Past Events

Guest Lecture, Oct. 1: David Wellbery on Lessing’s Laokoon

2020 Guest lecture David Wellbery website

October 1, 2020, 4-6 pm The reading group Ekphrasis in conjunction with the Department of Germanic Languages & Literatures is happy to announce the following guest lecture by Dr. David E. Wellbery (University of Chicago). David E. Wellbery will join the reading group on Thursday October 1st, 2020 from 4-6pm to discuss passages from Lessing’s Laokoon oder über die Grenzen der Mahlerey und Poesie (1766) with reference to the overarching theme of ekphrasis. Lessing’s Laokoon has outlived most of its contemporaries in 18th-century criticism and the reason for its abiding influence may well be that it gets to the core conceptual issues with incomparable clarity. Lessing’s Laokoon appears to be foremost an analysis of ekphrastic passages from Vergil in order to critique Horaz’ ut pictura poesis as well as Winckelmann’s idealization of Ancient sculptures and art. What strikes us nowadays about Laokoon is the self-referentiality envisioned in the use of ekphrasis as a critique of an approach intermingling between description/depiction in terms of spatiality and the temporality of narration. As if the critique as genre is to stand apart from aesthetic categories and, thus, would allow for a naïve use of ekphrasis; quite ironic to some extent. In addition, Lessing’s writing as ... Read More »

Adaptation: Teaching 21st Century Skills

DAAD surfer

DAAD German Language Teaching & Learning Workshop The fourth annual conference offers the chance to learn from experts in the field and to mingle with peers from other Canadian universities in an intellectually stimulating and collegial context. We are especially excited about this year’s line-up of speakers: Daniel Bowles from Boston College, Nicolay Ostrau from Dartmouth College, Maria Morrison from McGill University, James Skidmore from Waterloo University, Jason Lieblang from UBC, and a speaker from the Goethe-Institut Toronto. Coming soon! December 8th and 9th 2018 Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto, 1 Devonshire Place Read More »

Guest Lecture: “Werther’s Pulse” by Oliver Simons

oliver simons

September 14, 2019, 3:00pm to 5:00pm, Odette Hall Rm. 323 Oliver Simons studied German literature, cultural studies, and philosophy at Humboldt-University in Berlin, where he received his Dr. phil. in 2005. His teaching and research interests focus on literature and science, post-colonial studies, the “end” around 1800, and literary theories. Professor Oliver Simons is professor of German at Columbia University in New York City. He is the author of Raumgeschichten. Topographien der Moderne in Philosophie, Wissenschaft und Literatur and Literaturtheorien zur Einführung, and co-editor of Kolonialismus als Kultur: Literatur, Medien, Wissenschaft in der deutschen Gründerzeit des Fremden, Kafkas Institutionen (Transcript 2007), Bachmanns Medien and The Oxford Handbook of Carl Schmitt. In his current book project, tentatively titled The Ends of the Eighteenth Century, he examines how textual endings around 1800 correspond with theories of causality and conclusion. ** For any accommodation needs, please email german@chass.utoronto.ca, and we will do our best to assist you. Read More »