GSA Seminars 2021

GSA SEMINARS 2021

The 45th German Studies Association Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, from September 30 to October 4, 2021 will again host a series of seminars in addition to conference sessions and roundtables (for general conference information see *https://www.thegsa.org/conference*).

Note: Applications for seminar participation are due by 11:59 pm PST on Friday, January 25, 2021.

Log in to the portal *here* and then click "Seminar Participant Application 2021 (new applications only)" to apply for a seminar."

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.

This year, the conference will include 13 seminars postponed from the 2020 conference, with many accepting new applications for participants (postponed seminars include information about the number of spots available for new applications; see below), and 15 seminars selected and approved for enrollment through this year’s proposal process. The following seminars have been selected for the 2021 GSA Conference:

  1. Centers and Peripheries in Central European History
  2. Comics – A Transgressive Art: Theoretical Foundations and Intersections (Sponsored by the Comics Studies Network)
  3. Consumption and Consumers in German-Speaking Lands, 1650-1914
  4. Corpus-Based and Data-Driven Approaches to Teaching German Across the Curriculum
  5. Crime and the Law in Germany from Unification to Reunification
  6. Delivering German Studies for Multiple Publics / Publishing for Diverse Publics
  7. “Entanglements and Separations”: German Histories since 1945
  8. The German Body and Self in Global Circuits of Knowledge and Practice, 1700-1945 (Sponsored by the Body Studies Network)
  9. German Parliamentary Democracy in Transition (Sponsored by the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst)
  10. Germany Faces East: WW I and the Post-War World
  11. Green Frankfurt School
  12. Holocaust Tourism Revisited: Holocaust Memorial Culture between Education, Tourism, and Commemoration
  13. Literature as Medium of Positive Emotions
  14. The Nazi Legacy: Reconstruction Efforts and Memory Projects since 1945
  15. The New Media of Migration
  16. The Pasts and Futures of German Jewish Studies
  17. Performing Exile: Performance and the History of Jewish Refugees from Nazi Europe
  18. Potential Affinities Between Indigenous Studies and German Studies
  19. Problems of Linguistic Indifference in German Studies
  20. Resonance in Art, Film, Literature, Music, and Theory
  21. Sexuality and the Law in German-speaking Europe
  22. Sister Insider: Intersectional Collaborations on the Uses of Anger by Women of Color
  23. Steal This Assignment! Hack Your German Studies Course with the GSA Teaching MakerSpace (Sponsored by the Teaching Network)
  24. Theory of Number
  25. To Look Through Court Records – Topics, Methods, Challenges
  26. Tradition and Discontinuity: The Early Modern Period as Solitary Era
  27. Transnational Germans: Local Actors and Global Spaces, Global Actors and Local Spaces
  28. Women’s Drama and Theatre in German

 


 

01. Centers and Peripheries in Central European History (postponed from 2020)

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.

Spots Available: 10

Auditors: Yes

[return to seminar list]


 

02. Comics - A Transgressive Art: Theoretical Foundations and Intersections (Sponsored by the Comics Studies Network) (postponed from 2020)

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.

Spots Available: 6

Auditors: Yes

[return to seminar list]


 

03. Consumption and Consumers in German-Speaking Lands, 1650-1914

Conveners:

Abstract:

German historians and philosophers have contributed a great deal to the literature on critiques of consumption.What they have not done so well, by comparison with historians of the United States, France, and Great Britain, is to study consumption itself: what exactly was consumed, when, and by whom.Progress in this area has also been impeded by fragmentary source materials and by divisions between economic, social, and cultural historians; arbitrary period designations have prevented what might be generative conversations across early modern and modern worlds.This seminar, convened by an early modern and a modern specialist, aims to bring together junior and senior scholars to brainstorm future directions in the field.We welcome scholars from all disciplines who are at work on topics relating to Central European business, trade, food, the environment, media, gender, and material culture.

Format:

Participants will be required to submit a 5-page paper plus 5 captioned images (or 10 captioned images) two weeks before the meeting. For each day a commentator will be selected to pull together images and questions for discussion, and 3-6 presenters will offer brief responses. 

Auditors: Yes

[return to seminar list]


 

04. Corpus-Based and Data-Driven Approaches to Teaching German Across the Curriculum

Conveners:

Abstract:

Text and linguistic corpora can be used to investigate language from every angle and have long informed the creation of lexicographical resources, textbooks, and other instructional and learning tools. Teaching with corpora or with corpus-based approaches and methods is a comparatively new development that in recent decades has prompted new types of teaching resources, classroom activities, and studies testing their effectiveness. In combination with other approaches to teaching lexis, grammar, syntax, and pragmatics, on the one hand, and literature, history, and culture, on the other, data-driven and corpus-based approaches offer a wide array of tools for all levels of language and content courses taught in the L2. This seminar seeks to bring together researchers and teachers from applied and theoretical linguistics, literature, and other disciplines in German Studies to explore the cross-disciplinary pedagogical avenues opened by these approaches and discuss the application of current projects in German instruction. 

