Conference Highlights

Thursday, September 27: Arts Night

Please book your travel so that you can join us for the GSA Arts Night on Thursday evening, September 27! Inspired by “First Night” celebrations on December 31st in many cities, this will be our fourth annual Arts Night, celebrating the creative and performing arts as an important part of German studies.

This year’s Arts Night will feature DJ İpek İpekçioğlu and the Bühne für Menschenrechte. İpek İpekçioğlu is a music producer, DJ, and curator based in Berlin and Istanbul. She has been a crucial voice in the public discourse pertaining to immigration, exile, diversity, and queer issues. Recently, she curated the festival titled DisPlaced RePlaced: Cultural Transition of Istanbul and Berlin; she participated in the cultural youth project for refugees Faces of Change and Chance, and contributed to panels for Rave Diplomacy: Queer Realities and Diversity and Mädea: Interkulturelles Zentrum für Mädchen und junge Frauen. She is also a patron of the Schule ohne Rassismus – Schule mit Courage initiative in Berlin. DJ Ipek has performed her music at the Glastonbury, Fusion, Sziget, At.tension, Berlin Festival and many more international electronic and world music festivals. She has toured Europe, the US, North Africa, and South Asia, and has won several awards for her music, including the German Record Critics’ Award. Her broad cultural spectrum combines a variety of traditional and electronic music styles and reflects the music of Germany, Turkey, Europe, and the Middle East. She synthesizes those various styles into an interactive musical experience. Zitty Magazine named her “one of Berlin’s most important cultural contributors” and Daniel Bax, journalist for the daily taz, dubbed her “MC of cross-cultural understanding.” DJ Ipek will provide the music for a party as the culminating event of Arts Night.

The Bühne für Menschenrechte, founded by director Michael Ruf in 2011, is a national network of professional actors and musicians, dedicated to generating “öffentliche Aufmerksamkeit für aktuelle Menschenrechtsfragen” through documentary plays. For the first part of Arts Night, they will perform the Asyl-Monologe (2011), which has been staged over 190 times in 120 cities throughout Germany. The Asyl-Monologe are conceived of as a platform to facilitate conversation between the audience and those who have experienced expulsion, flight, and asylum. A reviewer for Der Tagesspiegel described the Asyl-Monologe as “politisches Theater, das für sein Anliegen sensibilisieren und agitieren will.” Three individual stories of refugees – Ali from Togo, Felleke from Ethiopia, and Safiye from Turkey – and their experiences as asylum seekers in Germany “give flight and asylum a face” ( Through theatrical performance coupled with panel discussions involving the audience, the Bühne für Menschenrechte provides a public and collective forum for engagement, exchange, and action. They have received a variety of awards, including the “Aktiv für Demokratie und Toleranz” award by the Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung in 2011 and the Amadeu-Antonio-Preis in 2015.

We’ll be bringing you additional information about times and locations for these events, but mark your calendars for the times between 7:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 27.

Friday, September 28: Luncheon

The noted author Daniel Kehlmann will be our luncheon speaker, reading from his new novel Tyll.Daniel Kehlmann was born in Munich in 1975, the son of the director Michael Kehlmann and the actor Dagmar Mettler. In 1981 he moved to Vienna, where he attended the Kollegium Kalksburg, a Jesuit School, before studying philosophy and Germanistik at the University of Vienna. His first novel, Beerholms Vorstellung, appeared in 1997. He has meanwhile published six novels, several novellas and short stories, held university appointments in Mainz, Wiesbaden and Göttingen, and has been awarded numerous prizes - including the prestigious Kleist-Preis in 2006, the year that saw the publication of his acclaimed novel Die Vermessung der Welt. Kehlmann's most recent novel, Tyll, was published in 2017 and reinvents the mythical figure of Tyll Ulenspiegel to narrate the story of a world gone awry, on the devastations of war, and on the power of art.

Friday, September 28: Annual Banquet of the Association

This year our banquet will feature the Presidential Address, presented by Professor Mary Lindemann, President of the German Studies Association. On the 400th anniversary of the outbreak of the Thirty Years War, the 370th anniversary of the Peace of Westphalia, and the centenary of the end of the First World War, Professor Lindemann will speak on “Great Wars: Lessons and Legacies.”

