CfA: GSA Seminar Participation Applications (due Jan. 27)

GSA Seminars 2020

The 44th GSA Conference in Washington, D.C., from October 1-4, 2020 will again host a series of seminars in addition to its regular conference sessions and roundtables. You can find information about the conference under “current conference” here.

Seminars meet for all three days of the conference during the first or second morning slot to foster extended discussion, rigorous intellectual exchange, and intensified networking. They are led by two to four conveners and consist of 10 to 20 participants, at least some of whom should be graduate students. In order to reach the goal of extended discussion, seminar organizers and participants are required to participate in all three installments of the seminar.

The submission website can be found here. You will be asked to submit a brief abstract (500 words) and a short C.V. (500-1,000 words). The deadline for applications to participate in a seminar is 27 January, 2020, 11:59pm EST.

The following seminars have been selected and approved for enrollment at the 2020 GSA Conference. Tip: You can click on the title to go to the seminar description, and then click your browser’s backbutton to return to the list.

You may contact the individual seminar conveners for questions about their seminars (emails listed in the description); you may contact the members of the Seminar Committee for general questions. Please direct all other questions, including inquiries regarding disability accommodation, to the Operations Director, Dr. Benita Blessing (operations@thegsa.org).

Joe Perry (Georgia State University) jbperry@gsu.edu (chair)

Elizabeth Drummond (Loyola Marymount University) elizabeth.drummond@lmu.edu

Richard Langston (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) relangst@email.unc.edu

 

  1. Anti-Racist Pedagogy - Opportunities, Challenges, and Strategies for the German Classroom (Sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of German)
  2. Beyond Umweltschutz: Narrative and Visual Responses to Environmental Threats
  3. Centers and Peripheries in Central European History
  4. Comics - A Transgressive Art: Theoretical Foundations and Intersections (Sponsored by the Comics Studies Network)
  5. Crime and the Law in Germany from Unification to Reunification
  6. Digital Humanities and the Second World War. Sources, Approaches and Presentation (Sponsored by the Digital Humanities Network)
  7. “Entanglements and Separations”: German Histories since 1945
  8. Genealogies of Self-Reflection: Writing in the Wake of Trauma
  9. German Party Politics in Times of Change and Uncertainty
  10. Germany Faces East: WW I and the Post-War World
  11. Holocaust Tourism Revisited: Holocaust Memorial Culture between Education, Tourism, and Commemoration
  12. Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Empires: Consulting Pre-Modern Sources (Sponsored by YMAGINA)
  13. The Nazi Legacy: Reconstruction Efforts and Memory Projects since 1945
  14. Noncitizenship and Artistic Practice
  15. The Pasts and Futures of German Jewish Studies
  16. Performance and Politics
  17. Performing Exile: Performance and the History of Refugees from Nazi Europe
  18. Post-Global Aesthetics? Cultural Production between Globalization and the Planet
  19. Resonance in Art, Film, Literature, Music, and Theory
  20. Sacrifice, Myth, and Ritual in German Arts and Letters, 1800 - Present
  21. The Second Austrian Republic: Building the Nation, Shaping the State
  22. Sexuality and the Law in German-speaking Europe
  23. Socialist Subjectivities: Rethinking East Germany under Honecker
  24. Steal This Assignment! Hack Your German Studies Course with the GSA Teaching MakerSpace (Sponsored by the Teaching Network)
  25. Theory Critical, or Marx, Nietzsche, Freud—Now!
  26. Theory of Number
  27. Transnational Refugee Practices and Discourses: Berlin, Istanbul, and the Urban Assemblages in Between
  28. Transnationalizing the Sturm und Drang

 

01. Anti-Racist Pedagogy - Opportunities, Challenges, and Strategies for the German Classroom (Sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of German)

Conveners:

Abstract:
While anti-racist pedagogy is not new to education, Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Anti-Racist (2019) brought the concept into public awareness. Although many instructors understand the need for inclusive classroom practices, most of us struggle with establishing anti-racist pedagogical approaches. Anti-racist pedagogy requires a move from cursory inclusion to a fully-aware inclusivity, one that often necessitates a journey into a place of discomfort to see the ways in which racism--and other forms of discrimination--invade all spaces, including the classroom. This seminar will introduce the concept of anti-racist pedagogy as well as support participants in developing anti-racist methodologies through theoretical readings and concrete examples. We will complicate the notions of diversity and inclusion vis a vis anti-racism, while also modeling how to broach sensitive topics in the classroom. 

