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President's Letter and Additional Responses

Dear Members and Friends of the GSA,

The "Letter from the President," written by Professor Irene Kacandes and published in the Winter 2015-16 issue of the GSA Newsletter, has generated a response from a number of colleagues. In the interest of encouraging democratic, open, and timely dialogue among our members, we are publishing the members' response to Professor Kacandes's letter, and Professor Kacandes's reply to it.

Sincerely,
David E. Barclay
Executive Director, GSA

President's Letter
Member Response
President's Response
Dr. Joyce Mushaben's Response

President’s Letter (written November 7, 2015)
GSA Newsletter Winter 2015-16

The President’s semi-annual letter is usually a forum for updating members on developments in the GSA. I’ll mostly leave that to the Executive Director this time, as I have the privilege of writing to you today from Berlin. You see, my home German Studies Department at Dartmouth College sends me here often to teach in and supervise our study program abroad. Though my primary residence is in New Hampshire, these approximately biannual three-month stays in Berlin (with study trips to Dresden and Vienna), along with my visits to family (by marriage) in Switzerland, and a few trips to the Südtirol have provided me with a fairly regular “check-in” with the German-speaking world over the last two decades. Each of you will have your own paths to checking-in with German-speaking cultures and surely some of you enjoy broader or more profound ones than mine. Still, I hope that my “report from the field” might spur exchange of information and opinions among us.

While self-examination is hardly new to the public spheres of German-speaking Central Europe in the postwar period, events of 2015 like the Eurocrisis, the flood of refugees, the VW-exhaust scandals, and the Sterbehilfe debates—even the FIFA and DFB revelations--have forced these societies to reconsider who they really are, what values they truly hold, and what their relationships to countries near and far are and should be. Are we afraid to lead? Do we care what our (grand)fathers perpetrated in Greece seventy plus years ago? How did we treat German-speaking refugees from northeastern Europe in 1945? Ist das Boot voll? Was it “voll” for the Swiss during the war? Should sport halls be turned into dormitories? Can we trust our politicians? Our industry leaders? Are German products truly excellent? What measures foster quality at end of life? Should doctors be allowed to adminster life-ending doses of drugs? Are Germans (Austrian, Swiss) more dis/honest than other people afterall? While I’ve boiled them down to their scary essentials, these are some of the questions that are ubiquitous here this fall.
Perhaps I’m choosing to see the proverbial glass half full, but here are a few positive things I’ve actually seen or heard myself since I arrived in Europe in June.

A large number of my acquaintances spent their vacations in Greece this year. They did so mainly intentionally to support the Greek economy and for some of them to try to explicitly counter the ugly rhetoric that has dominated the verbal traffic between Germany and Greece recently. My friends reported to me how welcoming the locals were even when they learned they were Germans.

Perhaps because they know intimately what it means to be a minority, a large number of the German-speaking inhabitants of northern Italy I encountered in July were actively engaged in helping refugees there: their aid ranged from taking refugees aside and giving them legal advice at the Brenner Pass to watching how officials were behaving there and then writing reports about it to offering information on where refugees could receive food in Bozen to interviewing them and writing plays about their plights. Maxi Obexer, our GSA luncheon speaker in 2014, has written one such play, Illegale Helfer--she read out of an early draft to us--which has since been performed several times and will be again shortly in Berlin in a reading that includes some of the refugees and Swiss helpers she originally interviewed for the project. This past summer Obexer organized and ran in her hometown in the Südtirol an entire summer workshop for young playwrights on the topic of “flight and refuge”; some of the participants had themselves fled to Europe from elsewhere. By the way, our 2015 luncheon speaker Kathrin Röggla did a reading and mentored a group at that workshop.

When large numbers of refugees started to arrive in Berlin earlier this fall, retired and active doctors got busy. A longtime host-father for our Dartmouth students is one such person. He reported to me how spontaneously doctors volunteered to help and how fully they cooperated with one another to assure coordination of care on-site in Spandau. The sister of one of our host-mothers reported similarly on efforts at the Münchner Hauptbahnhof. She herself had spent a significant amount of time in Syria, speaks Arabic and helped orient the stunned arrivals in Munich.

By way of participating in an “Aktionstag für ein schönes Berlin,” my students and I decided to clean up a small local park that hosts quite a steady stream of (German) homeless and alcoholics. One regular was already on a park bench when we arrived at 2 pm. He asked us what we were up to, expressed his approval, showed us the special jars the regulars use for their cigarette butts, and urged us to also do something to help the refugees. I was quite taken with this unsolicited statement of concern for the newest newcomers. While the newspapers were reporting fears of outbursts of violence against foreigners by the local homeless, especially over competition for housing, this gentleman anyways, obviously looked at the plight of the refugees with compassion. One of the Berlin local papers sold by the homeless reported extensively on the annual conference to help homeless youth; from the articles, it seemed that the sponsoring organization was reaching out to refugee youth in numerous ways.

Dresden is getting a very bad rap these days. That’s not justified by what I saw. We were not only in Dresden on a Monday night, we were even scheduled to go to the Semperoper. This was exactly one week after the outrageous comments of Akif Pirincçi lamenting the absence of KZ in today’s Germany. While I hoped that he had crossed a line that would make most semi-reasonable individuals stay home the night we’d be there, I worriedly ordered the students to stick together and get into the opera house as early as possible. What I saw over the course of the day calmed me: on dozens of public and private buildings hung gigantic signs welcoming refugees or proclaiming the friendliness and openness of Dresdeners or confirming the integrity of the rights of all individuals or explicitly denouncing Pegida. Probably many of you know that the Semperoper itself hangs alternating huge signs with various messages against xenophobia. The day we were there it read: Wir sind kein Bühnenbild für Fremdenhass. When I arrived at the Theaterplatz at 6pm (for a 7pm show) there were several hundred individuals merely standing around with several score policefolk at the edges of the square. My students reported that as they crossed the Platz a half-hour later there were several thousand demonstrators, many carrying signs or waving flags (can someone explain to me the relevance of the Hapsburger standard in that context?). The students just happened to catch a reference by the speaker to the Semperoper sign at which lots of demonstrators then booed. This shook them up a bit. Still, the atmosphere remained peaceful, as did the Pegida and the anti-Pegida marches through the city center. A waitress at the Schinkelwache (also on the Theaterplatz) expressed regret to me about the protests; not a single individual I spoke with over those two days condoned what Pegida was doing.

