40th Annual Conference Information

The Fortieth Annual Conference of the German Studies Association will take place from September 29 to October 2, 2016, at the Town and Country Resort and Convention Center, 500 Hotel Circle N, San Diego, CA 92108. Many of our members will be familiar with the hotel, as this will be our third meeting here. '


This year we are offering twenty-five seminars on a wide range of issues in German Studies. As was the case last year, the seminars will run concurrently on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday during the 8:00 a.m. time block.


As in previous years, many sessions and roundtables in 2016 will be sponsored by the GSA Interdisciplinary Networks. The GSA’s Interdisciplinary Committee coordinates the work of all our Networks, each of which in turn is organized by several hard-working coordinators. Networks sponsoring sessions this year are the Black Diaspora Studies Network, the Environmental Studies Network, the German Socialisms Network, the Law and Legal Cultures Network, the Memory Studies Network, the Music and Sound Studies Network, the Visual Culture Network, and the War and Violence Network.


Once again we have an exceptional group of luncheon and banquet speakers. We hope that as many of you as possible will attend these important events!


In 2017 we will commemorate the five hundredth anniversary of the Reformation with a series of special events. In anticipation of that commemoration, we are planning a special event at the fortieth anniversary conference in San Diego. Please watch for a detailed announcement!



Please book your travel so that you can join us for the GSA Fortieth Anniversary Arts Night on Thursday evening, September 29! Inspired by “First Night” celebrations on December 31st in many cities, this will be our second annual Arts Night, celebrating the creative and performing arts as an important part of German studies.

Session One (Thursday 7-7:50pm) will have three simultaneous offerings. You can choose to watch recent award winning Austrian short films (sponsored by the Austrian Cultural Forum New York), a special selection of short DEFA films (sponsored by the DEFA Film Library at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst) or attend a reading and discussion with author Keratin Hensel (sponsored by DAAD, GSA and the University of Wisconsin--Madison). Session Two (Thursday 8-9pm) will have a special celebrity guest. We’ll keep you posted. You won’t want to miss Arts Night 2016!



Our Friday luncheon speaker is Professor Helmut Walser Smith, Martha Rivers Ingram Professor of History at Vanderbilt University. He will speak on “The Surface and the Interior: What Eighteenth Century Travelers Saw in the German Lands.” An historian of modern Germany, with particular interests in the history of nation-building and nationalism, religious history, and the history of anti-Semitism, he is the author and editor of many books, among them German Nationalism and Religious Conflict, 1870-1914 (Princeton, 1995), The Oxford Handbook of Modern German History (Oxford, 2011), Protestants, Catholics and Jews in Germany, 1800-1914 (Oxford, 2001), the prize-winning The Butcher’s Tale: Murder and Anti-Semitism in a German Town (New York, 2002), The Oxford Handbook of Modern German History (Oxford, 2011), and The Continuities of German History: Nation, Religion, and Race across the Long Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, 2008). He is presently working on a book on German conceptions of nation before, during, and after nationalism. His research has been funded by the NEW, the German Academic Exchange Service, the Volkswagen Foundation, and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. At Vanderbilt, he has served as Director of the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities and the Max Kade Center for European and German Studies.



The President of the German Studies Association, Professor Irene Kacandes, will present her Presidential Address on “Die Ungnade der sp'ten Geburt: Challenges in the Twenty-First Century for Central Europeans.”' The Dartmouth Professor of German and Comparative Literature at Dartmouth College, Professor Kacandes chaired the Department of German Studies from 2008-2011. She studied at the Free University of Berlin and as a Fulbright Scholar at Aristotle University in Thessaloniki. In 1991 she completed her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at Harvard and taught at the University of Texas before coming to Dartmouth in 1994. Her interests in German range from Goethe and Kleist to Grass and Christa Wolf, and she has also published studies on Modern Greek literature. Specializing in narrative theory, cultural studies, and life writing, she has written articles concerning orality and literacy, feminist linguistics, trauma and memory studies, the Holocaust and Holocaust memoir, and experimental memoirs. In 2001 The University of Nebraska Press issued her Talk Fiction: Literature and the Talk Explosion as part of its “Frontiers of Narrative Series,” and in 2009 it published Daddy's War: Greek American Stories. A Paramemoir. With Steve Gordon she co-authored Let's Talk About Death: Asking the Questions that Profoundly Change the Way We Live and Die (Prometheus Books, 2015). She is the co-editor of A User's Guide to German Cultural Studies (1997); with Marianne Hirsch, of Teaching the Representation of the Holocaust, published by the Modern Language Association in 2004, and with Kathryn Abrams of a special issue of Women's Studies Quarterly on “Witness.” Professor Kacandes has served in a number of international leadership positions, including with the International Society for the Study of Narrative and in her current capacity as President of the German Studies Association. She directs a book series on "Interdisciplinary German Cultural Studies" published by de Gruyter Verlag in Berlin. Her current research concerns narrative medicine and medical humanities.



As we approach the seventieth anniversary of the European Recovery Program, we are pleased to welcome Professor G'nter Bischof, who will speak on “American Nation-Building and Postwar Reconstruction: The Marshall Plan in Austria.” He attended the University of Innsbruck where he studied English/American Studies and History/Ancient History. He was the first Innsbruck student to get a scholarship at the University of New Orleans, where he completed an MA in American History under the tutelage of Stephen Ambrose. After teaching high-school English in Austria, he returned to the U.S. for a PhD at Harvard University. Mentored by Ernest May and Charles Maier, his dissertation was published as Austria in the First Cold War, 1945-55: The Leverage of the Weak (Basingstoke: Macmillan 1999). He has taught international history at the University of New Orleans since 1989, where he is also Director of Center Austria: The Austrian Marshall Plan Center of European Studies. He has also served a co-editor of Contemporary Austrian Studies since the inception of this annual publication in 1993 (25 volumes, published jointly by UNO and Innsbruck University Press) and also edits the book series TRANSATLANTICA (10 volumes, StudienVerlag Innsbruck) and Central European Studies of History, Culture and Literature (2 volumes with UNO Press). He is the co-editor of three volumes on the Marshall Plan: with Charles S. Maier, The Marshall Plan and Germany: West German Development within the Framework of the European Recovery Program (1991, German ed. 1992); with Dieter Stiefel, 80 Dollar: 50 Jahre ERP-Fonds und Marshall-Plan in 'sterreich 1948-1998 (1999, English ed. 2000); with Stiefel and Hannes Richter, Images of the Marshall Plan: Film, Photographs, Exhibits, Posters (2009).

We look forward to welcoming you to San Diego!

Best regards,

David E. Barclay

Executive Director, GSA