

May

New E-Journal Special Issue: "Animals: Projecting the Heroic Across Species"


Animals: Projecting the Heroic Across Species
, Special Issue 3 (2018) of the SFB 948 e-journal helden. heroes. héros., has been published.

This issue of helden. heroes. héros. extends this scholarly interest to the field of heroized animals, striving to add new perspectives to notions of heroism and the heroic. Animals have long played a crucial role in how we construct our identity as human beings. Over time, our perception of animals and how they relate to us has undergone significant changes. In recent decades, there has been a surge of interest in human–animal relations. The 'animal turn', mainly associated with the 1990s, raised questions of boundaries between men and the rest of the natural world with renewed vigor. Heroic behavior has traditionally been conceived of as intrinsically human behavior but it is a feasible and profitable enterprise to look beyond the limits of species in hero studies.

New E-Journal Special Issue: "Animals: Projecting the Heroic Across Species"

April

Workshop Announcement: "Work, Workers, and the Heroization of Everyday Life in Global Perspective" (June 8–9)

Heroes are not only found on the battlefield, but also in everyday life. During the twentieth century, the focus shifted to the workplace in particular. Socialist societies celebrated heroes of labor, but workers in capitalist societies were honored for heroic deeds as well. This workshop discusses these processes in China, the Soviet Union, Romania, the USA and Great Britain.

Date: June 8–9, 2018
Place: Werthmannstr. 8 / Rear Building, 1st Floor, Room 01011

The workshop program can be found here.

The workshop is organized by Nicola Spakowski (University of Freiburg) and Simon Wendt (Goethe University Frankfurt / University of Freiburg), in cooperation with the Goethe University Frankfurt and the Konfuzius Institut at the University of Freiburg.

Due to limited space, participants are requested to sign up via email by May 30: silvio.fischer@sfb948.uni-freiburg.de.

Workshop Announcement: "Work, Workers, and the Heroization of Everyday Life in Global Perspective" (June 8–9)

January

New Release: Dr. Jakob Willis: "Glanz und Blendung: Zur Ästhetik des Heroischen im Drama des Siècle classique"

Dr. Jakob Willis' monograph "Glanz und Blendung: Zur Ästhetik des Heroischen im Drama des Siècle classique" has been released. Further information on the publishing house's website. Dr. Jakob Willis is a former research associate from Project A5 (first funding phase).

New Release: Dr. Jakob Willis: "Glanz und Blendung: Zur Ästhetik des Heroischen im Drama des Siècle classique"

November

New Release: Christina Posselt-Kuhli: "Kunstheld versus Kriegsheld?"

The seventh volume in the SFB 948 series "Helden – Heroisierung – Heroismen" (Ergon-Verlag, Würzburg) has been released: "Kunstheld versus Kriegsheld?", edited by Christina Posselt-Kuhli.

Further information on the SFB Publications page and the publishing house's website.

New Release: Christina Posselt-Kuhli: "Kunstheld versus Kriegsheld?"

November

Conference: "Heroism and the Heroic in American History"

Annual conference of historians of the German Association for American Studies

February 9–11, 2018
Akademie für Politische Bildung, Tutzing

Conference organizers:
Dr. Michael Mayer (Akademie für Politische Bildung, Tutzing)
Michael Butter (University of Tübingen)
Simon Wendt (Goethe University of Frankfurt)

This conference aims to critically reconsider the history of heroism in the United States from the American Revolution to the present, taking seriously the constructed nature of heroism and the myriad functions its serves in U.S. society. Heroes do not simply exist; they are created through practices of representation, and especially narration. Without a story, there is no hero. Nevertheless, the effects of heroism are real and palpable. As a social and cultural construct, it serves important functions in human societies. Heroes and heroines embody the norms, values, and beliefs of social groups. They also serve as role models whose behavior people seek to emulate. As symbols of dominant norms and identities, they become sources of authority and are frequently used to legitimize social, cultural, and racial hierarchies. Heroism thus tends to be a stabilizing force in society, but it is constantly debated, reevaluated, and revised. Consequently, it is also historically contingent.

