Sensing Senses Program

SENSING SENSES: An Interdisciplinary Conference in Sensory Perception and German Studies
February 17-19, 2012
University of Massachusetts Amherst



Friday – February 17, 2012 – Max Kade Lounge, Thatcher House

5:00 – 7:00 p.m. — Registration and Reception

7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. — Sensorium: German Short Films and Animation (2006-2010)

In honor of UMass Amherst’s long-time collaboration with the Goethe-Institut Boston and the German state of Baden-Württemberg as well as its new collaboration with the Academy of Film and Television “Konrad Wolf” in Potsdam-Babelsberg, the graduate students are proud to offer a program of award-winning short films and animation from young filmmakers in Germany. These films are engaging, delightful, and rarely screened on U.S. soil.  The event is free and open to the public.

* A preview of the films of Eija-Liisa Ahtila, whose recent work The Annunciation (2010) premieres at the UMass FAC Gallery on February 22, 2012 (

* The Last Wheel (Das letzte Rad, dir. Olaf Held, 2009)
An old man finishes the last wheel for his great escape.

* Repitu (dir. Jana Richtmeyer, 2010)
One moment of inattention and the race against time, weather and technology begins.

* Hinterland (dir. Jakob Weyde / Jost Althoff, 2010)
In order to entertain himself, a bored bear gets himself an iPod. But then it is stolen and he finds himself racing after it into the great unknown.

* Anything But Sound (Alles außer Hören, dir. Peter Hecker, 2008)
The portrait of the everyday life of a deaf family. Their sensitivity to the visual is acute, and their means of communication engrossing.

* Illusion (dir. Carola Diekmann, 2006)
The illusion of authority lets a Berlin fare inspector continue to ply her trade.

* Hilda and Karl (Hilda und Karl, dir. Toke Constantin Hebbeln, 2006)
Two introverts at a factory attempt to form a lasting relationship.


Saturday – February 18, 2012 – 301 Herter Hall

8:30 – 9:30 a.m.  — Coffee and Muffin Breakfast

9:30 – 11:00 a.m. — Panel I: Sense of Gender – Sense of Race -Intersecting Frameworks of Identity — Victoria Rizo Lenshyn, chair

* “The Sense of Disgust in Contemporary Austrian Literature and Arts: On the Provocation and Validation of Gender”

Anna Baumeister (University of Oregon)

* “Something Like Happy: Self-Objects and Imagos in The Girl Who Fell from the Sky”

Jamele Watkins (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

* “Feelings of Gender Regulations”

Sonny Nordmarken (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

11:00 – 11:15 a.m. — Coffee Break


11:15 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. — Panel II: Voices, Echoes and the Mediated Ear — Evan Torner, chair

* “A Blending of Voices: Visual and Auditory Family Resemblance in Peter Henisch’s Die kleine Figur meines Vaters

Elizabeth Gordon (Ohio State University)

* “Sensing the Senses in German Baroque Poetry”

Sebastian Schulze (Freie Universität Berlin / University of Chicago)

* “A New Art for the Senses: Technology, Perception, and Synesthesia in the Operas of Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal”

Solveig Heinz (University of Michigan)

12:45 – 2:00 p.m. — Lunch Break


2:00 – 3:30 p.m. — Panel III: Sensing Space — Maureen Gallagher, chair

* “The Silence of Time in Carlos Reygadas’ Silent Light

Andrea Phillips (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

* “Viewing Landscapes with Pamuk, Sebald, and a Bit of Black Bile.”

Josh Alvizu (Yale University)

* “Haunting Manhattan’s High Line: Affective Infrastructures & Ecological Ghosts”

Sara J. Grossman (Rutgers University)

3:30 – 4:00 p.m. — Coffee Break


4:00 – 5:30 p.m. — Keynote Lecture: “‘Goethe spricht in den Phonographen:’ Schlüsselkonzepte in den Sound Studies”

Florence Feiereisen (Assistant Professor of German, Middlebury College)


Sunday – February 19, 2012 – 301 Herter Hall

8:30 – 9:30 a.m. — Coffee and Muffin Breakfast

9:30 – 11:00 a.m. — Panel IV: Visceral Corporeality – Bodies and Tongues —  Delene Case White, chair

* “Émile Zola and the Genealogy of a Sense”

Ryan Max Riley (Yale University)

* “Erecting the Law:  Legal and Sexual Fetishism in Thomas Mann’s Das Gesetz

Benjamin Duclos (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

11:00 – 11:15 — Break


11:15 – 12:45 p.m. — Panel V: Making Sense of Today’s Job Market — Victoria Rizo Lenshyn and Evan Torner, chairs

* Brenda Bethman (University of Missouri, Kansas City)

* Sarah Fetterhoff (Wachusett Regional High School)

* Florence Feiereisen (Middlebury College)


12:45 p.m. — Closing Remarks

Guest Biographies:

Florence Feiereisen
received her PhD from the University of Massachusetts in 2007 and is now Assistant Professor of German at Middlebury College in Vermont. She teaches German on all levels–most recently a class titled “Sound and the City: German Urban Cultural History.” Recent publications include a book on the works of Thomas Meinecke and Germany in the Loud Twentieth Century, an edited volume on German Sound Studies, co-edited with Alexandra Hill.

Brenda Bethman is the director of the women’s center at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she also holds appointments as Acting Director of the Women’s & Gender Studies Program and as Affiliated Faculty in German in the Department of Foreign Languages & Literatures. Before coming to UMKC, she was founding Program Coordinator of the Women¹s Center and then Director of the Women¹s & Gender Equity Resource Center at Texas A&M University. Brenda is a co-founder and co-editor of Student Affairs Women Talk Tech, a group blog that serves as a forum for women in student affairs with an interest in technology. She has presented and published on social media, assessment, women¹s leadership, women’s literature, Elfriede Jelinek, Marlene Streeruwitz, Ingeborg Bachmann, and feminism in a variety of venues. She holds a B.A. in German Literature from Dickinson College, an M.A. in German Literature from Temple University, and a Ph.D. in Modern German Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Advanced Feminist Studies from UMass Amherst.

Sarah Fetterhoff received her M.A. in German from UMass Amherst and now teaches German at Wachusett Regional High School in Holden, MA.

Conference Organizers:

Victoria Rizo Lenshyn, Evan Torner, Katrin Bahr, Andrea Phillips, Ben Duclos

Panel Chairs: Victoria Rizo Lenshyn, Evan Torner, Maureen Gallagher, Delene Case White

This conference is made possible thanks to the generous support of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the UMass Amherst Graduate School, the Max Kade Foundation, and German and Scandinavian Studies in the Languages, Literatures, Cultures Department at UMass Amherst.


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