In autumn, there are two interesting upcoming conferences to which I will contribute talks on two of my major research areas.1The first one is the 6th Münster Congress of Education titled Promoting talent, enhancing performance, developing educational justice for all at the International Centre for Talent Research in Münster. September 19-22, 2018. For my talk, I have chosen a rather unusual, if not marginalized topic: “Teaching Foreign Language Literature, Aptitude and Educational Justice“. (Friday, September 21, 2018, 10.30-11.30 am). The underlying hypothesis is that what could be called the pragmatic turn in foreign language (FL) teaching, and in the curricula in particular, has left a rather marginal role for literature in secondary schools in Germany.
In my talk, I will address a much-neglected effect of such a one-dimensional, pragmatic conception of language learning: If literature is relegated to the upper secondary classroom, learners at the lower secondary stage are denied access to literature and to the literary-aesthetic dimension of FL cultures altogether. This even affects the kind of language they learn: It is limited to more or less trivial everyday situations and everyday use. In connection with the effects of social exclusion in secondary education, privileging those from higher social classes, literary education at the lower secondary stage will have to be part of an effort to enhance educational justice for all.2The second talk is a contribution to an international literary and cultural studies conference at the Giessen International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture in November: Forms at Work (Giessen, November 19-21, 2018). The conference addresses the more recent re-discovery of form in the humanities. In my talk “The Cultural Work of Genres”, I will draw upon genre theory as developed in the Sydney School of Systemic Functional Linguistics and in Social Semiotics and place it in the context of the study of culture.