CfA: GSA Emerging Scholars Workshop (ESW) 2021

Nov. 13, 2020 

Call for Applicants

GSA Emerging Scholars Workshop (ESW)

Note: the deadline for the second session only (“Critical European Studies in Practice and Theory,” facilitated by Prof. Randall Halle) has been extended to midnight January 4. 

We are excited to issue this call for the Emerging Scholars Workshop (ESW) to be hosted for the second time at the 45th German Studies Association Conference in Indianapolis, from September 30-October 3, 2021. This workshop is exclusively for graduate students. 

The Emerging Scholars Workshop (ESW) will run parallel to the established seminars and in addition to regular conference sessions and roundtables (for general conference information see

Over the past ten years, graduate programs across the country have contracted. Fewer graduate students now encounter fewer regular graduate courses that have often also become more general in content in order to produce satisfactory enrollment. As a result, much of the specialized but crucial field training has moved into one-on-one tutorials and directed readings. The new Emerging Scholars Workshop seeks to give the up-and-coming cohort of scholars access to the leading faculty in their field, increase the advice and mentoring they receive, and allow them to come together for sustained professional conversations. The goal is to enable the next generation of Germanists and Historians to produce their best possible work, be competitive across fields, and contribute to the vitality, relevance, and productivity of our field at large. 

There will be two ESW sessions. You can only apply to one: 

  • Workshop 1:

“Cultural Approaches to Modern German History” facilitated by Prof. Monica Black, University of Tennessee at Knoxville (

This seminar is designed for graduate students at any level interested in anthropological and cultural approaches to modern German history. Our discussions will focus on such issues as subjectivity, ritual and symbolic practice, vernacular knowledge, and systems of meaning. In that sense, the seminar will be as concerned with theory and method as with any particular era or specific set of topics. Some advance reading will be required.

  • Workshop 2:

“Critical European Studies in Practice and Theory,” facilitated by Prof. Randall Halle, University of Pittsburgh (

This Critical European/German Studies seminar is oriented toward grad students interested in German cultural policy and production in a transnational European context. If we only focus on the word on the page, the image on the screen, or the performer on the stage, we understand only a fraction of what brought them there. The workshop offers both practical and theoretical training for participants who want to engage the contemporary creative industries and the cultural policy that organizes them. We will investigate various mechanisms of European, national, and regional policy and funding. Participants will then engage the processes of Europeanization and their impact on the German-speaking world. We will finally set the contemporary cultural project of the EU in relation to longer histories of Europeanization and other models like Paneurope, the Europe of Nations, Eurasia, Eurafrica, and the imaginative communities they constitute. After completing the seminar, participants will be better able to assess the complex connectivity of the (German) cultural objects they investigate.

Students from all disciplines within German Studies (literature, history, cultural studies, art history, musicology, anthropology, Queer Studies, architectural history, political science, sociology, and others) are invited to apply to a workshop of their choosing. 

The workshops will convene parallel to the regular seminars, Friday through Sunday, 8:30-10am. Participants must commit to participate in all three workshop meetings. Please note that workshop participants will not be allowed to submit a paper in a regular panel session. However, they may take on one additional role in the conference independent of their role in a workshop – as a moderator of another session or as a participant in a roundtable. ESW participation counts as full GSA conference participation and may be listed on a CV accordingly. 

The ESW is open to students enrolled in a graduate program. To be considered, students need to submit a well-crafted cover letter (2 pages max.). Entry-level graduate students should introduce their research focus and likely MA-thesis or dissertation plans. Advanced graduate students should address their dissertation projects. The letter should also convey the ways in which the student seeks to benefit from the workshop. The letter must indicate which of the two workshops the applicant wishes to join. 

The deadline for the submission of the application letter is Friday, December 18, 2020 by 11:59 pm EST. Please email your letter to both Astrid M. Eckert and Priscilla D. Layne. Late applications will not be considered.

Following the submission of applications, the ESW Committee, in conjunction with the workshop leaders, will select the participants. Applicants will be notified of the Committee’s decisions by January 4, 2021. Students who cannot be accommodated this time will still have the opportunity to apply to one of the regular GSA seminars or sessions. 


The ESW Committee consists of:

Astrid M. Eckert (Emory University) | 

Priscilla D. Layne (UNC-Chapel Hill) | 


Please direct inquiries to both ESW Committee members. 

We are looking forward to receiving your application!