Format:
We will pre-circulate foundational texts on anti-racism/anti-racist pedagogy in Spring 2020 and ask participants to engage in and submit personal reflections on the readings during summer 2020. Participants will also be asked develop a proposal for the implementation of anti-racist pedagogy in their specific institutional/program context by September 2020.

Silent Auditors:
No

 

02. Beyond Umweltschutz: Narrative and Visual Responses to Environmental Threats

Conveners:

Abstract:
Germany has a long and controversial history of environmental engagement. As the global dangers of climate change become more apparent, the question of how to communicate environmental threats is ever more pressing. How do we connect past challenges and solutions to present-day ones? Should we convey doomsday messages or stories of hope?  Will scientific evidence carry the day or do we need stories that engage the emotions?  How do terms such as Anthropocene impact the conversation? How does a German perspective fit into international debates?

We invite contributions that address responses to and communication about environmental crises from a variety of disciplinary angles as well as contemporary and historical perspectives. We are especially interested in papers that think through narrative and visual representations in stories about environmental threats. Papers might focus on cross-cultural exchange, genre and theoretical approaches, or how different political, religious, scientific, and social actors shape the narrative.

Format:
Participants submit 4000-word papers by August 15 to all members of the seminar. At the GSA, participants will engage in extensive discussion based on the papers and brief presentations. Each day will be organized according to thematic panels of 3-5 presenters. The conveners will offer a daily summary.

Silent Auditors:
Yes

 

03. Centers and Peripheries in Central European History

Conveners:

Abstract:
What is Central Europe? And where? This seminar will explore the role of German-speaking people in the creation and definition of Central Europe as a geographical, cultural, and political concept from the early modern to the modern period. The possibility of Central Europe reemerged in the wake of communism, but linguistic, cultural, and state-based concepts of a region “between” had a much older lineage. Moreover, Central Europe is more than just German-speaking, and we are interested in interrogating the concept and position of “German Studies” beyond and within the German lands. The role of German communities and their contribution to the development of Central Europe (both materially and as a concept), as well as their interactions with other ethno-linguistic groups, are salient themes. This seminar will evaluate the importance of “German-ness” in understanding Central Europe and use that to explore the field’s position within the broader framework of “German Studies.”

Format:
The format of the seminar will be a mix of discussion of short pre-circulated papers and open-ended discussion. By one month before the conference, participants will submit either a short (~10) excerpt from their research or a similarly brief position paper (~5 pages) that tackles the theme.

Silent Auditors:
Yes

 

04. Comics - A Transgressive Art: Theoretical Foundations and Intersections (Sponsored by the Comics Studies Network)

Conveners:

Abstract:
This seminar builds on the work of the newly established Comics Studies Network of the GSA. Past panels and roundtables on various historical and thematic aspects of comics provide evidence for the medium’s critical intervention in discussions of individual identity and issues of social justice. Recognizing the transgressive potential of comics to enable synergies between research and teaching and to invite dialogue among creators, consumers, and critics, we also see the demand for a more robust theoretical discussion of the affordances of comics. The seminar will thus examine foundational works of Comics Studies in order to establish a systematic theoretical framework within which to situate specific investigations. To explore the interdisciplinary possibilities of comics scholarship, we are interested in attracting scholars from a variety of disciplines and positions, including graduate students, who employ diverse approaches to questions of form, function, production, and reception with regard to German-language comics.

Format:
The seminar discussions will start from pre-circulated position papers (ca. 1,000 words each) that engage with texts from a list of core theoretical and methodological readings to be distributed in April 2020. In August, participants will submit their position papers to the conveners for distribution to all seminar participants.

Silent Auditors:
Yes

 

05. Crime and the Law in Germany from Unification to Reunification

Conveners:

Abstract:
In the film M, Hans Beckert stood accused of being a serial child murderer before a jury of career criminals. Beckert argued that basic issues were at stake, including moral compulsion, autonomy and justice, and the rights of citizens to free and fair trials. These issues will be explored in the proposed seminar. Questions of guilt, judgment, and surveillance are central to the history of crime, sexuality, and justice in the modern world. What, in the end, makes a crime criminal’?  We are looking for papers that link individual crimes and/or criminal proceedings to society and politics at large. We are especially interested in the interrelationship of the police, justice system, and the civilian population. We are open to papers that treat both true crime and fictional writing in various eras to try to better understand the periods at hand.  

Format:
Participants will submit 10-15 page papers one month before the seminar. Conveners will group papers by theme, regardless of chronology and discipline and form subgroups whose members will exchange ideas and thoughts by email. At GSA, the collective will discuss the group ideas, individual work, and methodological innovations.

