As we struggle to understand the role of new media - in the symbolic construction of a public space and in organizing public assembling - what seems at stake is the very notion of the public sphere (Öffentlichkeit). Our sense of a public as a virtual, open-ended entity, distinct from the public as a concrete, bounded audience belongs to the critical repertoire of modern culture. Indeed, the notion of the public sphere as a discursive, self-organized domain is intimately linked with the historical formation of modern literature. This particular genealogy of the public sphere conjures up the capacity of texts to join people, at different times and in different places, into an imaginary community. Arguably, the notion of a public as an entity that is open-ended, accessible, and egalitarian, that virtually embraces all the users of a given text, whoever they might be, hinges upon a literary articulation. This workshop brings the connection between literature and the public sphere to the fore, showing how it shapes not only our understanding of literature, but also our political and social imagination. Engaging scholars from different fields, it aims at reflecting upon the different historical constellations and contemporary implications of the concept of the public sphere. Exploring specifically literary underpinnings of the concept of the public sphere calls for a discussion of its diverging histories and alternative constructions.
25.11.2015 - 27.11.2015
Habelschwerdter Allee 45
14195 Berlin, room JK 33/121
(Friedrich Schlegel Graduiertenschule
für literaturwissenschaftliche Studien)