Prof. Dr. MaryAnn Snyder-Körber (Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg): "Think Small: Minor Forms & the Making of Modernity"

Thursday, January 20, 2022, 10:15-11:45 a.m., online lecture
Zoom-Call ID: 930 7413 9032 (opens at 10 a.m. sharp)

The story of modernity is generally told as a drama of epic shifts and grand scales. We turn, so this story grows, from old authorities and determinisms towards a radically new focus on freedom and the self-determining subject. And this is not just a tale among others, but explicitly a "master narrative" (Lyotard) according to which all other stories come to be plotted. But is this really how modernity – the sense of our time as distinctly "now" and interconnected – truly comes to be? This interactive talk argues that it is not the epic and grand, but the small and spreadable that create the cohesion of the modern. This approach to the making of modernity will take us from the cultures of the nineteenth century and to contemporary social media. Our perspective on both will be focused through Teju Cole's Twitter experiments with the minor form of the miscellaneous news item or "fait divers" in his series "Small Fates" (2011-2013).

Prof. Dr. MaryAnn Snyder-Körber is Professor of American Cultural Studies at the Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg. Her most recent publications include the book Anecdotal Modernity: Making and Unmaking History (de Gruyter 2020; coedited with James Dorson, Florian Sedlmeier, and Birte Wege) and the essay "From Paris with Love? The Paris Review." Print Works? Wie Verlagen, Zeitungen und Zeitschriften das Überleben gelingt (Work & Nights 2020; edited by Hendrikje Schauer and Marcel Lepper). In her research, she is currently focusing on how modernization processes intersect with cultural production practices, looking closely at media ecologies and the material forms (print, visual, and digital) that they foster. In addition to exploring American modernism in the context of Americanization and the anecdote as a key narrative mode of modernity, Prof. Snyder-Körber’s areas of interest also include articulation as a key analytical concept in cultural studies (and beyond), networked cultures from the nineteenth century to the present, gender discourses and feminism as well as aesthetics and practices of authorship. (Homepage)