Silent Auditors:
Yes

 

06. Digital Humanities and the Second World War: Sources, Approaches and Presentation (Sponsored by the Digital Humanities Network)

Conveners:

Abstract:
The Second World War continues to be a central source of topics in German Studies. The DH offer a variety of new approaches and opportunities (e.g. historical GIS, digital history and spatial humanities), even as they present difficulties and pose problems (categorization, sustainability, long-term financing). The seminar aims to bring together scholars and graduate students working in the areas of war and war crimes, the Holocaust and genocide, collaboration and resistance, everyday life and supplies, prisoners of war and forced labor, and remembering and memory, and to give them the opportunity to present their projects in the digital humanities and engage in a deep discussion together.

The exchange should make it possible to examine different sources, approaches and methods as well as difficulties encountered and solutions reached in individual projects.

Format:
The participants will upload and share their own project descriptions in a prestructured, uniform format on a blog in advance. In addition, selected titles will serve as a shared working basis for the seminar sessions. Seminar sessions will focus on sources and digitization, project presentation and visualization and teaching.

Silent Auditors:
Yes

 

07. “Entanglements and Separations”: German Histories since 1945

Conveners:

Abstract:
2020 marks thirty years of German reunification after forty-five years of division. In the 1980s, prior to reunification, historian Christoph Klessmann observed that the historiographies of the Federal Republic of Germany in the West and the German Democratic Republic in the East had remained largely separated. He proposed instead to approach contemporary German history from the perspective of “entanglement and separation.” More than thirty years after German reunification, historians and cultural studies scholars are starting to take up Klessmann’s call to write integrated histories of both Germanys after 1945. In addition, historians such as Konrad H. Jarausch have called for writing post-1989 historical narratives of a reunified Germany. This seminar will bring together scholars from a range of fields and academic ranks (graduate students, junior faculty, and senior faculty) to interrogate the utility of the concept of “entanglement and separation” and discuss new methods and approaches to writing integrated German histories.

Format:
Each participant will submit an article-length paper prior to the conference. Papers may be on any aspect of German-German history but should include an explicitly methodological comment on the author’s chosen approach to entanglement and separation. Pre-circulation will allow us to devote most of the time to discussion of submissions.

Silent Auditors:
Yes

 

08. Genealogies of Self-Reflection: Writing in the Wake of Trauma

Conveners:

Abstract:
In her book Born After: Reckoning with the German Past (2019), Angelika Bammer recalls how she overcame the “reckoning with her German past,” by taking Adorno’s advice to heart, that only “critical reflection” provides a path through the impasse of weighted history and memory. A tour de force of self-reflection and rigorous readings of cultural production, this book offers a point of departure for exploring the trope of critical self-reflection in German studies in order to acknowledge the hidden genealogies that haunt our scholarly texts. This seminar will provide a forum for a diverse range of participants whose “reckoning” with their pasts, may be quite distinct from the usual paradigms of transgenerational transmission within “German” pasts and instead, encompass multiple genealogies of (family) identities, heritages, and indigeneities.

Format:
Participants submit 12-15 page writing samples (double-spaced) to be pre-circulated, read in advance, and workshopped in the seminar. Participants read two books in advance: C. Sharpe's In the Wake: on Blackness and Being and A. Bammer's Born After: Reckoning with the German Past. Writing samples to be submitted by September 1.

Silent Auditors:
No

 

09. German Party Politics in Times of Change and Uncertainty

Conveners:

Abstract:
For many decades, Germany has enjoyed a rather stable democratic party system. Coalition governments of two parties, either center-right or center-left, were the norm. Political developments in recent years, most importantly the rise of right-wing populist challengers and the decline of social democracy, have dramatically altered party competition in Germany and across Europe. What accounts for the shifts and how do these changes affect democracy in Germany? The seminar will explore political parties in times of diminishing party identification and increasing political fragmentation. Paper givers will be invited to situate German developments in a comparative perspective. The seminar will focus on political science approaches, but it will be open to other disciplines and interdisciplinary perspectives. A major goal is to foster the exchange between younger and seasoned colleagues in the field. Ideally, the seminar will also generate topics for joint German-American research projects and transatlantic engagement.

Format:
Participants will present papers based on their research (20 pages). Papers will be circulated four weeks in advance and participants will prepare comments. Ideally, the seminar will foster joint research interests and transatlantic engagement. We will involve DAAD Professors in North America and reach out to German colleagues as well.