The Wiener have been dealing with large numbers of refugees from numerous countries for many years now; I can’t think of many cities that are currently “bunter” than Vienna. While I heard a few scattered remarks about the subways being too full, what I observed in those subways was the Viennese exercising the same benign neglect they show toward each other toward what appeared to be new arrivals. On the streets I observed something I’d never seen before: locals stopping to ask individuals who looked clueless if they could be of help. (There’s an epidemic of such helpfulness in Berlin, too.) Near the back entrance to the West Bahnhof I often use when I’m in Vienna, I saw a distribution center for clothing and food, staffed by quite ordinary looking locals, cheerfully going about their work by Viennese standards.

Of course, what I’m reporting to you here is not comprehensive scientific data. By the time this column appears, something dreadful might have taken place, disproving what I’m claiming to be the good will of the mainly silent and yet not so inactive supportive majority. If relative peace is maintained in the next months and years in Europe, the Europeans--and it looks like above all the Germans--will have to face the huge question of integration: will these newcomers be offered not only shorter or longer term asylum but also paths to becoming new Europeans? That remains to be seen—or rather to be worked toward.

I and many of you are informed witnesses of how the Germans (East and West and now together), Austrians, and Swiss have worked through the horrible legacies of the NS period. Each national group has had different tasks to attend to, of course, and for each country, it’s been an uneven and incomplete working through. Still, from what I’ve studied and what I have myself observed, I believe the national reflection in German-speaking Europe has been more profound and honest than many other nations’ confrontations with the dark sides of their pasts. To make my point here as clearly as I can: I’m suggesting that if we look to the recent past and to small but profound gestures of solidarity in the present, we have reason to be optimistic about the future. As intermediaries between the past and present, I believe we scholars of German history, culture and politics have a special role to play in the public sphere.
There’s almost a separate class of “public intellectuals” in Europe; and from what I’ve read and heard this year, many of them, along with ordinary citizens, are not as sanguine about their future as I am. An important question we’ve posed implicitly and explicitly in the GSA is what is different about German Studies in North America from the study of German-speaking cultures in Europe? We have some distance and perspective that helps our judgment of what’s going on there; at the least, our location inflects it. I’d like to see more of us step up to the microphone to speak about Europe and its current challenges—to Americans and also to Europeans.

What have you seen lately in your visits or in your daily lives in German-speaking Europe? Perhaps we can figure out a way to stage some open debates on the topics I’ve raised in this column at our upcoming 40th anniversary conference in San Diego.

Speaking of which--and to continue an important recent trend in presidential columns--please make sure you contribute to the “$40 for 40 years” campaign. We want to be able to tell our funders and future funders that the entire membership believes in the GSA enough to voluntarily contribute to its future stability.

Signing off from Berlin

Irene Kacandes
The Dartmouth Professor of German Studies and Comparative Literature
GSA President 2015-2016

[Sent to Irene Kacandes on December 10, 2015]
To the GSA:

In the spirit of Professor Irene Kacandes’s invitation to debate the nature of the current state of affairs in Germany, we, the undersigned, wish to reflect on Professor Kacandes’s comments and offer a response to greater institutional trends that we have encountered in discussions of racism and anti-racism in Central Europe in general. We appreciate her open tone and willingness to create a dialogue around these issues, and we wish to add to and deepen her perspective. We envision this letter as the beginning of a larger discussion that can take place at the upcoming German Studies Association 40th Annual conference in San Diego, California.

Kacandes’s comments about racism and anti-racism in Central Europe appeared in our inboxes only a day after the latest PEGIDA demonstration, less than a week since a Black resident was violently attacked on a tram in the city of Halle, and less than two months since the racist, anti-Muslim, and anti-immigrant far-right party the FPÖ won 31% of the vote in the city of Vienna, breaking their previous record (the only party to secure more votes was the SPÖ at 39%).

What Kacandes saw in Dresden was indeed heartening (anti-xenophobia signs at the Semperoper; a waitress expressing regret about the PEGIDA protests). Yet we, as German studies scholars, should be able to recognize and support anti-racist movements while acknowledging the ongoing experiences of racist violence in German-speaking countries today. People of color, Muslim men and women, and refugees continue to be subjected to a range of forms of violence, including physical violence. Scholars of color within the GSA continue to experience racist incidents within Germany and within German studies institutions. Students of color should be able to make choices about study abroad programs with full knowledge of the ongoing existence of racism in German-speaking countries.

We thus fully support Professor Kacandes’s call for more public intellectual engagement with the current situation in Germany. We also recognize that scholars and students of color likely have very different experiences than those of white scholars and students moving through German-speaking countries and through academic spaces.

Moreover, we wish to point out that even positive slogans such as “Wir sind kein Bühnenbild für Fremdenhass” often reinforce racial and ethnic difference. Who in the Semperoper’s poster is fremd and who is German? Far too often, well-meaning Central Europeans use expressions such as Ausländerfeindlichkeit or Fremdenhass to describe the nature of discrimination against Turkish-Germans, Afro-Germans, and other German citizens. But their words reinforce the long-held bias that Germans of different heritages and backgrounds are not truly German, even as they claim to be working on these minorities’ behalf. Such slogans imply that these “Other Germans” (to use Tina Campt’s phrase) will always be Ausländer or fremd. As scholars of Jewish-German history have already taught us, similar language also existed (and still does) to disassociate German Jews from Germany, creating a binary in which one could be Jewish or German but not both.

We encounter comments in both German media and in academia that suggest that the very real and admirable anti-racist sentiment and organizing somehow undoes the continuing existence of widespread everyday racism that ethnic and racial minorities in Central Europe experience, or that the success of German democracy renders the existence of racism both marginal and irrelevant. The undersigned believe that this is not the case.

