Fictions of History
An Interdisciplinary Conference on Critical Theory
May 5th-6th, 2017
The Graduate Center, CUNY and the New York Public Library
Keynote Roundtable: Mark Anderson, Daniel Kehlmann, and Judith Ryan
Keynote Lecture: Stephen Greenblatt
The “Fictions of History” conference being given by the Critical Theory Certificate Program at the Graduate Center, CUNY and the New York Public Library is devoting several special sessions to the work of W.G. Sebald.
Sebald situates his work in the gray zone between fiction and history, positioning himself with both proximity and distance to his subject matter, alternating between first-hand victim and third-hand witness. At the center of Sebald’s writing is the taboo of the “wrongful trespass:” a fear that either he will falsely identify with events he himself has not experienced or that his objectivity will dilute the emotional impact of what he describes. In response to this concern, Sebald creates works that straddle the boundary between fact and fiction in order to portray and grapple with historical events.
These special sessions will examine the relationship between fiction and history in Sebald’s work. Possible topics include: theoretical and philosophical approaches to Sebald; Sebald’s inclusion of documents, pictures, and other media in his novels; the place of the Holocaust in Sebald’s thinking and artistry; Sebald’s use of fictional testimony; Sebald’s style as a way of examining memory and enduring trauma; Sebald’s work and collective memory; techniques of dislocated narration; Sebald’s reimagination/reconstruction of time and space; and Sebald’s engagement with other writers, artists, and thinkers.
Please submit a 300-word abstract for a 15 minute paper by March 1st, 2017 to email@example.com Proposals should include the title of the paper, the presenter’s name, any technology requests, and a 50-word bio including institutional and departmental affiliation, as well as current position.