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Summer School 2019

Summer School 2019

Summer School 2019
Bildquelle: Hanna Zeckau

The Politics of Literature – Literature and Politics

Reading Group “Engagement”

Date: 24.–27.06.2019
Location: LEIPZIG – Galerie für zeitgenössische Kunst, Karl-Tauchnitz-Straße 9–11, 04107 Leipzig
Please find more information about the Reading Group here.

Summer School 2019 “The Politics of Literature – Literature and Politics”

Date: 01.–04.07.2019
Location: BERLIN – Freie Universität Berlin, Habelschwerdter Allee 45, 14195 Berlin, Room: KL 29/137
Final report
Article (in German) on campus.leben

Call for Applications (English)


In times of transregional upheavals and the revival of nationalist movements and governments, the debate about literature and the political has gained new momentum. The Reading Group “Engagement” and the international Summer School 2019 “The Politics of Literature – Literature and Politics” aim to develop new approaches to questions concerning the relationship between literature and politics by rethinking the debate within current political contexts.

Up to 20 participants will first meet in Leipzig to attend the Reading Group “Engagement”, before travelling to Berlin where the Summer School “The Politics of Literature – Literature and Politics” will take place with up to 30 participants. Furthermore, participants are invited to attend the separate, but thematically overlapping conference “Poetic Critique”, held in Berlin from 27.–29.06.2019.

Through discussions, lectures, and workshops with German and international experts, we will attempt to both remap transnational and multilingual perspectives on this discourse as well as develop possible new ways of thinking and analyzing the relations between literature and politics today.
Within the context of this years topic, a public discussion with the topic "Literature! And the Political?" will take place on the 03.07.2019 at Lettretage.

This years Summer School is being organized in cooperation with The Cluster of Excellence 2020 "Temporal Communities" and The German Literature Archive (Deutsches Literaturarchiv – DLA).


The three-day reading group “Engagement”, held by Prof. Dr. Robert Kaufman (Berkeley), Dr. Robert Zwarg (Marbach), Prof. Dr. Anne Eusterschulte (Berlin) and Sebastian Tränkle (Berlin) in Leipzig, will take place in the week preceding the Summer School. Its aim is a close reading and discussion of central texts that preceded Theodor W. Adorno’s essays »Commitment« and »Reconciliation under Duress«: writings, for instance, by Jean-Paul Sartre, Ernst Bloch, Georg Lukács, and Bertolt Brecht.

Following a terminological discussion, the Summer School in Berlin will consist of half-day workshops in which we will reflect on international institutions vis-à-vis literature and politics, patterns of power in the processes of literary production, and the functions of poetry within protest movements. We will also discuss literature in dissident contexts and literature as an autonomous form of expression.

The Summer School will include various historical and cultural case studies such as the German Vormärz, the 68 student movements, the Occupy Wall Street movement, the Turkish Gezi Park protests and the 19th and 20th century Arabic debate on “engagement” in light of the so-called “Arab Spring”.

Experts: PD Dr. Patrick Eiden-Offe (Berlin), Prof. Dr. Tarek El-Ariss (Dartmouth), Prof. Dr. Anne Eusterschulte (Berlin), Prof. Dr. Martin Halliwell (Leicester), Prof. Dr. Robert Kaufman (Berkeley), Olumide Popoola (London), Prof. Dr. Gisèle Sapiro (Paris), Sebastian Tränkle (Berlin), Dr. Robert Zwarg (Marbach)

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