Certainly much has been accomplished by a decades-long struggle to work through, in various ways, Germany’s history of racism and anti-Semitism. However, the impacts and causes of racist violence are complex. Anti-Semitism, anti-Black racism, Antiziganism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia exist beyond national borders and cannot be contained by them. These overlapping racisms rely partially on forms of power and constructions of whiteness that circulate throughout Europe and the rest of the world in continually shifting ways. Different countries and regions have dealt with different aspects of these racist histories, but we cannot construct a hierarchy of racisms in which Germany has progressed the most, or the most honestly. Nor can we choose to ignore existing racisms in Central Europe because they have shifted in content or in form, or because some believe that racism is “worse” in other locations.

We are thankful for the work that many members of the GSA have undertaken in Turkish-German Studies, Jewish-German Studies, Black German Studies, and other fields that tackle the problems of racism and xenophobia in Central Europe because they remind us that one person’s experience cannot speak for all. We must always seek out counter-narratives that contextualize how many different people have lived and are living their lives in Central Europe today. And we must employ a wide array of methodologies and approaches to these topics to fight against racism in Central Europe.

We support the efforts of citizens in cities such as Dresden and Vienna to eradicate racism and xenophobia in their hometowns. But that doesn't change the fact that these problems exist. As scholars and activists, it should be possible for us to see both the degrees and levels to which German society has progressed and also how much more work Central Europe still needs to do.


Signed,
Jeremy Best, Iowa State University
Jeff Bowersox, University College London
Rita Chin, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Kristin Dickinson, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Geoff Eley, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Robin Ellis, University of California, Berkeley
Tiffany Florvil, University of New Mexico
Maureen Gallagher, Lafayette College
Marina Jones, Oberlin College
Sara Lennox, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Jennifer Lynn, Montana State University, Billings
Andrea Orzoff, New Mexico State University
Damani Partridge, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Vanessa Plumly, SUNY New Paltz
Kristin Poling, University of Michigan, Dearborn
Tanja Nusser, University of Cincinnati
Anna Schrade, Amherst College
Maria Stehle, University of Tennessee
Richard Steigmann-Gall, Kent State University
Sarah Summers, University of Guelph
Kira Thurman, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Evan Torner, University of Cincinnati
Beverly Weber, University of Colorado, Boulder
Albert Wu, American University of Paris
Jonathan Wiesen, Southern Illinois University
Andrew Zimmerman, George Washington University

[December 14, 2015]

To the GSA Membership:

I am grateful to the GSA members who took the time to read my column in the Winter 2015-16 newsletter and to respond to it in writing. My hope is that by making their letter and this response to it public, we will spark greater examination of contemporary issues in Central Europe at the GSA, something that I and others have perceived as inadequately addressed in recent conferences. For this reason I proposed already last year that the relatively underutilized category of “political science” be replaced by “Contemporary Politics, Economics, and Society” for one of our vetting slots of the conference program committee. Shepherded this year by Robert (Mark) Spaulding (University of North Carolina, Wilmington) and Jeffrey Anderson (Georgetown), I hope many of you will submit panels or individual papers under this rubric. I would also like to draw the general membership’s attention to the new Black Diaspora Studies Network, convened by Sara Lennox (Professor Emerita of German Studies, University of Massachusetts-Amherst), Andrew Zimmerman (Professor of History and International Affairs, George Washington University), and Tiffany N. Florvil (Assistant Professor of History, University of New Mexico). While topics related to the study of Central Europeans of African descent have by no means been absent at the GSA, I anticipate exploration of many additional subjects and broad participation through/in the new network.

In considering topics that are very contemporary, like those I took up in my original newsletter column and those the group-letter writers took up (not exactly the same), I wonder about things like how breaking news reframes one’s argument. (My presidential column was submitted on November 7.) I wonder too about the use of personal anecdotes and observations, close reading, framing of questions, genre, comparison, metaphoric language, metrics in general. In other words: are the tools we use to understand what is happening around us different from the tools we use to understand the past? If so, how? Do some people’s interpretations of the present count more than others’? If so, why? What forms does such privileging take? To put it yet a third way: as we—I hope—devote more attention to contemporary events, we will also need to debate and in any case be quite self-conscious about methodology, about how we go about our analyses.

Perhaps the subject that spans my column and the group’s letter—assessing xenophobia in the context of the arrival of more than a million refugees to countries with histories of and continuing problems with race-based violence—will require new research protocols as well as new presentation and discussion strategies. I and the Executive Council welcome suggestions for innovative formats, especially in the wake of the successful institution of the GSA seminars and especially to address at our 2016 conference issues related to refugees, xenophobia, and violence against peoples of color in Central Europe.

We can certainly continue to discuss the many topics raised in this addendum to the newsletter in this space on our website.

Respectfully yours,

Irene Kacandes
GSA President

 

Tuesday January 19, 2016

Dear Members of the German Studies Association,

Below you will find another response to the letter I originally drafted for the Winter 2015-16 Newsletter, this time from a single member, political scientist Joyce Mushaben. I once again thank her and all those who are taking the time to respond with their thoughts about the compli-cated current events in the Federal Republic. I don’t know if at some point this will no longer be possible, but for now, we are committed to publishing all responses.

I want to point out that the letter below was drafted before the events of New Year’s 2016. And I also want to observe that the situation in Germany is certainly about as dynamic as it could be; I find myself wondering how each new report changes what I think about what is happening.

I remain very open to suggestions for other ways we can handle dialog on this critical set of top-ics. And I sincerely hope that many panels for Conference 2016 are being formed as I write this to you.

With best wishes to all, especially to those who are just starting up new semesters,

Irene Kacandes
GSA President

Response from Dr. Joyce Mushaben

Dear GSA Colleagues:

At the risk of unleashing a flurry of emails directed against my reflections. I would like to offer my thanks (and support) to Irene Kacandes for summarizing her first-hand observations of the positive paradigm shift in German attitudes toward migrants, asylum-seekers and Europe’s ongoing refugee crisis. Irene’s “anecdotal” accounts confirm what I personally witnessed during my four months of political science field research (April through July) in 2015. They are moreover confirmed by countless e-mails I have received from friends and colleagues spread all across Germany: people I have not heard from in years are suddenly offering personal stories on volunteer activities in their towns. I have moreover been able to document many dimensions of the Germany’s new “Welcoming Culture,” empirical evidence I was able to collect as a guest scholar at the Bundestag Bibliothek through late July.