Silent Auditors:
Yes

 

10. Germany Faces East: WW I and the Post-War World (Sponsored by the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies)

Conveners:

Abstract:
Germany by the end of WW I had penetrated deeply into the western areas of what had been the Russian empire which was in the midst of a revolution. The seminar will examine the divergent views that existed in Germany about what German policy toward the East should be, as well as discuss the interaction of actual German policy and German military authority with the populations of the different areas of occupation.  Short-term institution building, economic policies including food requisitions, and cultural policies will be considered. The focus of attention will be the interaction of both war-time and post-war Germany with what came to be called East Central Europe. The intent of the seminar is to bring together scholars who work in traditional German studies with historians working on areas and peoples to the east of Germany.  

Format:
Besides discussion of both the status of existing research and future directions, participants engaged in current research on relevant topics will be asked to circulate papers by Sept. 1 to be read by all. Participants will be asked to critique specific research, and all should participate in the discussion.

Silent Auditors:
Yes

 

11. Holocaust Tourism Revisited: Holocaust Memorial Culture between Education, Tourism, and Commemoration

Conveners:

Abstract:
Every year, millions of visitors stream to Holocaust memorials, museums and sites of atrocities. Considering their differing motives for visiting these sites, many reject the label “tourist.” This seminar invites scholars, educators, and practitioners of all academic ranks and disciplines to examine and discuss Holocaust sites with particular focus on the tensions between the goals of education, tourism, and commemoration. Among the questions we want to discuss are: What strategies do Holocaust memorials and museums employ to engage visitors with diverse national, cultural, and religious backgrounds as well as differing abilities, varying levels of previous knowledge and often opposing expectations? How does knowledge of the Holocaust transmitted through mass media such as Hollywood films influence site visits? What are scenographic and spatial effects (on multiple senses) of staging the Holocaust? How do virtual visits and 3D-testimonies contribute to Holocaust remembrance? How can visitor intentions and reactions be evaluated?

Format:
Conveners will distribute methodological readings and talking points for interdisciplinary discussion by mid-July. Participants will pre-circulate electronically six- to eight-page position papers by mid-August to be read prior to the conference. Seminar meetings will start with five-minute summaries of position papers and presentations of site images, followed by moderated discussions.

Silent Auditors:
No

 

12. Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Empires: Consulting Pre-Modern Sources (Sponsored by YMAGINA)

Conveners:

Abstract:
This interdisciplinary seminar will provide a forum for the exchange of ideas between premodernists who study Central European empires pre-1800. The topic “Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Empires” refers to themes being discussed in other pre-modern German panels more generally, but also serves as a rallying point for scholars working in different fields, time periods, and geographic areas. Whether understood broadly or narrowly, empires—both real and imagined—played a crucial role in pre-modern Europe. Yet, primary sources that shed light on empires—their conceptualization, creation, existence, decline, and legacies—are in many cases understudied, unedited, or largely unavailable to a wider audience. This can make the analysis and interpretation of empires difficult, if not impossible, without collaboration, which this seminar seeks to foster. We strongly encourage the participation of scholars in history, art history, literary studies, religious studies, music, etc., and welcome innovative approaches. Graduate students are welcome.

Format:
Participants will pre-circulate a short primary source (text, object, artwork) and a brief (1,500 words) description of their approach (research questions, methodological/theoretical issues, contexts, etc.), including a translation if relevant. Participants will assess briefly (5-minutes) the source’s significance and relevance to the study of empires. Group discussion will follow presentations.

Silent Auditors:
Yes

 

13. The Nazi Legacy: Reconstruction Efforts and Memory Projects since 1945

Conveners:

Abstract:
This seminar provides a forum for exchange of ideas between scholars in all disciplines working on recovery, reorientation, and memory in Germany, Austria, or Nazi-occupied areas after 1945. We encourage participation of scholars at all levels (incl. graduate students) who investigate new avenues of research, especially those with multidisciplinary approaches that challenge traditional interpretations. Seminar discussion will revolve around three common themes: “political cleansing”; “reshaping society after fascism”; and “memory and forgetting.” Through shared readings and discussion of ongoing or newly initiated projects, seminars participants will explore the complex, often fraught relationship between punitive vs rehabilitative actions, collective vs individual accountability, and private vs. public expression or concealment. We will also consider political, economic, social, cultural, and emotional perspectives on legacies of Nazi dictatorship and wartime occupation. Possible topics include the function/effects of denazification; law and justice; reeducation; guilt/accountability; economic development; cultural forms; memory culture; race, gender and sexuality.

