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Conference: The Threat and Allure of the Magical in Literature, Language, Philosophy, History and the Arts

  • 2009-03-13
  • 2009-03-14
  • Berkeley, California, USA
"The Threat and Allure of the Magical in Literature, Language, Philosophy, History and the Arts" 17th Annual Interdisciplinary German Studies Conference at the University of California, Berkeley March 13-15, 2009 Dating back to the 9th Century Old High German Merseburg Incantations (die Merseburger Zaubersprüche) and their influence on the fairy-tale world of the Brothers Grimm, references to the magical boil forth from a wide range of cultural forms, from Mozart’s The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte) in music to Werner Herzog’s Invincible in film. In silent film, modern literature and the arts, magic both heralded and haunted an artistic revolution in which the avant-garde and the occult recurrently intersected. In critical theory, ideology is often described in terms of a spell. Accordingly, this conference presents an opportunity to explore these cultural encounters with the magical and further inquire why this space of radical alterity carries such an allure and/or threat. Thus, we invite scholars from all disciplines to submit paper proposals in German or English on the questions of the magical and its role in the German-speaking world. Possible topics include but are not limited to: The magical in art, film, music, pop-culture and history The occult and the avant-garde Nazism and the occult The magical in the language of critical thought The mesmerizing, magical aspects of ideology The magical in courtly culture, Renaissance and the Early Modern Linguistic alchemy Sprachmagie The magical in philosophy (for example, the Veil of Maya in the works of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche) Magical Realism Astrology and Alchemy in literature Magic in fairy tales and folklore The weird, strange and the other The living dead/creatures of myth and magic in film and literature The language of incantations and spells

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