For the record: Like many academics, I have managed to build a successful career by analyzing various forms of social injustice and minority oppression, although my field requires me to make my case based on “data” of drawn from many official sources. I wrote my first article on the social and legal exclusion of Turkish guestworkers and their offspring in 1981, followed by studies of neo-Nazi youth movements, comparative treatments of gender and the Holocaust, exploring poverty under neo-liberal welfare state reforms, championing women’s “right to choose” (e.g., Muslim headscarves), supporting Islamic instruction and mosque construction in Germany. As a founding mother of the Women’s & Gender Studies program at a public university in a very regressive state, I regularly associate with a wide assortment of social movement activists combating sexism and racism, especially. The University of Missouri-St. Louis is less than three miles away from “Ferguson,” a subject on which I also guest-lectured in Germany over the summer. I teach and mentor students from Ferguson.

As guilty as I sometime feel regarding my ability to “make a living” by investigating the trials, tribulations, inequalities and patterns of discrimination facing countless others born into a less privileged position, I nonetheless become very nervous when a self-appointed collective suddenly sees fit to remind everyone else about how much “oppression” is still out there. Based on my 30+ years of comparative public policy research, I am absolutely sure that no law has ever been changed in Germany or in the United States based on an exegesis of Judith Butler, bel hooks, Michael Foucault, Edward Said, or by citing a host of other social theorists to lawmakers. Anyone who wants to change the world must lead by example, not by way of exhortations to others.

Angela Merkel deserves a great deal of praise for leading the charge, and giving Germans the RIGHT TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT THEMSELVES for finally living up to the human rights standards that groups ranging from the SDS to the Greens began preaching of the late 1960s/early 1970s (I identify with those groups as well). As I stressed in various essays I was invited to contribute to international websites over the summer, Merkel’s response did not come out of the blue. Rather, it represents a fundamental shift in the mindset of millions of Germans dating back to the dramatic changes in citizenship and migration law (Staatsangehörigkeitsgesetz, 1999; Zuwanderungsgesetz, 2005) initiated by the Red-Green government. It is moreover rooted in processes of generational change, the dynamics of two Grand Coalitions, and physicist-Merkel’s ability to read the demographic handwriting on the wall.

It was the “Unity Chancellor,” Helmut Kohl, who deserves blame for Germany's institutionalized, hardline approach to millions fleeing oppression from non-European countries through the 1990s. Although the generous asylum guarantee embedded in the Basic Law made no distinctions with respect to countries of origin, asylum-practices were long biased in favor of persons fleeing “communism.” Prior to 1980, breadwinners with pending applications (some of which took over 15 years to decide) received temporary work permits. By 1987, only East Europeans were exempt from a new five-year work ban, although two-thirds of all applicants were of prime working age (18-50). As of the mid-1980s, applicants had to live at designated sites in hostels, tents or containers, even if relatives offered to sponsor them elsewhere; all but “breadwinners” were denied language instruction. Thousands who were ultimately “rejected” could not be deported, due to international conventions prohibiting their return to homelands that were little more than combat zones. Forced to renew their “tolerated” status every six months, they could not engage in paid labor, fueling taxpayer resentment over their “shameless exploitation” of the national welfare system through 2005.

Conditions worsened over time: buildings already inadequate for families had their kitchens removed to prevent them from cooking. Reduced cash allocations were replaced with benefits in kind, health care access declined. Applicants allowed to work under very exceptional circumstances could not earn more than the equivalent of €1.05 per hour. Unification was followed by the arrival of 450,000 refugees from the former Yugoslavia, as well as by an unprecedented wave of xenophobic violence (1991-1993). Three fourths of the arson attacks took place on western soil, including the two Turkish homes set ablaze by neo-Nazis in Mölln and Solingen, killing two grandmothers and six children. Kohl refused to attend the victims' funerals and disparaged anti- neo-Nazi demonstrations as ”shameful for Germany.”

Joking that she herself is a person of migration background, Angela Merkel has consistently stressed Germany's need to become a ”welcoming culture,“ in order to survive a looming demographic deficit. Its aging population may decline by 17 million over the next 35 years, causing a major skilled labor shortage. One of her first acts as Chancellor was to personally distribute new passports to twelve naturalized citizens. Merkel pursues the “politics of small steps“ but recognizes the need for holistic solutions, e.g., expanding educational and vocational opportunities for youth of migrant descent. She is the only chancellor to have convened a series of National Integration Summits since 2006, as well as a Youth Integration Summit. In 2007 she introduced the National Integration Plan (400 initiatives, 129 stakeholder organizations) and a National Integration Action Plan in 2012, replete with concrete indicators, time-tables and “implementation monitoring.”

Other legislative reforms enacted during Merkel’s watch add up to a bona fide paradigm shift. Asylum applicants can now seek jobs after six months in residence. Applicants who were rejected but nonetheless “tolerated” in Germany for at least eight years (six for children) now have a “right to remain.” Migrant dependents (15-20) who attended German schools or who have been in the country for 15 months can receive educational stipends (BaFög) and work permits after training. Refugees and asylum seekers now enjoy some freedom of movement after four months, allowing children to accompany their peers on class trips. Some states now allow families to move into apartments after two years. A 2012 law established procedures for recognizing occupational qualifications attained abroad; of the 13,344 cases decided in 2013, 9,969 (74.7%) were fully accredited. The Federal Agency for Migrants and Refugees established a Round Table on the “Accepting Society,” with task forces establishing “best welcoming practices and intercultural opening and training – to re-socialize civil servants into friendlier, inclusionary behaviors vis-á-vis newcomers. The BAMF is helping to professionalize ethnic associations as communication channels as well.

The December 10th response to the Kacandes letter began with a few isolated incidents, anecdotal evidence that falls very short of discrediting her glass-half-full conclusions. As a qualitative social-science researcher, I always have a warm spot in my heart for concrete, every-day examples that bring “a human face” to intellectual exchanges. But single incidents also need to be countered with representative data. While Pegida attracted an estimated 15,000 demonstrators to its largest demonstration -- in a city curiously devoid of Muslims -- there are now over 14,000 VOLUNTEER CENTERS spread across Germany. It also noteworthy that most Pegida, Magida and Legida protests have been matched by counter-demonstrations. While one Black resident was attacked in Halle, over 100 black citizens in the United States have been killed by police since the Michael Brown shooting.