Format:
This trans-disciplinary seminar welcomes scholars focusing on Germany, Austria, or Nazi-occupied areas after 1945. We employ discrete daily themes (“political cleansing”; “reshaping society after fascism”; “memory/forgetting”), to explore a common reading assigned beforehand (~30-45 mins) followed by short work-in-progress presentations (~5-10 mins). Sessions conclude with feedback on methods and sources.

Silent Auditors:
Yes

 

14. Noncitizenship and Artistic Practice

Conveners:

 

Abstract:
This seminar will examine the possibilities and limits of artistic production and participation for noncitizens, both historically and in the present, in Germany and beyond. What does it mean to be a noncitizen? What does it mean to be an artist without a state? How might legal conceptualizations of citizenship be shifted through noncitizens’ artistic practices? And how might citizenship be enacted through art? To what extent does art represent an opportunity for political practice and participation? To what extent do artistic practices exceed the limits of citizenship, providing new possibilities of participation and care? What does it mean to be an artist without institutionalized care? Our seminar will think through these questions as articulated by German exiles abroad, post-war Turkish immigrants, Palestinian refugees, African migrants, Black German artists, those fleeing war and persecution in Yugoslavia, Romania, and Iran throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and contemporary artists in refuge.

Format:
Participants will write (and share) 5-page papers in response to the questions above (while also engaging selected assigned texts) by August. The convenors will group papers on the basis of method, focus, and theme, and will provide brief comments addressing the shared topics, intersections, and points of tension for each day.

Silent Auditors:
Yes

 

15. The Pasts and Futures of German Jewish Studies

Conveners:

Abstract:
In the past two decades, German Jewish Studies (GJS) has expanded to include new narratives, configurations, and approaches (e.g., multilingualism, translation, migration history, gender & sexuality, popular culture, and digital humanities). This seminar will take stock of the history, methods, and key figures of GJS, and provide a space for experimental approaches to research, teaching, and networking. How might new perspectives allow us to teach the subject differently, more inclusively, and beyond the nation-state model? What is the relationship between GJS and the discipline-wide effort to decolonize German Studies? And how might GJS continue to foreground identities and histories of marginalized peoples and groups in an age of resurgent antisemitism and xenophobia in the public and digital spheres? Seminar readings and position statements will help frame this robust conversation for faculty and graduate students in literature, history, and the other subfields of GJS.

Format:
Participants will circulate a 2,000-2,500 word paper (e.g., chapter excerpt, short conference paper, Thesenpapier, annotated syllabus, etc.) by September 1, 2020, read a few pre-circulated, field-defining texts touching upon the seminar’s broader themes, and (depending on the size of the seminar) provide commentary on another participant’s paper.

Silent Auditors:
Yes

 

16. Performance and Politics

Conveners:

Abstract:
This seminar will investigate the myriad intertwining of political activities and discourses in their historical contexts with acts of performance. Topics of investigation include not only the re-production of the political in artistic performances and medial representations, but also the performative as a constitutive act of political life. Performative acts thus need not be intentional or structured as such, but rather allow themselves to be interpreted as performances using a broad array of theories regarding actors, audiences, stagings, media, technologies, discursivity and materiality. Discussions will build on short position papers from each participant addressing the seminar topic through a specific “instance of performance.” These “instances” may be drawn from any German-language text, artefact or activity that the participant construes and articulates in the context of performance. We seek proposals from a broad range of disciplines and perspectives, and encourage proposals from participants at all career stages, including graduate students.

Format:
Seminar participants will submit a 5-7 page paper and a one-page abstract on their “instance of performance” three weeks prior to the conference. The conveners will organize the papers into three thematic clusters and circulate them in advance of the sessions to serve as the basis for discussion.

Silent Auditors:
Yes

 

17. Performing Exile: Performance and the History of Refugees from Nazi Europe

Conveners:

Abstract:
This seminar provides a forum for collaboration between scholars in all disciplines working on migration, exile, and displacement from Nazi Europe. It seeks more nuanced alternatives to complicate older paradigms that emphasize such dynamics as Americanization and unidirectional assimilation into host-countries, and focus on the success or failure of well-known individuals. This seminar engages with works that consider: • Performance Studies as a lens for thinking about migration • Global and transnational perspectives • Relations between Jewish and non-Jewish Refugees • Gender and Exile • The persistence of interwar Central European influences • Remigration to postwar Europe Ultimately, this seminar encourages participants to think about how refugees reimagined their identities as Europeans and/or Jews through various cultural and political practices. We encourage graduate students and younger scholars to apply and we aim to promote interdisciplinary discussion.

