Citing Violence, Inciting Critique: Karl Kraus, 1933
22-24/11/2017, University of Antwerp
“To me, nothing comes to mind about Hitler” (Mir fällt zu Hitler nichts ein) is the famous opening line of Karl Kraus’s analysis of the first months of National Socialism. This 300-page fragment was written between May and September 1933, and first published only in 1952 as Third Walpurgis Night.
The conference CITING VIOLENCE, INCITING CRITIQUE will seek to read this text by Kraus, paying attention to the political, historical and cultural conflicts of this decisive year of Hitler’s rise to power. We will discuss this topic in a transnational perspective that also takes into account developments in Austria, Italy, and other countries. Additionally, the conference seeks to place Kraus’s writings in dialog with a broader spectrum of voices, including literary, theatrical, philosophical, historical, or others (e.g. Brecht, Benjamin, Arendt).
We propose the following questions and themes:
• What possible position – other than defeatism - can one take once political violence shapes a state and demolishes the rule of law?
• What can a critic of language, discourse and media possibly have to say when confronted with such a comprehensive, totalized form of state-evil as the Third Reich?
• What lies behind Kraus' silence during this time and how was it perceived?
• How to come to terms with Kraus's support of Austrian fascism ("als kleineres Übel") and his critique of the social democrats?
• "Die Weltdummheit macht jede Arbeit – außer an Shakespeare – unmöglich." In what way we can think about poetical work (translations, adaptation, citations etc.) as a response or as a way of dealing with such historical moments?
Please send abstracts in English or German (500 words), or suggestions for panels which directly relate to these themes in the context of Kraus’ Third Walpurgis Night. We will provide funding for travel and accommodation to a limited number of young scholars whose abstracts have been accepted to the conference.
Please send your proposals along with a short bio no later than 30.4.17 to firstname.lastname@example.org