Format:

The seminar consists of discussions of pre-circulated papers and pedagogical materials (ca. 5 pages), presentations on current research and projects, and an attempt to develop multidisciplinary approaches to corpus-based/data-driven teaching and learning at all levels of language and content instruction, including literature and history. 

Auditors: Yes

[return to seminar list]


 

05. Crime and the Law in Germany from Unification to Reunification (postponed from 2020)

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.

Spots Available: 10

Auditors: Yes

[return to seminar list]


 

06. Delivering German Studies for Multiple Publics / Publishing for Diverse Publics

Conveners:

Abstract:

At a moment when the very facts of public discourse seem to be up for grabs, it is especially important for academics to reach diverse audiences with evidenced-based work. How can and should German Studies matter beyond the GSA? This seminar seeks to explore the challenges and opportunities for students and scholars of German Studies to speak to broader publics. Organized as a workshop, this seminar will examine different modes of public engagement across different media forms. Equal parts media training and critical analysis of new and legacy media, its goal is to explore how scholars and students of German Studies might better access and shape public conversations around contemporary issues. To that end, it aims to cultivate among participants 1) a toolkit of skills with which to join those conversations; and 2) the beginnings of a network of like-minded collaborators and practical connections to help facilitate such public engagement. 

Format:

Seminar members will submit a short dossier that will be pre-circulated among participants and serve as raw material for the workshop sessions. Workshops will center on written work and group exercises with the intention of developing tangible takeaway skills for how to create content for diverse publics.

Auditors: Yes

[return to seminar list]


 

07. “Entanglements and Separations”: German Histories since 1945 (postponed from 2020)

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:

Participants will submit a 5,000-8,000-word paper (which can be finished works, works in progress, or parts of dissertation chapters) one month prior to the conference for pre-circulation. The conveners will group the submissions by their approaches to entanglement, the approach providing the theme for that day’s discussion. Instead of presenting their papers during the conference, presenters will be asked to give a five-minute explanation of their approach to entanglement. Conveners will also select and pre-circulate common methodological readings for the seminar. 

Spots Available: 8

Auditors: Yes

[return to seminar list]


 

08. The German Body and Self in Global Circuits of Knowledge and Practice, 1700-1945 (Sponsored by the Body Studies Network)

Conveners:

Abstract:

This seminar focuses on the body as a nexus for exploring the ways the German self was defined in global circuits (Treitel) between 1700-1945. The interaction between Germany and the world was not linear but circular. We ask: how the global circuits of knowledge and practices defined the German body and self. Building on the existing work by historians, literary scholars, visual culture scholars on the global (Tautz, Hong) and the body (Dickinson, Zimmerman, Hau, George). We bring these diverse bodies of scholarship together focusing on the intersection of the body, self, and global. We invite scholars who are working on dance, sports, medicine, and sex as they appear in the movement of ideas, exchange of goods, journeys of people or literary and visual representations of race, the others or the exotic. We interrogate anthropological examinations of the self in science, philosophy, theology/religion, framed by imperial, medical, missionary projects. 

Format:

Participants will prepare 3-page position papers that will be shared with the seminar participants and read before the seminar. The participants will give short 3-5-minute introductions to their topics, with the rest of the time devoted to comments and discussion. Papers will be shared by 31 August 2021. 

Auditors: Yes

[return to seminar list]


 

09. German Parliamentary Democracy in Transition (Sponsored by the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst)

Conveners:

Abstract:

German parliamentary democracy is under pressure. Common political practices have come under scrutiny, not least since the rise of the right-wing populist AfD. These challenges have recently come to a head during the Covid-19 crisis when protests against an alleged power shift to the executive were heard both inside and outside the parliamentary arena. Yet calls for reforming German democracy are more widespread. After three decades of democratic reform at the local level, there are renewed calls for democratic innovations at the federal level, most recently evidenced by the proposal to introduce direct democratic instruments in federal politics at the Green party convention. The seminar takes these developments as a point of departure to discuss the state of German parliamentary democracy with a particular focus on the most recent developments and possible future avenues for German parliamentary democracy after the 2021 federal election. 

