Conference 2014

Comparatism and the Idea / Function of the Genre
Komparatistik und die Idee / die Funktion des Genres

International Conference of the Goethe Society of India

GermanCentenaryPune24 – 26 February 2014
University of Pune

Celebrating the Centenary of the Teaching of German in Pune and in India the Annual Conference of the Goethe Society of India is being held this year in collaboration with the German Section of the Department of Foreign Languages of the University of Pune and the DAAD.

In the 2014 Annual conference of the Goethe Society of India we propose to take the debate on comparatism started at the 2013 conference further, focusing this time on comparative genre studies. Goethe spoke of the three “natural forms of poetry”, – “The clearly telling, the enthusiastically excited and the personally acting: Epic, Lyric and Drama. These three poetic modes can work together or separately.” Generic conventions and traditions were and are, as Goethe indicates here, neither rigid nor eternal. Neither are they universal as cross-cultural genre studies have shown.

Although genre is viewed primarily as a classificatory device, anti-genre theoreticians question the possibility of reading texts through such an instable typological framework. Is it possible to talk of texts without talking of genre, can texts ever be ‘genre-less’? What is the relation between the genre and the mode of writing – lyrical prose, the narrative play, the dramatic poem, the prose poem? Are genres to be understood as primarily rooted in their cultural and structural contexts or can one consider transcultural genres?

Generic texts like the Thriller, the Western or Science Fiction, being formulaic, correspond to their viewer’s/ reader’s expectations, until social contexts and reader responses eventually lead to the development of newer genres. Genres are consequently also given communicative modes which are easily recognizable.

Papers are invited within the framework outlined above to look into following themes, but are not limited to only these:

  • Genre Theory
  • Comparative Poetics
  • Transcultural poetics
  • Translating Genre
  • Media / Performance
  • Diachronic genre analysis

The language of the conference will be both German and English. Please send your abstracts (200-300 words) by 15 November 2013 to Madhu Sahni, Secretary, Goethe Society of India at goethe.india@gmail.com. Accommodation for all outstation paper readers will be arranged at the University of Pune guesthouse. Selected papers will be published in the next Yearbook of the Goethe Society of India.

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