Format:
This seminar will meet each day of the conference for two hours. We plan to spend the first day discussing selected readings on our topic. The second and third days will be devoted to discussions of pre-circulated papers (5-10 pp), in which each participant will draw on their research to reflect on the broader topic. Paper deadline: one month before the GSA.

Silent Auditors:
Yes

 

18. Post-Global Aesthetics? Cultural Production between Globalization and the Planet

Conveners:

Abstract:
The paradigm of “the global,” with its connotations of teleology, anthropocentrism, and systemic homogenization, has come under intense pressure in a range of discussions and recent critical paradigms, including planetary studies, ecocriticism, and the Anthropocene debate. Such perspectives have suggested that the heterogeneity and relationality of the planet’s manifold scales has been rendered invisible by ‘the global’. Simultaneously, scholars in diverse fields have highlighted the world-making capacity of literature, the arts, visual media, and popular culture. Against this background, the seminar seeks to explore the aesthetic instantiation and political valences of imaginaries of the planet under the condition of globality in such media as literature, film, photography, the arts, cartography, and digital media. Re-framing debates surrounding the “globe”  and “planet” with respect to aesthetics, the seminar will examine the long history of world-making—in its spatial and, notably, in its temporal dimensions—as a critical interrogation of processes of globalization.

Format:
On the first day, we discuss constitutive theoretical texts for the field of planetary studies (e.g., by Spivak, Elias/Moraru, Friedman, Cheah). Following this, we workshop participants’ projects. Participants distribute a text (max. 10 pages) beforehand and give very short input presentations, followed by group discussion.

Silent Auditors:
Yes

 

19. Resonance in Art, Film, Literature, Music, and Theory

Conveners:

Abstract:
Resonance is a deeply ambivalent concept. In the natural sciences, it explains the causal impact of an object’s vibrations onto another object. In the wake of eighteenth-century aesthetics, we on the other hand also employ the term to identify relationships for which we cannot name exact causes—the (un)logic of affects and empathetic excitations that exceed predictability. In spite of different meanings, however, the concept of resonance privileges ideas of proximity and contiguity, the co-dependence of subject and object, forms of reciprocity that are often (falsely) believed to elude mediation. In this seminar, we explore the role and usefulness of resonance as a category of aesthetic analysis and theory. Seminar participants investigate the extent to which resonance offers a viable concept to examine various artistic mediums and their impact on readers, viewers, and listeners. The seminar will also discuss the relation of “resonant criticism” to other frameworks of cultural inquiry.

Format:
Thought papers of about 1,500 will be due by September 1, 2020. In these papers, participants relate texts and ideas from a pre-circulated reading list to the work participants carry out on the aesthetics of resonance. Each thought paper will be discussed in detail during the seminar.

Silent Auditors:
Yes

 

20. Sacrifice, Myth, and Ritual in German Arts and Letters, 1800 – Present

Conveners:

Abstract:
In the wake of WWI, literary scholarship as well as philosophy and critical theory in the German realm became acutely interested in violence, and this interest in turn became bound up with the topic of sacrifice. Importantly, these developments occurred against the backdrop of a “long” 19th century in which mythical impulses – sometimes but not always linked to violence – had emerged in Romantic arts and letters (e.g., Novalis, Schelling, Hölderlin, Cornelius), developed throughout the literature of the Vor- and Nachmärz (e.g., Droste-Hülshoff, Gotthelf, Storm), reverberated in neo-Romantic contexts (e.g., Landauer, Hauptmann, the George-Kreis), and continued into the poetry and prose of 20th-century modernism. This seminar explores the nature of these literary, artistic, and epistemological preoccupations: we invite participants from multiple disciplines (literature, film, religion, philosophy) to consider how the concepts of sacrifice, myth, and ritual operate across multiple discourses and periods, from Romanticism to (post)modernism.

Format:
The seminar will center upon the discussion of pre-circulated, conference-length papers in order to bring participants’ research into a focused dialogue. In addition, the organizers will compile and distribute a brief compendium of supplemental theoretical readings several weeks before the conference.

