Monday, September 30, 2013

Repetition is a reflection of the world we live in. From the branching of trees to the branching of neurons, we can see examples of repetition in nature. Even the foundations of language may be built upon the repetition of sounds.  Our very conception of beauty is based on forms of repetition, found in natural expressions of symmetry.  In our modern world, truth has become fused with the necessity for verification through repetition.  Repetition is ubiquitous on Earth.

Recently, our conception of repetition has become marred. Like a broken record, we find ourselves detesting the mundane, quotidian nature of our lives.  We associate repetition with boredom and monotony.  We struggle to find a way out of the cycle, assuming that if we don’t find an escape, we will be “doomed to repeat” the same events for eternity.  Repetition can be seen as criminal. Plagiarism and forgery are today viewed as repetition in its worst forms. German politicians have recently demonstrated that plagiarism is a trap that even the most highly educated of us can fall into.

While it may seem that forgery is a modern epidemic, emulation was long considered the path to mastery. In each discipline, repetition is a basic drive.  Codified ideals of pattern and form influence the creation of art throughout history. Rhythm and beat are dependent on the repetition of sounds. In dance, complex but repetitive choreography can convey the deepest emotions.  The natural sciences not only study repetitive phenomena like reproduction and self-sustaining biochemical reactions, but the entire research process is beholden to the repetition of observations. Today, what is called “intertextuality” brings a positive connotation to repetition within texts by alluding to the themes, motifs, or other textual aspects of previous works. Whether it is a repeated frame of a film or a roter Faden (red thread) woven through the pages of a text, repetition is rarely far away.  We live each day in this enigmatic world, experiencing all of the mundane and beautiful aspects of repetition – and we’ll do it all over again tomorrow.

We invite graduate students from all disciplines to submit papers in English or German investigating repetition in our world. While this conference is being hosted by the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Virginia, students in other fields, including the natural sciences, physics, literary and media studies, music, dance, art, and architecture, are encouraged to submit an abstract.

Possible topics include but are not limited to: 

·       Motifs – Synonyms – Onomatopoeia
·         Memory - Recollection - Déjá vu – Amnesia
·         Repeating History – Time Travel 
·         Borrowing – Recycling – Imitation – Emulation
·         Re-readings – Reviews – Revisions – Editions
·         References– Copying – Plagiarism – Forgery
·         Redundancy – Tautology
·         Habits –Tediousness – Sisyphean Tasks
·         Replication – Cloning – Mutation – Technology
·         Patterns – Cycles – Waves – Clocks
·         Echoes – Resonance – Reflections – Mirroring
·         Adaptations – Retellings – Translations 
·         Form – Structure – Symmetry
·         Printing – Print Culture – Photographs
·         Practice – Perfection
·         Rhythm – Beat – Sampling – Refrain – Reprise