Am I engaging in code-switching? No more than the December 10th signatories who quickly jump to the electoral gains of the FPŐ in Austria, and then to the misinformed if “well-meaning Central Europeans.” How do academics specializing in German Studies -- which I deduce from their response to a “GSA” presidential letter -- suddenly become experts capable of judging what “Central Europeans” (Poles? Hungarians? Czechs? Slovenians?) must be thinking when they read a banner posted in front of the Semperoper? For the record: The Kacandes letter does not mention a large crowd of Central Europeans visiting Dresden, much less gazing up at the banner at the time she was there with her students. I could not get away with this kind of generalization in my field of comparative political science; at a minimum, I would be expected to cite a few statistically representative public opinion surveys.

As someone who has also published extensively on the serious, widespread Ausländerfeindlichkeit of the 1980s, the xenophobic violence of the early 1990s, on the changing perceptions of German citizenship and identity, as well as on migration and integration policy reforms over the last two decades, I would also like to stress that “learning to live with difference” has been a really good thing for the nation united. Integration is a two-way process requiring mutual accommodation, to be sure, but it begins with an awareness that we do not all have to eat, drink, look, worship, sing or dance alike in order to be valued as members of a national community. That is the nature of pluralist democracy. Recognizing difference is a necessary if not a sufficient condition for building mutual respect.

The December 10th references to “othering” are sooner ground in an “either-or” conceptualization that is no longer the dominant societal paradigm in Germany. The sources of potential injustice and inequality noted in the response letter reads too much like a victimization checklist, more likely to stifle dialogue than to foster it: Anti-Semitism, anti-Black racism, Antiziganism (never heard of that one before!), xenophobia, Islamophobia, constructions of whiteness. I cannot combat isms; I can only try to make the world a better place by focusing on human behaviors. “Counter-narratives” are never as productive in breaking down prejudices as actually inviting a refugee family to dinner, sharing extra household goods and/or volunteering to tutor them in the local language. One cannot “contextualize” other people’s lives by sitting in university offices and theorizing about them.

There was absolutely nothing in the President’s letter that suggested “we” should “choose to ignore racisms in Central Europe,” much less “to construct a hierarchy of racisms.” No one has denied that pockets of prejudice, discrimination and racism exist: that is why we have laws against such things. The idea is to build on positive sources of change.

I have no idea who “Tina Campt” may be, but I am pretty sure that Angela Merkel has done significantly more than any scholar of her ilk to open the hearts and minds of millions of Germans to persons seeking refuge, freedom and a new life in Europe. I note this, despite the fact that I would never vote for the CDU/CSU. I do not feel the need to gather the signatures of 26 people who might share my views. I need only the courage afforded by my own conviction, which have served me well for nearly four decades. My many years of researching and living in Germany have nonetheless granted me the ability to recognize when a country with a terribly tragic history has really changed for the better – and that is great news worth sharing. That is the message I take away from the Presidential letter.

Wishing us all a lot more
“Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards Wo/Men” for the New Year ahead.

Joyce Marie Mushaben, Ph.D.
Curators’ Professor of Comparative Politics
& Gender Studies
University of Missouri-St. Louis
Tel. 314/516-4908
e-mail: mushaben@umsl.edu

Call for Papers

The German Studies Association (GSA) will hold its Fortieth Annual Conference in San Diego, California, September 29-October 2, 2016.

The Program Committee cordially invites proposals on any aspect of German, Austrian, or Swiss studies, including (but not limited to) history, Germanistik, film, art history, political science, anthropology, musicology, religious studies, sociology, and cultural studies. Proposals for entire sessions and for interdisciplinary presentations are strongly encouraged. Individual paper proposals and offers to serve as session moderators or commentators are also welcome. The Call for Seminar Proposals is being distributed separately. Please see below for details; that deadline is November 23. Applications for participation in seminars will be opened on January 5.

The submission process for papers, sessions, and roundtables opens on January 5, 2016. ALL proposals must be submitted online; paper forms are not used. The deadline for proposals is February 15, 2016.

Please note that presenters must be members of the German Studies Association. Information on membership is available here.

In order to avoid complications later, the Program Committee would like to reiterate two extremely important guidelines here (the full list of guidelines is available on the GSA website):

No individual at the GSA Conference may give more than one paper or participate in more than two separate capacities.

All rooms will be equipped with projectors. It is the responsibility of the submitter of proposed panels to ensure payment of the AV fee for use of this equipment. If the paper proposal requires high quality sound equipment, that justification must be made in detail at the time of submission.

For more information, members of the 2016 Program Committee:

Program Director:
Todd Heidt, Knox College

Pre-1800 (all fields):
Sara Poor, Princeton University

19th century (all fields):
Catriona MacLeod, University of Pennsylvania

20th/21st-century history:
Beth Griech-Polelle, Pacific Lutheran University
Annette Timm, University of Calgary

20th/21st-century Germanistik:
Christine Rinne Eaton, University of South Alabama
Valerie Weinstein, University of Cincinnati

Contemporary Politics, Economics, and Society:
Jeffrey Anderson, Georgetown University
Robert Mark Spaulding, University of North Carolina, Wilmington

Interdisciplinary/Diachronic:
Joanne Miyang Cho, William Paterson University
April Eisman, Iowa State University

Seminars:
Heikki Lempa (chair), Moravian College
Darcy Buerkle, Smith College
Carrie Smith-Prei, University of Alberta

Call for Seminar Proposals

In response to the success of the last two years’ seminar programs, the 40th GSA Conference in San Diego, California (September 29-October 2, 2016), will continue to host a series of seminars in addition to its regular conference sessions and roundtables.

Seminars to meet for all three days of the conference to explore new avenues of academic exchange and foster extended discussion, rigorous intellectual debate, and intensified networking. Seminars are typically proposed and led by two to three conveners and they consist of approximately 12 to 20 participants, including representation from different disciplines, a representative number of graduate students and faculty of different ranks. They may, for instance, enable extended discussion of a recent academic publication; the exploration of a promising new research topic; the engagement with pre-circulated papers; the opportunity to debate the work of two scholars with different approaches; the coming together of groups of scholars seeking to develop an anthology; the in-depth discussion of a political or public-policy issue, novel, film, poem, artwork, or musical piece.

