During the high point of German idealism from the end of the eighteenth through the first
half of the nineteenth century German philosophers and writers imagined the human as a
mixture between angel and animal. They emphasized the spiritual qualities of the human
over the base instincts of the animal. Such efforts to preserve the reign of the spirit over
the body are particularly pronounced in the German context and can be seen as reactions
to materialist and empiricist assumptions that were gaining momentum with the emerging
life sciences. The ideological implications of such attempts to safeguard human sovereignty
are the focus of the conference. It will explore literary, scientific, and philosophical endeavors
at defining and redefining the borders between the human and the animal from the late
eighteenth century up to the twentieth century.
Fritz Breithaupt, Indiana University; Ken Calhoon, University of Oregon; David A. Craig, University of Oregon; Joseph Fracchia, University of Oregon; Sander Gliboff, Indiana University; Gail Hart, University of California - Irvine; Todd Kontje, University of California - San Diego; Christine Lehleiter, University of Toronto; Alexander Mathäs, University of Oregon; Dorothee Ostmeier, University of Oregon; Ted Toadvine, University of Oregon.
All Conferences are free and open to the public.
For more information please contact Alexander Mathäs - email@example.com
Defining the Human and the Animal
Knight Library Browsing Room
University of Oregon
May 2-3, 2013
Thursday, May 2
9:00-9:10 Welcoming Remarks:
Judith Baskin, Associate Dean of Humanities, CAS
9:10-9:15 Opening Remarks: Alexander Mathäs, German, U of Oregon
Session One: “The Unfortunate Hybrid between Animal and Angel”:
Historical and Literary Perspectives (Idealism)
Moderator: Alexander Mathäs
9:15-10:15 Fritz Breithaupt, German and Comparative Literature, Indiana University, "Man, the Moral Animal?"
10:20-11:20 Christine Lehleiter, German, University of Toronto, “Human and Animal in Light of Eighteenth-Century Breeding Experiments”
11:30-12:30 Gail Hart, German, University of California, Irvine, “The Humanity of Children from Sandmann to Struwwelpeter: A Tale of Two Hoffmanns”
12:30-2:00 Lunch Break
Session Two: Animal, Nature, and the Human:
Literary and Philosophical Perspectives (Idealism)
Moderator: Jeffrey Librett, German, University of Oregon
2:00-3:00 David Alexander Craig, Philosophy, University of Oregon,
"The Dialectic of Animality and Rationality in Kant's Theory of Human Nature"
3:15-4:15 Kenneth Calhoon, German and Comparative Literature, University of Oregon, “Of Non-Vital Interest: Art, Mimicry, and the Phenomenon of Life”
4:15-4:30 Coffee Break
4:30-5:30 Ted Toadvine, Philosophy, University of Oregon, "The Time of Animal Voices"
Friday, May 3
Session Three: Reactions to Idealist Humanism:
Moderator: Michael Stern, German, University of Oregon
9:00-10:00 Joseph Fracchia, History (Honors College), University of Oregon, “Organisms and Objectifications: A Historical-Materialist Inquiry into Defining the Human as Animal."
10:15-11:15 Sander Gliboff, History and Philosophy of Science, Indiana University, "Ascent, Descent, and Divergence: Darwin and Haeckel on the Human Family Tree"
11:30-12:30 Alexander Mathäs, German, University of Oregon,
“From Anti-Humanism to Post-Humanism and the Role of the Animal: Hermann Hesse’s Steppenwolf”
12:30-2:00 Lunch Break
Session Four: Animal, Nature and the (Post)human:
Literary and Philosophical Perspectives
Moderator: Susan Anderson, University of Oregon
2:00-3:00 Todd Kontje, German and Comparative Literature, University of California, San Diego, "Kafka’s Ape and Thomas Mann’s Dog: Writing on the Threshold between Animal and Human"
3:15-4:15 Dorothee Ostmeier, German, University of Oregon,
“The Feminine Beast: Exploitation vs. Liberation in Early 20th Century Literature”
4:30-5:00 Closing discussion
6:30 p.m. Participants' dinner
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