Empty chairs ©Jonas Jacobsson / unsplash.com

Civil Sentimentalism in the Americas

Wednesday, November 9, 2022 – Friday, November 11, 2022

This workshop seeks to discuss the forms and functions of the sentimental in popular and political cultures of the Americas. Civil sentimentalism can function in different constellations to summon a sense of community and to inculcate solidarity; it is also used as a technology of statecraft (in top-down scenarios) and as a code to express protest and resistance, for instance in social movements and sentimentally-infused activism. Drawing on specific models of familial kinship, civil sentimentalism appeals to its audience by evoking the importance of social relations, and it does so in culture-specific imageries of order and belonging. Issues of gender, race, and (civil) religion play crucial roles in representations and practices of civil sentimentalism, and the distinction of public and private realms as well as other sectoral divisions in society often become blurred. The repertoire and rituals of civil sentimentalism can be analyzed in performances of public spectacle, but also in film, literature, and other forms of mass media.

The symbolization of civil sentimentalism from a hemispheric perspective will be the focus of our workshop. Topics discussed by workshop participants are the uses of the sentimental by iconic public/political figures and celebrities, the sentimentality of displays of public feeling, and the sentimental politics of protest movements (e.g. civil rights sentimentality) – along with various forms of counter-sentimentalization. After all, the sentimental code is as much part of democratic political culture as it is installed, albeit in different ways, in non-democratic, populist, and authoritarian rhetoric. It has long been at the center of nation-state ideology and has helped its management of inclusion and exclusion.

The workshop is part of the Global Sentimentality Project at FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg (https://www.sentimental.phil.fau.de/) and is conducted by Heike Paul (FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg) and Ursula Prutsch (LMU München).

Foto: Empty chairs ©Jonas Jacobsson / unsplash.com

The workshop is free and open to the public. To register, please contact project-sentimental@fau.de. Registration is possible until (and including) November 1st, 2022.

5:00 pm Conference Opening and Introductory Remarks
by Heike Paul (FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg & Bavarian American-Academy) and Ursula Prutsch (LMU München)

Keynote Address
Carmen Miranda – A Transnational Diva
Elisabeth Bronfen (University of Zurich)

Followed by a reception in the Foyer of the Amerikahaus München.

9:30-10:30 am
The Power of Sentimental Cinema and Sentimental Politics: Ava DuVernay's Selma (2014)
Elaine Roth (Indiana University South Bend)

10:30-10:45 am
Coffee Break

10:45-11:45 am
Sentimentalism, Mexican Migration to the United States and the Moving Image

Delia González de Reufels (University of Bremen)

11:45-12:00 am
Coffee Break

12:00-1:00 pm
Cordialidade: Culture of the Heart and the Politics of Emotions in Brazil

Ursula Prutsch (LMU München)

1:00-2:30 pm
Lunch Break

“I Must Dress in Costly Materials”: On First Lady Fashion and the Sentimental Labors of American Womanhood
Stefanie Schäfer (University of Vienna)

3:30-3:45 pm
Coffee Break

3:45-4:45 pm
Theorizing Sentimentalism through Queer and Trans Wedding Attire
Ilya Parkins (University of British Columbia, Kelowna)

9:30-10:30 am
Balcony Scenes: The Balustrade as a Dispositive of Political Power

Jan Henrik Witthaus (University of Kassel)

10:30-10:45 am
Coffee Break

10:45-11:45 am
The Function of Tears in U.S. Politics

Carmen Birkle (Philipps-Universität Marburg)

11:45-12:00 pm
Coffee Break

12:00-1:00 pm
Sentimental Authority: The U.S. Poets Laureate

Harald Zapf (FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg)

1:15 pm
Concluding Remarks

Wrap-up and End of Conference   


Karolinenplatz 3, 80333, Munich, Germany