Silent Auditors:
Yes

 

21. The Second Austrian Republic: Building the Nation, Shaping the State

Conveners:

Abstract:
Contemporary Second Republic Austria remains greatly shaped by early post-1945 efforts to re-establish the Austrian state and to retool an “Austrian” identity dissociated from the failures of the First Republic and the 1938-1945 period. This seminar invites contributions that address the diversity of stakeholders and the multiplicity of practices engaged in these efforts. Such stakeholders include political, technical, and media elites, together with new and re-formed institutions, like the Staatsoper, Salzburg Festival, and Forum Alpbach, as well as reinvigorated practices such as the expansionary creation of state prizes. We seek proposals from scholars in all disciplines that engage Austrian Studies – from literature and cultural studies to history and political science, and to new fields that examine how the nation was literally (or materially) constructed through infrastructure and land use. With seminar collaboration that brings together a multi-disciplinary group of senior and early career scholars, we aim to solidify the network of Austrian Studies and its research agenda. 

Format:
Seminar activity is organized around pre-circulated papers. Presenters open their session via short paper summary, to which designated commentator delivers brief response. Discussion is then opened to longer group session, followed by response of presenter to commentary and discussion. Papers due four weeks before conference.

Silent Auditors:
Yes

 

22. Sexuality and the Law in German-speaking Europe

Conveners:

Abstract:
The seminar seeks to bring together scholars from a range of fields – including but not limited to the history of sexuality, gender studies, queer studies, critical legal studies, and legal history – who research the ways in which sexuality and the legal order have intersected, come into conflict, and mutually influenced each other in German-speaking Europe since the early modern era. The seminar proposes to examine both the effects of repressive laws – such as those criminalizing homosexuality, abortion, or interracial sexual relations,– on people’s sexual lives, and the potentially empowering function of law, as in the case of legislation to punish violence against women, or laws banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. More generally, the seminar is interested in exploring the myriad ways in which the study of sexuality and legal studies can be brought into fruitful conversation. We encourage scholars in different disciplines and career stages to participate.

Format:
Once seminar participants have been identified, we will solicit their suggestions for common readings; we will review these and make available 4-5 core texts, to be read before participants write their papers (max. 4,000 words, to be pre-circulated one month before GSA), relating their research to the seminar’s theme.

Silent Auditors:
Yes

 

23. Socialist Subjectivities: Rethinking East Germany under Honecker

Conveners:

Abstract:
With Germany having just finished celebrating the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, it is perhaps time to rethink the years leading up to that moment. The anniversary’s speeches and commentary predictably stressed the triumph of an oppressed people’s will after years of stifled democratic yearnings and coercion. Yet, socialism’s collapse caught everyone by surprise: does such shock not suggest 1989 obscures rather than illuminates how East Germans lived during late socialism? This seminar—featuring both new and established scholars from a variety of disciplines—explores the complex dimensions of East German subjecthood under Honecker.  Did East Germans experience the 1970s and 1980s as a static period of frustration and intimidation? Or do we see the development of a more dynamic and lively state socialism?  And perhaps more importantly, to what extent did both these realities coexist as Easterners tried to make sense of their daily world?

Format:
In May 2020, seminar leaders will distribute readings to participants designed to stimulate thinking on late socialism. Seminar participants will pre-circulate original research papers by September 2020. Presentations will then be organized thematically each day of the seminar, with brief introductions to the paper’s topics, followed by extensive discussion.

Silent Auditors:
Yes

 

24. Steal This Assignment! Hack Your German Studies Course with the GSA Teaching MakerSpace (Sponsored by the Teaching Network)

Conveners:

Abstract:
Designed around the popular THATCamp and MakerSpace formats, this seminar helps teachers develop course assignments that combine the disciplinary rigor and thematic expertise of German language, culture, and history studies with the active-learning student engagement of the Digital Humanities.  Day 1 introduces participants to three assignment formats:  (a) hypothes.is – an online collaborative reading, translation, and analysis program using social annotation and digitized texts (facilitated by Claudia Lynn and Sibel Sayili-Hurley); (b) Clio – a digital mapping project that uses GIS and student-drafted content to create online visual and historical tours for the general public (facilitated by Christine Fojtik); and (c) “Avatar Projects” — learning simulations that require students to develop and role play characters through historical research and analysis (facilitated by Heather Perry and Andrew Evans).  On Days 2 and 3 participants divide into sub-groups and work in real time with seminar facilitators to develop assignments specific to their courses.

Format:
Participants circulate the materials of the course they would like to hack. Day 1: facilitators introduce active-learning assignments and formats. Day 2 and 3: three 60-minute rounds of working groups, following by a final debriefing. Participants can either sample all assignment formats or focus on one area.

