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BGECS at BSECS WS 2011/12

In January 2012, the Bonn Group for Eighteenth Century Studies had a panel at the annual conference of the British Society for Eighteenth Century Studies



Landscape: Gender and Spaces in the Long and Global Eighteenth Century

This panel brought together three different aspects of our research in the field of 'gender' and 'space' both in English as well as German literature. “Landscape” is understood in a broad sense – drawing attention to the fact that it has to be analysed in terms of its productive and discursive value since spatial structures produce and reproduce social relations. The focus on the discursive quality of space, as invigorated by the so-called “spatial turn”, also provides a theoretical frame for literary analysis. The focus on space provides an instructive approach to representations of places, environments and landscapes in literature, especially as spatial representations increasingly have come into view for disseminating power relations and collective identities. In this respect, the literary representation of spaces is constitutive in the negotiation of images of the self and the Other, of gender, class, race, religion and other aspects of collective identities.

BSECS 2012

Eva Axer presented her work on aspects of landscape and gender in the German poet Annette von Droste-Hülshoff’s ballads and showed how a gendered landscape contributes to the reader’s feeling of belonging to Westphalia, the author's native region, thus changing the national purpose of the genre to a regional one. Joana Stausberg focused on landscapes in perspective and how representation of space, size and gender combine in literary works such as Gulliver’s Travels. Gunda Windmüller presented aspects of her work on Restoration and early eighteenth-century English drama, showing how the representation of maritime spaces such as the sea itself, as well as islands and shores, can be read as profoundly gendered and how these changing representations can be analysed within a postcolonial framework.


The chairperson was Prof. Dr. Barbara Schmidt-Haberkamp.