UPDATE: GSA conference plans and COVID-19

30 March 2020

Dear members and friends of the German Studies Association,

The German Studies Association is keenly aware of the myriad ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting every aspect of our lives, including our work and our scholarship. Above all, the health and safety of all our members (and their families) in each of the 31 countries we inhabit take top priority. The Executive Council is constantly monitoring the situation, even as the ground seems to shift beneath our feet every day. We are working closely and steadily with a number of partner organizations, especially as we consider the future of our annual conference scheduled for the beginning of October. 

Meanwhile, our Program Committee has been reviewing the proposals that were submitted earlier this year, and within a week we shall begin to send out official acceptance notifications.  This promises to be one of our strongest programs yet, and in proceeding with these notifications in the face of all this uncertainty, we want to recognize the thought and preparation that everyone has invested into the October conference already, even if its exact shape is still up in the air. No matter what form it will take, we are committed to producing an official program.

At this point everyone, including conference planners and attorneys, agrees that it is still too early to make definitive plans for October. Nevertheless, we’re already working on a variety of possible conference scenarios, depending on how the current crisis develops. Each of these scenarios will have different consequences, both for how we conduct the most important work of the GSA and for the Association’s finances. Accordingly, we will attempt to hold off on making any final decisions until somewhat more reliable projections for the fall emerge. This also means that, pending negotiations with our conference hotel, we will delay conference registration and hotel reservations for now.

Thank you for your patience as we work to gain our bearings in this unprecedented situation. We will certainly keep you informed as things come into focus. Meanwhile, we pledge to continue all GSA operations to the best of our abilities. Indeed, we will be in touch shortly, not only with conference acceptance notices, but also with ballots for our upcoming elections and encourage you to vote.

And thank you for your support and your loyalty to the German Studies Association. In these difficult times, it’s essential to remind ourselves that our work and our scholarship remain vital aspects of a civilized and decent world. Quite frankly, these are difficult and unpredictable times for the GSA as well. We know that things are tight for many of us, and that you’re getting plenty of similar requests, but if you could possibly make a financial contribution to help us bridge this crisis, we’d be most grateful:  https://thegsa.org/members/donate

Please stay safe and healthy!

Johannes von Moltke                                      David E. Barclay

President                                                         Executive Director