Silent Auditors:
No

 

25. Theory Critical, or, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud – Now!

Conveners:

Abstract:
What of utopia in an age of extinction? Have Nietzsche’s readers been born, yet? Is the unconscious still where Freud said it would be? Through an emphasis on Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud (MNF), whose “hermeneutics of suspicion” is said to have inaugurated a vigorous critical theory tradition that spanned the 20th century, this seminar examines the status of critical theory today. Although the explanatory power of their critique laid bare the surface and subsurface forces that shaped the 19th and 20th centuries, one has reason to wonder whether the world over which this grasp extends hasn't changed significantly enough and what impact this change has had on the nature and scope of their thought and influence. To answer questions like these, we invite scholarship that explores how the hermeneutic shift represented by MNF informs, or fails to inform, contemporary thought and practice, and where the 21st century perhaps demands lines of inquiry into MNF and their legacy that the 19th and 20th centuries did not.

Format:
Complete written drafts will be pre-circulated (5000-7000 words, due 1 September 2020). Three short common readings (<25 pp.) will be distributed early in process. Each day of the seminar will be devoted to Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud, respectively. Each seminar day will involve two-four roundtable-style paper/thesis workshops.

Silent Auditors:
No

 

26. Theory of Number

Conveners:

Abstract:
The culture of number and quantity now dominates our institutions, including universities. The era of “big data” and computing have changed both the culture and understanding of number. Quality and quantity seem permanently intertwined. This seminar draws upon the German tradition’s unique resources and brings together scholars interested in the theory of number. Beginning with the classical metaphysical tradition (Plato and Euclid) informing modern attempts to conceptualize number, day two focuses on the German Enlightenment (Leonhard Euler’s and Johann Lambert’s crucial contributions to the integration of mathematics and the technical disciplines). We conclude with the revolution in the philosophy of arithmetic that led to the digital era (including the debate between Gottlob Frege and Bertrand Russell on the completeness of the a priori rules of mathematics). Our goal: to develop a framework for understanding the theory of number to facilitate historical and philological work on critical problems in the present. 

Format:
Applicants should submit a brief statement explaining the relevance of the topic to their current research interests. The seminar will consist of close readings of pre-circulated texts. 

Silent Auditors:
Yes

 

27. Transnational Refugee Practices and Discourses: Berlin, Istanbul, and the Urban Assemblages in Between

Conveners:

Abstract:
The seminar focuses on how refugees in Berlin and Istanbul, as well as those on migration routes linking the two cities, impact and are impacted by political debates within Europe and between Europe and the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region in relation to South–North migration. Special attention is paid to how refugees challenge and re-create the conditions of urban spaces they dwell in through their practices and discourses. The existing literature has tended to treat Berlin and Istanbul as fundamentally separate entities, to ignore connecting urban spaces, and to approach them from a dichotomous “West” vs. “East” perspective. Our seminar seeks to remedy these weaknesses by analyzing Berlin and Istanbul and cities connecting them as assemblages that mutually shape each other through complex urban practices and discourses.

Format:
The seminar will be composed of 14 participants, including two conveners. Pre-circulated papers (end of August) will be discussed in the following order: overview of twelve-page double-spaced paper by each presenter (10mn), feedback by designated discussant (10mn), and constructive feedback from participants to strengthen papers for the edited volume.

Silent Auditors:
Yes

 

28. Transnationalizing the Sturm und Drang

Conveners:

Abstract:
More than fifteen years have passed since the last major English-language publication on the Sturm und Drang (David Hill’s 2003 edited volume Literature of the Sturm und Drang). In those years, Enlightenment scholarship more broadly has seen major advances. Now, ahead of the 250th anniversary of the Sturm und Drang’s key writings, this seminar will draw on recent Enlightenment research and emerging Sturm und Drang scholarship to stimulate fresh scholarly debate on the movement. Specifically, the goal is to prepare, building on recent historiographical studies of the European Enlightenment, an edited volume that revises the old view of the Sturm und Drang as a uniquely German phenomenon by situating it in a transnational context. In this endeavor, we particularly welcome papers that illuminate a transnational Sturm und Drang by examining also the wider networks of the Sturm und Drang and/or neglected and marginalized figures close to the Sturm und Drang.

Format:
Participants submit papers of 3,000–4,000 words for pre-circulation by August 27th, 2020. Each participant will also act as a respondent to two other papers. During the seminar, we will devote 25 minutes to each paper: 5-minute introduction by the author; two 5-minute responses; 10 minutes for group discussion.

Silent Auditors:
Yes