Seminar proposers should design topics that will suit the three-day structure of the conference and also submit a list of potential applicants while providing enough room for other GSA members to participate. The purpose of this list is to show that an outreach effort has been undertaken. The invited participants do not make any commitment until they officially apply for the seminar after its approval. It’s important to note that application to all approved seminars will be open to all GSA members and that there is no guarantee for the invited participants that they will be accepted. The conveners decision on which applicants will be accepted or might be rejected will be based on a) the quality of the applicants’ proposals and b) a balanced proportion of professors at different career stages and graduate students, and c) the disciplinary diversity of the seminar.

In order to reach the goal of extended discussion, seminar conveners and participants are expected to participate in all three installments of the seminar. We ask seminar conveners to monitor attendance and inform the program committee about no shows during the conference. Please note that seminar conveners and seminar applicants who have been accepted for seminar participation will not be allowed to submit a paper in a regular panel session. However, they may moderate or comment on other sessions independent of their enrollment in a seminar.

Please submit the title and a 100-word description of your seminar by November 23, 2015. The committee will then provide suggestions and assistance for the final submission which is due by December 10, 2015. In order to propose a seminar for the 2016 conference provide following materials in one integrated Word document:

1. A 500-word description of the intellectual goals of the seminar.
2. A 250-word description of the proposed seminar’s structures and procedures of participation. Make sure to address:
a. whether participants will be asked to write and read pre-circulated papers and, if so, of what length;
b. whether you will assign additional readings;
c. how you envision your communication with seminar participants in the months leading up to the conference;
d. how you define the role of the conveners.
3. A list of invited participants, their institutional affiliations, discipline, and academic rank.
4. Mini-biographies of all conveners of no more than 250 words each.
5. A statement about the desired size of the seminar (either 12 to 15 or 16 to 20)
6. A statement about whether you allow for silent auditors and if so for how many (either 1-5 or 6-10).

The GSA Seminar Program Committee will review seminar proposals after December 10, 2015, and it will post a list of approved seminars and their topics on the GSA website by early January 2016. Between January 5 and January 28, 2016, association members will be invited to submit their applications for participation in specific seminars directly to the conveners. The conveners will then submit the proposals for their fully populated seminars to the GSA Seminar Program Committee for the final approval. The GSA Seminar Program Committee will inform seminar conveners and applicants on February 5, 2016, about the final makeup of the seminars. (These deadlines have been chosen to allow time for those not accepted to submit a paper proposal to the general call for papers.)


GSA Seminar Committee:
Heikki Lempa (chair), Moravian College
Darcy Buerkle, Smith College
Carrie Smith-Prei, University of Alberta

Please direct all inquiries and proposals to all three of us.

 

GSA Arts Night

Crystal Gateway Marriott, 1 October 2015

Many of us are busy making plans to see friends and deciding which panels to attend. Please include in your schedule our new Arts Night Initiative.

Just in case you've missed the new development: we have put together a slate of four events featuring artists or the work of artists for Thursday evening, 1 October. Along the model of First Night celebrations in many cities, the events will run simultaneously and most will be repeated. Held in the main conference hotel, the sessions will run 7-7:50pm and 8-8:50pm.

Where would we be without the arts? Unlike our federal government, the GSA has decided to put more resources into the arts, not less. Please show your support by attending one or both sessions.

SESSION ONE 7:00-7:50 pm

Session One 7:00-7:50pm, Room: JEFFERSON ROOM

DEFA Film Library DVD release: “ARTS IN EXILE”

Erich Fried: The Whole World Should Endure (Die ganze Welt soll bleiben: Erich Fried, ein Portrait)
GDR, 1988, Dir. Roland Steiner, 30 min., color

Born to Jewish parents, author Erich Fried (1921-1988) left Vienna in 1938 and settled in London. In this film Fried, one of the most important poets of the 20th century, reflects on his personal experiences and political engagement, discussing philosophical questions of concern to humankind and reciting his own works.

Do You Know Where Herr Kisch Is? (Wissen Sie nicht, wo Herr Kisch ist?)
GDR/CSSR, 1985, Dir. Eduard Schreiber, 19 min., color

The “Raging Reporter” Egon Erwin Kisch (1885-1948) was one of the most significant German journalists of the 1920s and ‘30s. He wrote from a communist point of view, in language that sparkled with humor. Historic photographs and footage describe Kisch’s eventful journalistic and political life, which brought him to cities including Berlin, Moscow, Sydney, and New York.

Session One 7:00-7:50pm, Room: JACKSON ROOM
Ask Me More about Brecht: Hanns Eisler in Conversation
A dramatic performance by Sabine Berendse and Paul Clements
Introduced by Joy Haslam Calico


Sabine Berendse and Paul Clements have created a dramatic reading and multimedia performance of Hans Eisler's conversations with Hans Bunge about his friend Bertholdt Brecht. Eisler was an enormously intelligent and entertaining conversationalist: witty, incisive, and lively, with a stimulating breadth of knowledge and a profound understanding of historical processes.

What would a show about a composer be without his music? The performance includes recordings of Eisler’s music, including of Eisler himself singing and playing the piano. Rare photographs of Eisler and others illustrate the show.

(based on: Brecht, Music and Culture. Hanns Eisler in Conversation with Hans Bunge. Trans. by Sabine Berendse and Paul Clements. London, New York, Bloomsbury 2014)

Session One 7:00-7:50pm, Room: LEE ROOM
Rita Kuczynski

Introduced by Anthony Steinhoff

Author and publicist Rita Kuczynski will read from her novel Aber der Himmel war höher (2014)

Rita Kuczynski is the author of numerous novels and nonfiction works. She studied piano at the West and East Berlin conservatories and then philosophy at the Universities of Leipzig and East Berlin, completing a doctoral dissertation on Hegel. Kuczynski has been a visiting professor at SUNY Buffalo and the Universidad de Concepción, a visiting fellow at Johns Hopkins, and a free-lance journalist for Der Tagesspiegel, Die Zeit, Süddeutsche Zeitung, and other publications.