Mary Lindemann is Professor and Chair, Department of History, University of Miami. She has written extensively on early modern German, Dutch, Flemish, and medical history. Among her many books are, most recently, The Merchant Republics: Amsterdam, Antwerp, and Hamburg, 1648-1790 (Cambridge University Press, 2015), and Medicine and Society in Early Modern Europe (2nd. ed., Cambridge University Press, 2010). She is also the co-editor of two volumes in the GSA’s SPEKTRUM series. She is currently working on a book analyzing the rebuilding of Brandenburg and Mecklenburg after the Thirty Years War. In 1999, she was the president of the FNI (Frühe Neuzeit Interdisziplinär) and serves on the board of the American Friends of the Herzog August Bibliothek. She has received many grants and awards: for example, from the NEH, the John Sumon Guggenheim Foundation, the Humboldt Foundation, the DAAD, the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS), the Flemish Institute for Advanced Study (VLAC), and the 2018 Reimars-Lüst award from the Thyssen Foundation.

Saturday, September 29: Luncheon

Professors Elizabeth Heineman and Jennifer Evans will present their collaborative project, “The New Fascism Syllabus,” which assembles resources and provides a forum to explore the new right through scholarship and civic engagement.

Elizabeth Heineman is Professor and Chair of History and Professor of Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Iowa. Her research examines gender, war, and memory in Germany; welfare states in comparative perspective (Fascist, Communist, and Democratic); and the significance of marital status for women. Out of this research came a book, What Difference Does a Husband Make: Women and Marital Status in Nazi and Postwar Germany (University of California Press, 1999) and many articles. In 2011, she published Before Porn was Legal: The Erotica Empire of Beate Uhse (University of Chicago Press) and The History of Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones: From the Ancient World to the Era of Human Rights (editor, University of Pennsylvania Press). She is the 2010 recipient of the AICGS/DAAD Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in German and European Studies.

Jennifer Evans is Professor of History at Carleton University, where she teaches German and European history. She is also a member of the College of New Scholars, Royal Society of Canada. Her main research interests lie in the history of sexuality and visual culture, especially the role of photography and social media as agents of historical meaning. Her first book, Life Among the Ruins: Cityscape and Sexuality in Cold War Berlin (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) is a cultural history of reconstruction and traces the rebirth of the city’s various subcultures in the aftermath of World War II. Her most recent book, The Ethics of Seeing: Photography and 20th Century German History, appears with Berghahn (2018). She has written book chapters and articles on same-sex sexuality in post-1945 Germany and co-edited two more volumes. Current projects include a monograph on social media and Holocaust memory; she is also exploring the role of erotic photography as a claim to desire, personhood, and sexual freedom in the era before AIDS.


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

Interdisciplinary Networks

Many sessions and roundtables in 2018 will be sponsored by the GSA Interdisciplinary Networks, and the GSA would like to thank our hard-working Network Coordinators for their contributions to the conference. Networks sponsoring sessions this year are the following:

  • Asian German Studies
  • Black Diaspora Studies
  • Digital Humanities
  • Emotion Studies
  • Family and Kinship
  • GDR and Socialisms
  • Memory Studies
  • Music and Sound Studies
  • Visual Culture
  • War and Violence

On the forthcoming centennial of the Bauhaus, our members might be interested in a special program co-sponsored by the Digital Humanities Network and the German Center for Research and Innovation in New York, In addition to a conference roundtable on the Bauhaus, a special exhibition on “The Bauhaus Experience” will take place during the conference. It will allow attendees to explore Harvard’s Digital Bauhaus Archive and experience firsthand the Virtual Bauhaus project developed at TH Köln. Video loops will show musical performances of the BuJazzO at the Eastman School of Music, for which international jazz composers wrote musical responses to Bauhaus film and photography. A treatment for an upcoming feature film on the New Bauhaus will be shown. Short talks throughout the weekend will introduce the projects.

In addition to the Networks, we are grateful for the support of the other organizations sponsoring sessions at the conference:

  • American Association of Teachers of German
  • Anna-Seghers-Gesellschaft
  • Botstiber Institute for Austrian-American Studies
  • DAAD
  • German Historical Institute Washington DC
  • International Brecht Society
  • Kafka Society North America

We look forward to welcoming you to Pittsburgh!