During the winter semester, the English Department traditionally puts together a lecture series (Ringvorlesung) in literary studies with topics from different periods and geographic regions under an overarching theme. With a different lecturer each week, students can benefit not only from expertise in different subsections of literary history, but also from different voices and points of view throughout the semester; other lecturers can see what research their colleagues have been up to; and former members can keep in touch with thematic trends and developments at the department.
One of the aims of this lecture series is to contribute to a sense of academic community throughout the department – from new students to professors emeriti – and we did not want to suspend this tradition especially now, as we find ourselves separated into physical isolation for another semester. Instead, for the winter 2020/21, the lecture series will be offered as a weekly podcast – a format that you will hopefully find accessible and engaging, and that itself fosters a sense of community through conversation. A new episode will be posted on this page every Monday, starting on 9 November.
The overarching theme for this semester is Separation, Isolation and Community in Literature. As you can see from the list of individual talks below, we will be drawing from a wide variety of texts to approach this topic. Literature offers a glimpse into the lives of solitary individuals as well as the social structures of closely knit communities, and reveals how communities themselves can isolate. Whether a consequence of sickness, rejection of social norms, ill fate, or political oppression, separation and isolation have a long history as literary themes. Throughout the semester, we will explore texts from different centuries and from both sides of the Atlantic to find out what they suggest about the perils and merits of community and isolation alike.
production & organisation: Annika Elstermann
all episodes transcribed by Helen Scott & Pia Weigang
production & organisation:
all episodes transcribed by
Helen Scott & Pia Weigang