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Conference Announcement: "(Re)Reading Ralph Ellison"

“(Re)Reading Ralph Ellison,” Symposium at Goethe University Frankfurt, Campus Westend, Eisenhower Room (IG 1.314)

July 19–21, 2019



In 1954, the S. Fischer Verlag published Ralph Ellison’s novel Invisible Man (1952) in a German translation entitled Unsichtbar. In the fall of that year, Ellison visited Frankfurt am Main for the first time while presenting his debut novel on a reading tour across Germany. He returned to Frankfurt for the second and last time in his life as the chief American delegate to the international P.E.N. congress that opened in the city on July 19, 1959. Exactly sixty years later, this Symposium brings the author back to Frankfurt for the third time.

The twenty-fifth anniversary of the author’s death and the Aufbau Verlag’s publication of the fully revised translation of Invisible Man, now titled Der unsichtbare Mann, call for a (re)reading of Ellison in Germany in 2019. Goethe University lends itself as a site for this (re)reading, due to the role that the novel played in the conceptual development of the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School. Furthermore, new publications of primary texts by Ellison, including the forthcoming edition of his Selected Letters, necessitate contemporary reconsiderations of his canonical literature and his political stance. Therefore, the Symposium (re)reads Ellison’s literature and life from the following three intersecting vantage points:

  1. 1. (Re)Reading Ellison in His Own Words
  2. 2. (Re)Reading Ellison in Contemporary Contexts
  3. 3. (Re)Reading Ellison in Theory

Confirmed speakers:

Christa Buschendorf (Goethe University Frankfurt)

John F. Callahan (Lewis and Clark College)

Glenda R. Carpio (Harvard University)

Paul Devlin (US Merchant Marine Academy)

Pia Dieckmann (University of Münster)

Mamatou Diene (University of Münster)

Cedric Essi (University of Bremen)

Michael Germana (West Virginia University)

Gero Guttzeit (LMU Munich)

Lena Hill (Washington and Lee University)

Johannes Kohrs (Free University of Berlin)

Simon Lübeck (Goethe University Frankfurt)

Derek C. Maus (SUNY Potsdam)

Yasmin Nasrudin (University of Tübingen)

Hans-Christian Oeser (Dublin and Berlin)

Patrice Rankine (University of Richmond)

Carsten Schinko (University of Tübingen)

Grant Shreve (Johns Hopkins University)


Luvena Kopp (University of Tübingen)

Stephan Kuhl (Goethe University Frankfurt)

Nicole Lindenberg (University of Münster)

Contact and registration: frankfurt@rereadingralphellison.de

Registration until July 1 is appreciated. For more information and the conference program, please refer to our website: https://rereadingralphellison.de