Session One 7:00-7:50pm, Room: MADISON ROOM
Remembering Günter Grass (1927-2015)
Moderated by Daniel Reynolds, Grinnell College


GSA members will read some of their favorite passages from the oeuvre of Günter Grass. Readers will be:

Monika Shafi, University of Delaware
Stephen Brockmann, Carnegie-Mellon University
Sabine Gross, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Frank Finlay, University of Leeds
Deniz Göktürk, U Cal, Berkeley

Session Two 8:00-8:45 pm

Session Two 8-8:45pm, Room: JEFFERSON ROOM
DEFA Film Library DVD release: “ARTS IN EXILE”

Even Today He’d Speak His Mind (Er könnte ja heute nicht schweigen)
GDR, 1975, Dir. Volker Koepp, 34 min., b&w

In this film about German political poet, agitator, and satirist Erich Weinert (1890-1953), his wife and friends share stories about his life: his commitment to the struggle of the international proletariat; his exile in Switzerland, France, and the Soviet Union; and his fight in the International Brigades in Spain. The interviews, historic film footage, and photos are accompanied by Ernst Busch’s musical interpretation of “Der heimliche Aufmarsch” (“The Secret Deployment”) with lyrics by Weinert and music by Hanns Eisler.

Ernst Barlach: Mystic of Modernity
(Ernst Barlach – Mystiker der Moderne)
Germany, 2006, Dir. Bernd Boehm, 26 min., color/b&w

This arte documentary on the life of German Expressionist artist Ernst Barlach (1870-1938) weaves together excerpts of his writings and extensive images of his drawings, paintings and sculptures. Narrated in English, it appears as a special feature on the new DVD release of The Lost Angel (Der verlorene Engel, GDR, 1966|71, Dir. Ralf Kirsten, 58 min. b&w)

Session Two 8-8:45pm, Room: JACKSON ROOM
Ask Me More about Brecht: Hanns Eisler in Conversation

A dramatic performance by Sabine Berendse and Paul Clements
Introduced by Joy Haslam Calico



Session Two 8-8:45pm, Room: LEE ROOM
Rita Kuczynski

Introduced by Anthony Steinhoff

 

Session Two 8-8:45pm, Room: MADISON

Kickoff Event for Freipass, a New Yearbook

The Günter and Ute Grass Foundation presented its new yearbook, Freipass, at the Leipzig Book Fair in 2015. Freipass focuses on leading figures and central issues of 20th- and 21st-century Central European culture, with a special emphasis on archival materials and scholarly contributions dealing with the life and work of Günter Grass. Grass himself welcomed this development enthusiastically, as it fulfilled one of his longtime wishes. His sudden death earlier this year has made it an important part of his legacy.

During this session and at a reception on Saturday, 3 October, Professor Volker Neuhaus, the yearbook’s co-developer and co-editor, will introduce the new periodical to a scholarly North American readership. Among other topics, Volume I treats Anglo-American scholarly responses to Grass’s works and demonstrates that the English-speaking world can boast of an outstanding, closely connected community of Grass scholars that is totally absent in the German-speaking countries.

With this special presentation of Freipass in the USA, the editors hope to call American scholarly attention to the journal and to attract potential contributors to it. Future volumes will contain a useful bibliography of current Grass research worldwide.

The yearbook is peer reviewed by an editorial board of leading Grass scholars: Professors Volker Neuhaus, Per Ohrgaard, and Dieter Stolz, and Grass House director J.P. Thomsa.

Bibliographical details for the first issue: Dieter Stolz, ed. Freipass. Schriften der Günter und Ute Grass Stiftung, vol. 1. Berlin: Ch. Links Verlag, 2015. ISBN 978-3-86153-827-1 For additional details please contact Professor Volker Neuhaus (profdrvneuhaus@aol.com) or Acting Editor Professor Dieter Stolz (dieter.stolz@berlin.de).

Conference Program Now Online

The program for the 2015 GSA conference in Washington, DC has been finalized and is now available here.

Conference Registration and Hotel Reservation Information

Online conference registration, meal reservations, and hotel reservations for the 39th annual conference of the GSA in Washington, DC, are now open. Please go to http://www.thegsa.org/members/conference to register.

When you pay your registration fee, you will be able to purchase meals and pay for A/V expenses at the same time. After September 1st, all registrants will pay an additional $10 fee. Please be aware of the refund policy on conference registrations.

You can only reserve a hotel room at the conference rate of $175.00 by registering for the conference. You will not be able to reserve a room at the conference rate by calling the hotel or by booking with an online agency. You must first register for the conference to be eligible for the rate.

Hotel reservations at the GSA conference rate will be available until 1 September or until rooms at the hotel sell out. Our primary hotels sell out well before the deadline every year. We may be able to arrange additional capacity at an overflow hotel, but we cannot guarantee that this will be the case. Please reserve your room(s) as soon as possible.

Once you have registered for the conference, you will receive a confirmation e-mail from Johns Hopkins University Press with the link to the special hotel reservation page. Do not discard or lose this email. It will serve as your receipt and provide access to hotel reservations at the conference rate.

Conference Registration Rates (before 1 September)

  • Regular, joint, and emeritus members: $110.00
  • Non-members: $180.00
  • Independent scholars (members):: $50.00
  • Independent scholars (non-members):: $100.00
  • Students (members):: $40.00
  • Students (non-members): $90.00
  • Audiovisual expenses $20.00 / person
  • Exhibitors $200.00 / table

After 1 September, prices for all registration categories will increase by $10. Exhibitor registration will close on 1 September.

Meals

  • Friday luncheon, October 2: $41.00
  • Friday banquet, October 2: $45.00
  • Saturday luncheon, October 3: $35.00

 

Tentative Conference Program Now Online

The tentative program of the 2015 GSA Conference has now been posted at https://www.thegsa.org/conference/documents/GSA_program_15.pdf. This first draft will remain online until 1 June, at which point it will be taken down as we edit the final program for printing and distribution to the membership. In reviewing it, please note the following points:

  1. The program is TENTATIVE. We reserve the right to make changes in the final program.

  2. We have tried to make every effort to accommodate reasonable special requests. However, please bear in mind that organizing an event of this nature is extremely complex, and we occasionally encounter difficulties. Please contact helpdesk@thegsa.org should you have questions or concerns.

