Recycling and Rebirth: Adaptation, Continuity and Transfer
March 20th – 21st, 2015

Keynote speaker: Dr. Lynne Tatlock, Washington University in St. Louis

Many characters, legends, myths or motifs have experienced a long line of transformations. Some have been forgotten, some have survived incognito, some have crossed cultural boundaries, some have been transformed beyond recognition. As ideas are transferred across communities and cultures, themes, motifs, and storylines reappear and are re-appropriated to fit new cultural contexts. By adapting generic or multimedia conventions, texts evolve or mutate; they reinforce, revitalize, or restrict thematic constructions found within the source text. New processes of narration open avenues of inquiry and unexplored intellectual terrains across time, space, and media.

Rebirth and recycling may apply to cultural transfer, political movements, or identity reinvention. Newly emphasized elements of the text may illuminate or alleviate complex social tensions within a particular community regarding class, race, culture, or anthropological constants across temporal boundaries. How does the past influence the present? How does our present reading influence our perception of the past? In the recycling of traditional narratives, how do adaptations, translations, parodies and other texts overcome or re-inscribe prejudices, offer new inspiration, or open up previously impenetrable boundaries? How does the cross-cultural recasting of ideas or storylines coincide with larger cultural debates and human interaction, more broadly conceived? These questions invite us to investigate the unique modes of knowledge which show up time and time again, and what they tell us about experience, consciousness, subjectivity, and history.

Possible questions to address in this symposium include but are not limited to:

  •   legend, myth, and storytelling
  •   translation
  •   spatiality
  •   genre, media, intermediality
  •   temporality and historicism
  •   comparative approaches
  •   artistic inspiration
  •   identity
  •   nation building
  •   history

The graduate students of the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at Washington University in St. Louis invite submissions that engage the complexity of recycling and rebirth in relation to adaptation, continuity and transfer in the German-language context. Fields relevant to this topic include: literary studies; narratology; film and visual studies; gender, queer and sexuality studies; musicology; disability studies; history; theology; philosophy; sociology; neurosciences; geography; geology and political theory.

Please submit abstracts of 300 words or less no later than December 31st, 2014 using the abstract submission form on the symposium website Presentations are to last from 15-20 minutes and should be in English or German.  


For more information about the German Department at Washington University in St. Louis, please visit the department's main page.

The symposium committee may be contacted at

The 2015 symposium committee members are:

Lauren Bartshe

Adeline Bauder

Amy Braun

Angineh Djavadghazaryans

Heidi Grek

Anna Nowicki

Vanessa Ossa

Simone Pfleger

Caroline Rehner

Ann-Marie Riesner

Claire Ross

Brooke Shafar

Harrison Todd

Christin Zenker