Format:

The seminar invites contributions from scholars at different career stages with diverse disciplinary and personal backgrounds in order to develop a rich perspective. Participants will briefly present how their research speaks to the challenges of parliamentary democracy as a basis for a discussion of future trajectories of German parliamentary democracy. 

Auditors: Yes

[return to seminar list]


 

10. Germany Faces East: WW I and the Post-War World (Sponsored by the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies) (postponed from 2020)

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.

Spots Available: 4

Auditors: No

[return to seminar list]


 

11. Green Frankfurt School

Conveners:

Abstract:

This seminar explores the contributions of Frankfurt School critical theory to discourses of the environmental humanities. We are interested in the ecological implications of the key texts and authors (Benjamin, Kracauer, Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse, Habermas, Honneth, Jaeggi), their philosophical interlocutors (Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Weber), as well as critical responses by associated writers and filmmakers such as Hannah Arendt, Hans-Magnus Enzensberger, Angela Davis, Susan Neiman, Alexander Kluge, Jennifer Baichwal, Susan Buck-Morss, Miriam Hansen, Nicolas Born, Kelly Reichardt, Bruno Latour, and Judith Butler. Possible topics include representations and aesthetics of the environment, the traumatization of nature in the Anthropocene, environmental racism, human rights and climate refugees, ecofeminism, and the tensions between deep and social ecology, constructivism, natural history, and environmental ethics. We are interested in a broad range of philosophical approaches as well as engagements with artistic and media practices such as literature, film, poetry, music, theater, and digital culture.

Format:

Sessions will consist of 5-minute presentations of pre-circulated 10-page papers, followed by a 10-minute response by a predetermined commentator and a 20-minute open discussion. Each participant will contribute a paper and give a response. We welcome position papers that formulate questions rather than arguments. Papers will be pre-circulated by mid-August. 

Auditors: Yes

[return to seminar list]


 

12. Holocaust Tourism Revisited: Holocaust Memorial Culture between Education, Tourism, and Commemoration (postponed from 2020)

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 the 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.

Spots Available: 5

Auditors: No 

[return to seminar list]


 

13. Literature as Medium of Positive Emotions

Conveners:

Abstract:

We will examine how narratives and fiction induce positive emotions and feelings in audiences. These feelings can, but do not have to match the feelings of characters in the text. Emotions are central to motivating engagement in reading literature, structure the narrative arch, and lead to better memory, but also remain poorly understood. While emotions have become more prevalent in research in the past decades, the focus tends to be on negative or ugly feelings (Ngai). The implicit understanding seems to be that positive emotions are either false (Adorno) or lack complexity. We wish to challenge this understanding and discuss the role literature plays in creating, cultivating, and sustaining positive emotions now and in the past. We will discuss 1. specific texts and genres, such as the Idylle; 2. effects of literature, such as being moved, joy, and empathy; and 3. theoretical debates about the place of literature in life.

Format:

We invite 5-8 page papers by participants (but do not require a paper). We will designate a respondent for each paper and discuss papers during the sessions. Depending on the contributions, we will decide about an overall structure. 

Auditors: Yes

[return to seminar list]


 

14. The Nazi Legacy: Reconstruction Efforts and Memory Projects since 1945 (postponed from 2020)

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.

Spots Available: not accepting new applications

Auditors: Yes 

[return to seminar list]


 

15. The New Media of Migration

Conveners:

Abstract:

This seminar will investigate the re/presentational modes of global forced migration within the aesthetic, sociopolitical, and technological aspects of the new millennium. Since the turn of the century, artists, activists, humanitarian organizations, and production companies in Germany have turned to New Media to communicate the journey of millions fleeing war-torn regions of the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Mobilizing emergent digital modalities and digital infrastructures, they cultivate a new aesthetic that complicates popular associations with forced migration. Through analysis of smartphone footage, film essays, gallery installations, video games, and social media, this seminar engages questions such as: What role does German/national and collaborative/transnational cultural production play in global forced migration? How do New Media forms recalibrate traditional discourses of forced migration? How does the transdisciplinary nature of New Media help develop new methodologies for approaching the issues of forced migration? We hope to publish papers emerging from this seminar in Konturen

Format:

Selected participants will be asked to submit a 6-8 pg. paper that tackles the focus by August 15. Conveners will organize papers into three thematic clusters and circulate them for reading in advance of the sessions. 

Auditors: Yes

[return to seminar list]


 

16. The Pasts and Futures of German Jewish Studies (postponed from 2020)

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.

Spots Available: not accepting new applications

Auditors: No 

[return to seminar list]


 

17. Performing Exile: Performance and the History of Jewish Refugees from Nazi Europe (postponed from 2020)

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.

