Friday, August 22, 2008

Hamann Conference (CFP)

Below is a call for papers for what looks to be an exciting conference on Hamann. The conference is being organized by Lisa Marie Anderson who, I should point out, recently published Hegel on Hamann, a translation of Hegel's review of Hamman's writings and life.


“Hamann and the Tradition”

An International Conference

to be held at Hunter College (CUNY)

New York, NY

March 20-21, 2009

Recent years have witnessed a resurgence of scholarly interest in the work of Johann Georg Hamann, an interest which is spreading among scholars of world literature, European history, philosophy, theology, and religious studies. New translations of work by and about Hamann are appearing, as are a number of books and articles on Hamann’s aesthetics, theories of language and sexuality, and unique place in Enlightenment and Counter-Enlightenment thought. As such, the time has come to reexamine, in light of recent work, the legacy of Hamann’s writings, which have influenced such diverse thinkers as J.G. von Herder, F.H. Jacobi, J.W. von Goethe, G.W.F. Hegel, Søren Kierkegaard, and Walter Benjamin, to name only an obvious few.

We invite papers which investigate or problematize in new ways any underappreciated aspect of Hamann’s impact across the centuries, be it upon a thinker or work, a historical tradition, or even an entire branch of knowledge. Especially welcome are papers which promote dialogue among the diverse disciplines to which Hamann’s work speaks. All conference papers should be delivered in English.

Please send a one-page abstract by October 1, 2008 to the conference organizer:

Lisa Marie Anderson, Assistant Professor

Department of German, Hunter College

Keynote Speaker

Oswald Bayer, Systematic Theology, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

Author of Vernunft ist Sprache: Hamanns Metakritik Kants; Johann Georg Hamann: Der hellste Kopf seiner Zeit; Zeitgenosse im Widerspruch: Johann Georg Hamann als Radikaler Aufklärer

Confirmed Speakers

John Betz, After Enlightenment: The Post-Secular Vision of J.G. Hamann

Gwen Griffith-Dickson, Johann Georg Hamann’s Relational Metacriticism

Kenneth Haynes, Hamann: Writings on Philosophy and Language

Manfred Kuehn, Immanuel Kant: A Biography; Scottish Common Sense in Germany 1768-1800

Johannes von Lüpke, Director, Internationales Hamann-Kolloquium

Katie Terezakis, The Immanent Word: The Turn to Language in German Philosophy 1759-1801

We gratefully acknowledge the support of:

The Office of the Dean of Arts & Sciences, Hunter College (CUNY)

The Max Kade Foundation

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

New Hegel Books

In addition to the Hamann review I posted about a few days ago, NDPR has published two interesting reviews of some new books on Hegel. One review, by Paul Franks, is a very positive review of William F. Bristow, Hegel and the Transformation of Philosophical Critique. The second review is of Allen Speight's The Philosophy of Hegel. Both reviews are positive, and though I have not had a chance to look at these works, from the reviews, they appear to be nice contributions to the ever growing Hegel literature.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Hamann's Writings Online (in German)

Following up on yesterday's post, I thought I would point interested readers to this online resource where one can find Hamann's writings in German, and a number of other important texts relating to Hamann's work. For example, there are important excerpts on Hamann from the writings of Goethe, Schlegel, Hegel, Kierkegaard, and Dilthey. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hamann review

So, it has been too long since my last post. I'm still in Berlin, but soon I will return to New York where I plan to begin posting regularly again. For now I want to draw your attention to a review of Kenneth Haynes translation of Hamann. As the reviewer Ted Kinnaman points out, Haynes translates the two "dedications" that appear at the beginning of Hamann's most famous work, Socratic Memorabilia, but not the book itself. This short work is in need of either a new translation or a new printing of James O'Flaherty's translation.

For those of you not familiar with Hamann and his reputation should check out this SEP article by Gwen Griffith-Dickson, who also has written an excellent commentary on the Socratic Memorabilia called Johann Georg Hamann's Relational Metacriticism (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1995). I'm not sure what the best general introduction is to Hamman's work, but Isaiah Berlin's The Magus of the North. J. G. Hamann and the Origins of Modern Irrationalism (London: John Murray) is probably the most famous, although I think considering Hamann an irrationalist is quite contentious. Frederick Beiser's essay in his well know book The Fate of Reason is a very good and fair introduction to Hamann's thought and life.

Hamann I think played an important role in the emergence of German Idealism. Here are some reason that come immediately to mind: 1) he had a significant influence on Jacobi; 2) Hamann continually stressed the importance of Hume's skepticism; 3) he also stressed the importance of language in understanding the nature of reason and culture; 4) Hamann developed what is perhaps the first critique of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, which circled amongst his friends, and was carefully studied by Herder. As the story goes, Hamann was friends with the publisher of the Critique and he had access to it as the pages were rolling of the press. 5) Hegel was familiar with Hamann, and even wrote a lengthy review on his thought. The extent to which Schelling and Fichte were interested in Hamann is not clear to me, though I suspect Fichte had read or was at least familar with Hamann's thoughts on language when he worte his essay "On the Linguistic Capacity and the Origin of Language" in 1795.