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International Walter Benjamin Conference 2019

June 26 - June 29

Walter Benjamin obtained his doctoral degree on June 27 of 1919 at the University of Bern. Precisely 100 years on, this serves as an occasion to host the bi-annual conference organized by the International Walter Benjamin Society in Bern and to look at these beginnings. Six thematic-based panels show how much Benjamin’s thinking is connected to almost all humanities subjects, but in any case, requires inter- and trans-disciplinary access. A reading group aims to promote a discussion of two of Benjamin’s texts.

Lectures and concert at Zentrum Paul Klee, June 26:

– Annie Bourneuf: Too Many Times: On Klee’s Angelus Novus
– Axel Körner: Benjamin, Klee, Catastrophe. Historical Time in European Perspective
– Concert CAMERATA BERN with Patricia Kopatchinskaja: Pierrot Lunaire


– Galili Shahar, Tel Aviv
– Juliet Simpson, Coventry
– Brigid Doherty, Princeton
– Sigrid Weigel


1. Uncanny Modernities / Modernisms – Repetition, Phantom, Phantasm in the Wake of World War I (Christine Blättler, Kiel / Gabriele Rippl, Berne)
2. Early Lives – Childhood and Youth (Ben Morgan, Oxford / Michael Stolz, Berne)
3. Exile and Migration – Peripatetic Lives and Traveling Ideas (Carolin Duttlinger, Oxford / Kristina Schulz, Neuchâtel)
4. Benjamin, Switzerland, and Horizons of Jewish Identity – A Space of Experience (Ilit Ferber, Tel Aviv / René Bloch, Berne)
5. The Berne PhD. Dissertation – Art Criticism and the Art of Criticism (Michael W. Jennings, Princeton / Alexander Honold, Basel)
6. The Art of Translation – Experiencing Other Languages (Gérard Raulet, Paris / Julia Straub, Bern)

Reading Group (Ori Rotlevy, Tel Aviv / Toni Hildebrandt, Berne)

Please find the detailed program including abstracts here (updated on April 3).

The call for papers ended on September 30, 2018. The organizing committee has received 94 high-level applications. In an anonymous selection process, 69 proposals from 16 countries were accepted.

All speakers are kindly asked to submit their final abstract by May 15, 2019 to conference@wbkolleg.unibe.ch.

Here’s the list of hotel allotments: Benjamin_conference_2019_accomodations

You can register here (fee: regular 237 CHF,  students/post-graduates 173 CHF).

In case of any questions please contact conference@wbkolleg.unibe.ch


June 26
June 29


Schanzeneckstrasse 1, Berne, 3012 Switzerland
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