“Imagology”? An Interdisciplinary Workshop at UC Berkeley

“Imagology” or “Image Studies” is the critical analysis of intercultural imagery, of ethnic stereotyping and of the discursive construct called “national identity”. It was developed in France after the Second World War as a sub-discipline of Comparative Literature. Rejected by aesthetically-oriented literary critics, mainly in the US, it received more attention by scholars of French and German Studies in the 1980s. The so-called “Aachen School” around the Belgian comparatist Hugo Dyserinck played a leading role in this. More recently, Image Studies have come to the fore again, as new publications from a range of disciplines and area studies testify.

“Imagology” as a critical approach in literary and cultural studies will be the topic of an interdisciplinary workshop hosted by the Department of German at the University of California, Berkeley, later this month:

‘Imagology’ as Critical Approach in Literary & Cultural Studies
Workshop | April 24 | 2-4 p.m. | 282 Dwinelle Hall

Clemens Ruthner (Trinity College Dublin / UC Berkeley) will give a brief theoretical and methodological sketch, followed by two project presentations. I will introduce my current research project on the negotiations of masculinities in Chinese and German-language literature and Josef Sveda (Charles University Prague / UC Berkeley) will talk about his project on images of the USA in Czech literature and culture. The workshop aims to raise and discuss theoretical as well as practical implications and controversies of Imagology as a research approach.

All welcome!


Clemens Ruthner. “Between Aachen and America: Bhabha, Kürnberger and the Ambivalence of Imagology”. In Imagology Today: Achievements, Challenges, Perspectives, edited by Davor Dukic, 137-160. Bonn: Bouvier, 2012. – a critical introduction to the history of Imagology

Imagology: The Cultural Construction and Literary Representation of National Characters, edited by Manfred Beller and Joep Leerssen. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2007. – 500-pages encyclopedic compendium of Image Studies comprising more than 120 articles and entries by 75 contributors from 15 countries

IMAGES (www.imagologica.eu)an online platform dedicated to the critical study of national identity and national stereotype by Joep Leerssen, featuring introductions to Imagology, key texts and an interactive bibliographical database


CFP: Barriers — Confronting Obstacles in Language, Media, Politics and Culture (Berkeley, 28.2.-1.3.2015)

The Department of German at the University of California, Berkeley, welcomes submissions from all disciplinary backgrounds on the topic of barriers, their establishment, presentation, and utilization in the present, past and future.

UC Berkeley German Department’s Interdisciplinary German Studies Conference 2015:
BARRIERS: Confronting Obstacles in Language, Media, Politics and Culture (February 28th – March 1st 2015)

Barriers are an intrinsic element of society, and the ability to negotiate them forms the basis for progress, conflict or stagnation. In the German context, the barrier often evokes images of institutionalized violence: from the trenches of the First World War to the concentration camps of World War Two and the Iron Curtain which divided Europe in its wake. But barriers are more than politics, nationality or ideology. In contrast to borders which establish a fixed partition between two or more objects, the barrier exists in a state of multiplicity and flux: the negotiation of a single barrier simply reveals the existence of further barriers to come. The purpose of this conference is to reevaluate the barrier in its plurality, identify new and historical points of contention and question the traditional view that obstacles exist to be overcome. Rather than simply obstacles, barriers can be construed as catalysts, initiating a myriad of possible reactions and interactions. The barrier need not remain impregnable, but may function as a semi-permeable membrane: controlling the mobility of objects through diffusion and osmosis. How do we define barriers and what are their many purposes? How does the synergy of the barrier and its subjects shape our perception of barriers and their functions?

Deadline: 14 November 2014
Scholars wishing to participate should send an abstract in English or German, no longer than 300 words, and a CV or brief biographical statement to: berkeleygermanconference@gmail.com. Presentations should not exceed 20 minutes.

Find the full CFP here.