While historians have devoted thousands of pages to heroism, only few studies do justice to the topic’s complexities. Too often, scholars still imply that heroism is “real,” ignoring the fact that heroes are the product of intricate heroization processes that elevate real or imagined people to heroic status through reoccurring iterations about what is believed to be heroic at a certain point in time. Since this communication process is primarily a media discourse, studying heroism requires a thorough analysis of heroic narratives and representations of heroism in various forms of media. However, historians also need to take into account the multitude of actors that are involved in this process, as well as their motivations to construct some people as heroic while ignoring others.

The conference will shed fresh light on the various ways in which heroism has been constructed, while also probing its social, cultural, and political functions in U.S. history. Speakers will critically examine the existing scholarship on American heroism, before presenting case studies that might offer new trajectories for future research. In their papers, they will answer questions as to how, in which contexts, and for which groups processes of heroization legitimized or delegitimized social, cultural, and political norms and values; how they created, affirmed, or challenged social hierarchies and collective identities; and how they differed from or were similar to other forms of perceived extraordinariness.

Conference: "Heroism and the Heroic in American History"

August

New E-Journal Issue: "HeldInnen und Katastrophen – Heroes and Catastrophes"

HeldInnen und Katastrophen – Heroes and Catastrophes, Issue 5.1 (2017) of the SFB 948 e-journal helden. heroes. héros., has been published.

New E-Journal Issue: "HeldInnen und Katastrophen – Heroes and Catastrophes"

July

Conference Program: "Heroism as a Global Phenomenon in Popular Culture"

Organized by Michael Butter (Tübingen), Nicole Falkenhayner, Wolfgang Hochbruck, Barbara Korte (Freiburg) and Simon Wendt (Frankfurt)

In an age of globalization and transnationalism, heroes transcend their cultural spheres of origin and are re-rooted, adapted and translated in new local contexts across the world. We understand heroes and heroines as a phenomenon of exceptionality that has a positive significance in relation to the values, ideals and norms of the communities in which these figures are admired, followed, functionalized but also debated. In this process of “glocalization,” popular culture, with its world-wide markets and media, is a driving force. Media as diverse as films, comics, graphic novels, computer games, or internet blogs construct and disseminate narratives about heroes and heroisms across the globe and are consumed in the Global North as well as the Global South. At the same time, there are centers of dissemination – including Hollywood, Bollywood, or Hong Kong – that continue to dominate processes of production and dissemination of hero narratives.

This multidisciplinary conference aims to highlight the complex and interrelated processes of creation, marketing, consumption and impact of globalized hero narratives, as well as the numerous cultural flows of exchange that have made them possible since the end of World War II. We are interested in contributions (case studies) which conceive of heroism as a transcultural and transnational phenomenon that may originate in one particular nation but ultimately transcends borders. Questions to be discussed include how the meanings of heroic figures and narratives are changed in cultural translation, or what specific processes are active in the world-wide exchange of figures and concepts of the heroic. Case studies will focus on situations in Europe, North America, Africa and Asia.

For more information see here.

Conference Program: "Heroism as a Global Phenomenon in Popular Culture"

June

Conference: PONTES IX "Classical Heroism in the Modern Age: Ideas, Practices, Media" (Sept. 21–23, 2017)


University of Freiburg, September 21–23, 2017

Classical antiquity is the fountainhead of much of our Western ideas of heroism. Starting from the religious Greek hero cult, elements of the heroic manifested themselves in myth, literature, war politics, and a number of other domains. The influence of these ideas on later concepts of heroism is evident until the end of the early modern period. However, with the rise of industrialized societies since the 19th century, the reception of ancient heroism became more obscure, and postmodernist currents have called the very idea of heroism into question.

This PONTES conference, hosted jointly by the University of Freiburg's Department of Greek and Latin Studies and the Collaborative Research Center 948 "Heroes – Heroizations – Heroisms", aims to shed light on the enduring relevance and significance of the reception of ancient heroes in the modern day.

Find the conference program and more information here.

Conference: PONTES IX "Classical Heroism in the Modern Age: Ideas, Practices, Media" (Sept. 21–23, 2017)