Spots Available: not accepting new applications

Auditors: Yes 

[return to seminar list]


 

18. Potential Affinities Between Indigenous Studies and German Studies

Conveners:

Abstract:

Until recently, conversations about decolonizing German studies rarely included perspectives from Indigenous studies. We approach this seminar as a possibility to listen and learn from Indigenous studies, holding present the fact that we are not experts but that it is crucial to engage in this field. The seminar seeks to go beyond Indianthusiasm by rejecting its centrality at this intersection. Not only does the term denote practices that are essentialist, racialized, historicized, and primarily concerned with an imaginary past (Lutz 2002), it also precludes Indigenous peoples’ present-day experiences. Keenly aware of the dangers of the appropriation and commodification of Indigenous knowledges as well as the dangers of objectifying Indigenous peoples, this seminar strives to instead explore possible meaningful conversations between these academic fields.

Format:

Seminar participants will pre-circulate papers of maximum 5 pages or approximately 2500 words by August 1, 2021. During the conference, the authors will briefly present the main points of their paper, followed by an in-depth discussion based on the participants' papers and selected, pre-circulated background readings. 

Auditors: No

[return to seminar list]


 

19. Problems of Linguistic Indifference in German Studies

Conveners:

Abstract:

The various disciplines that comprise German Studies face options as to how and whether they will recognize the role of language(s) in the bearing of their inquiries. A novel can be analyzed without regard for the linguistic contexts of its production and reception, history can be presented without attention to the linguistic discourses and communicative media that facilitated or deterred transformations, and entire curricula can in fact be shaped around culture or tradition with only an ancillary role foreseen for language(s). There is, perhaps, good reason for scholars or curriculum-makers to be somehow indifferent to language(s): Languages complicate matters. And yet, the added complexity that attention to language, language variation, and translation bring ought to be a central tenet in a linguistically delineated field like German Studies. This seminar is therefore devoted to exploring the analytical, conceptual, and pragmatic consequences of linguistic indifference, and the critical potential of choosing otherwise. 

Format:

Participants will share their own original case studies (from research or teaching) that exemplify the dilemma of linguistic indifference. By June 1, 2021, participants will share a 3000-word document representing their case study. Convenors will pair the contributions with respondents. On each meeting day, case studies will be presented/workshopped. 

Auditors: Yes

[return to seminar list]


 

20. Resonance in Art, Film, Literature, Music, and Theory (postponed from 2020)

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.

Spots Available: 3

Auditors: Yes 

[return to seminar list]


 

21. Sexuality and the Law in German-speaking Europe (postponed from 2020)

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.

Spots Available: not accepting new applications

Auditors: Yes 

[return to seminar list]


 

22. Sister Insider: Intersectional Collaborations on the Uses of Anger by Women of Color

Conveners:

Abstract:

In her 1981 essay “The Uses of Anger,” Audre Lorde wrote “My response to racism is anger. I have lived with that anger, on that anger, beneath that anger, on top of that anger, ignoring that anger, feeding upon that anger, learning to use that anger before it laid my visions to waste, for most of my life.” This seminar revisits Audre Lorde’s work to discuss female expressions of anger as responses to racism and misogyny in the German-speaking world since the 1980s. The organizers will work to ensure a space to facilitate respectful dialogue so that participants can speak freely and form cross-disciplinary coalitions through intellectual exchange. We will discuss and explore innovative approaches to anger, e.g. humor, and identify which forms of anger feminist scholars may wish to nurture and develop to effectively respond to racism and misogyny in the academy as well as in their personal lives. 

Format: 

This seminar will be a work-in-progress workshop based on pre-circulated five-page papers or excerpts that reflect upon the questions raised in the description. We are interested in writing that articulates and frames the ways in which anger can produce intersectional and collaborative models. 

Auditors: Yes

[return to seminar list]


 

23. Steal This Assignment! Hack Your German Studies Course with the GSA Teaching MakerSpace (Sponsored by the Teaching Network) (postponed from 2020)

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, followed by a final debriefing. Participants can either sample all assignment formats or focus on one area.

Spots Available: 3

Auditors: No

[return to seminar list]


 

24. Theory of Number (postponed from 2020)

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 theintegration of mathematics and the technical disciplines). We conclude with the revolution in the philosophy of arithmetic that led to the digital era (include 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.

Spots Available: not accepting new applications

Auditors: Yes 

[return to seminar list]


 

25. To Look Through Court Records – Topics, Methods, Challenges

Conveners:

Abstract:

A vast range of research projects routinely draws on court records as a source of juridical, social and historical information. However, the topics discussed, and the methods used may vary heavily from research project to research project and may come with different challenges. The seminar seeks to bring together scholars from various fields in order to foster discussion about these challenges, may they be of theoretical or practical nature. We seek proposals from scholars that engage with court records from the 19th and 20th century, from history to social and cultural studies and (critical) legal sciences. We particularly invite researchers who work in newer fields, like disability studies or queer studies, or use newer, i.e. digital tools to handle court records. 

Format:

We will circulate at least three core texts that are to be read before the seminar. Participants are also required to circulate abstracts about their research project and a short paper (approx. 30,000 characters) by July 2021. Each participant will be assigned as a respondent for one paper. 

Auditors: Yes

[return to seminar list]


 

26. Tradition and Discontinuity: The Early Modern Period as Solitary Era

Conveners:

Abstract:

The Early Modern Period has been recognized as a transition period for ancient and medieval traditions (Hoefele/Mueller/Oesterreicher 2013). However, many of the earlier traditions this period adopted were later denied by subsequent eras. Conversely, the Early Modern Period was also one of innovation; it established entirely new literary genres (e.g., utopian literature, journalism) and operated as a staging ground for the “new science” (Bacon, Descartes, Leibniz). Is the Early Modern Period a final stage or a new beginning, or is it perhaps neither? Participants in this seminar will continue the ongoing debates on the "legitimacy of the Modern Age“ (Blumenberg) and will question the supposedly regressive character of early modern literature (Schlaffer) and its liminal classification (Foucault). The seminar seeks to query ways in which the Early Modern Period created new forms of thinking and writing that neither emanated from antiquity and the Medieval Ages nor continued after 1750 and to discuss the status of the Early Modern Period as “solitary era” and its academic value in German Studies.

Format:

Participants will be required to write a short paper (maximum 2500 words) reflecting on their approach to their current research in Early Modern Studies; another seminar member will serve as a respondent and discussion leader for that paper. All papers will circulate by the end of August 2021 so all participants will have time to read and prepare. In late spring 2021, the conveners will send three-four theoretical essays on this topic to stimulate their preparation.

Auditors: Yes

[return to seminar list]


 

27. Transnational Germans: Local Actors and Global Spaces, Global Actors and Local Spaces

Conveners:

Abstract:

This seminar will explore the theoretical, methodological, and empirical aspects and challenges that come with the transnational turn in German historiography and German studies. In particular, it will examine the significance of that transnational turn for the study of ‘German’ migrants and ‘German’ minorities. While shifting notions of ‘Germanness’ form a focal point in scholarship, we seek a far broader approach to this topic by bringing together scholars who work on different case studies and address issues related to ‘German’ migrants and ‘German’ minorities from decidedly transnational perspectives. We encourage a strongly comparative discussion that bridges any divisions between German ‘economic’ migrants, political émigrés, the ‘German’ historical diaspora in Central and Eastern Europe, ‘German expellees’ and others. The project conducted at the Ruhr University Bochum on postwar Danube Swabian ‘expellee’ migrations to France and Brazil, out of which this proposal emerged, provides just one example of the entangled and shifting character of ‘German’ identifications beyond the German nation-state. By foregrounding transnational comparative approaches, with examples from different geographies and in different timeframes, the seminar will illuminate both specific case studies and broader issues of transnational German identifications.

Format:

The seminar will be based around the discussion of both theoretical and empirical papers. The participants will have to engage with a pre-circulated position paper, either by critically commenting on it or by integrating its framework/approach within an empirical case study draft paper. 

Auditors: Yes

[return to seminar list]


 

28. Women’s Drama and Theatre in German

Conveners:

Abstract:

Around 1800, the producer (or, author) and literary/stage protagonist (or, hero) came to be invariably coded as bourgeois middle class, white and male, whereas women received the part of actresses and translators. This gender dichotomy in the perception of male vs. female productivity kept shaping traditional approaches to drama and theatre across the ages, from late medieval well into the 20th century, reaching into our present. This seminar aims at revisiting and contextualizing womens dramatic texts and theatrical activities in German-language Europe across the ages, bringing to light womens agency and significance within an over 500-year-long period by means of taking a transcultural, post-national and intersectional approach. The seminar forms part of a new larger project dedicated to a comprehensive Handbook, under review for a SSHRC Insight Grant. It wants to discuss how feminist scholarship in drama and theatre towards the production of the Handbook best proceed.

Format:

We aim to gather scholars from literary and theatre studies and adjoining disciplines. Participants will submit papers of 2000 words early August for group reading and peer-review. During the seminar, short presentations will be followed by discussions of key issues of the Handbook. 

Auditors: Yes

[return to seminar list]