  3. Should you encounter any matters that need to be changed, please inform us at helpdesk@thegsa.org BY 31 MAY. We CANNOT make any changes after that date.

  4. Your name and your institutional affiliation are shown exactly as they appear in your membership profile. If you wish to change them, please do so by going to your profile and changing them there. Then please inform us of these changes by writing to helpdesk@thegsa.org, so that we can ensure they have been incorporated into the final program.

  5. Should you encounter technical problems, please write to Ms. Elizabeth Fulton at the GSA Help Desk (helpdesk@thegsa.org). Please do not write to the Executive Director.

  6. The printed program will be distributed to all dues-paying members between July and August. Please be sure that your address in JHUP's database is accurate, or you won't receive your program.

The GSA program is the result of the tireless efforts of many people. They include our extraordinary webmaster, Terry Pochert, our outstanding 2015 Program Director, Margaret Menninger, our superb operations director, Elizabeth Fulton, and all the members of the 2015 Program Committee: Sara Poor, Anthony J. Steinhoff, Scott Moranda, Heather Perry, Christina Gerhardt, Christian Rogowski, Robert Mark Spaulding, Deborah Ascher Barnstone, and David Imhoof. Thanks are also due to our seminar committee: Elisabeth Herrmann, Katja Garloff, and Heikki Lempa.

 

Conference Information

The Thirty-Ninth Annual Conference of the German Studies Association will take place from October 1 to October 4, 2015, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott, 1700 Jefferson Davis Highway. Arlington, Virginia 22202. Many of our members will be familiar with the hotel, as this will be our fourth meeting there since 2001. For those members from outside North America who may be visiting the area for the first time, Arlington is directly across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. The hotel is located on a Metro line that is very convenient both to the Ronald Reagan National Airport and to downtown Washington.

This conference again promises to be one of the larger gatherings in our history. Following two years of successful experiments with a series of intensive, three-day seminars, this year we are offering twenty-five seminars on a wide range of issues in German Studies. As was the case last year, the seminars will run concurrently on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday during the 8:00 a.m. time block. Once again we are scheduling three Sunday time slots in order to accommodate the large number of excellent sessions reviewed by the Program Committee; the entire conference will end by 1:45 p.m. on Sunday.

Many sessions and roundtables will highlight events that we will be commemorating this year, including the twenty-fifth anniversary of German unification in 1990, the bicentennial of the Congress of Vienna, the seventieth anniversary of the end of World War II, the sixtieth anniversary of the Austrian Staatsvertrag, and the five hundredth anniversary of the battle of Marignano. We will also offer special sessions in honor of Peter Hoffmann and Hartmut Lehmann, and in memory of Günter Grass and Jonathan Osborne.

As in previous years, many sessions and roundtables in 2015 will be sponsored by the GSA Interdisciplinary Networks. The GSA’s Interdisciplinary Committee, ably chaired by Professors Jennifer Evans and Pamela Potter, coordinates the work of all our Networks, each of which in turn is organized by several hard-working coordinators. Networks sponsoring sessions this year are the Alltag Network, the Emotion Studies Network, the Environmental Studies Network, the Family and Kinship Network, the German Socialisms Network, the Law and Legal Cultures Network, the Memory Studies Network, the Music and Sound Studies Network, the Religious Studies Network, and the War and Violence Network.

Conference Speakers

Once again we have an exceptional group of luncheon and banquet speakers. We hope that as many of you as possible will attend these important events!

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 1

ARTS NIGHT

Inspired by “First Night” celebrations on December 31st in many cities, we are experimenting with an “Arts Night,” celebrating the creative and performing arts as an important part of German studies. This year, we will hold four events in two time slots (7-7:45pm and 8-8:45pm) on Thursday, October 1: film offerings by DEFA, a reading by novelist Rita Kuczynski, a mixed media performance about the relationship between Hans Eisler and Bertolt Brecht, or a series of readings by our members of favorite passages from the works of Günter Grass. Please plan to arrive early enough and to schedule your dinner so that you can attend one or both of the time slots for performances. If this is an overwhelming success, we plan to repeat and expand Arts Night in future years.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 2

LUNCHEON

As we observe the twenty-fifth anniversary of Germany‘s reunification on October3, 1990, the German Studies Association is honored to welcome His Excellency Peter Wittig, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, as our luncheon speaker. Ambassador Wittig will speak on “The Transatlantic Partnership 25 Years After German Reunification.”

 Before entering the German Foreign Service in 1982, he studied history, political science, and law at Bonn, Freiburg, Canterbury, and Oxford universities and taught as Assistant Professor at the University of Freiburg. He has served in Madrid, New York (Permanent Mission to the United Nations), as private secretary to the Foreign Minister at the Foreign Office headquarters in Berlin, as Ambassador to Lebanon and to Cyprus, where he also was the Special Envoy of the German Government for the Cyprus Question. In 2006, Ambassador Wittig was appointed Director-General for the United Nations and Global Issues at the Foreign Office in Berlin. As Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations, he represented his country in the Security Council during its membership in 2011-12.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 2

ANNUAL BANQUET OF THE ASSOCIATION

 Continuing our observation of a quarter century of unified Germany, we are pleased to welcome one of the world’s leading experts on German politics, Professor Joyce M. Mushaben. Curators’ Professor, Fellow of the Center for International Politics, and former Director of the Institute for Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, where she teaches comparative politics, Professor Mushaben is a long-time member of the German Studies Association. Drawing on her most recent research and writing, her banquet address will focus on “The Strange Tale of a Pastor’s Daughter in a Difficult Fatherland: Angela Merkel and the Reconciliation of East-West German Identities.”

Professor Mushaben received her PhD from Indiana University and studied at the University of Hamburg and the Free University of Berlin She is the author and editor of many books and monographs. Her articles have appeared in World Politics, Polity, West European Politics, German Politics, German Politics & Society, the Journal of Peace Research, Democratization, Citizenship Studies, and Femina Politica, Professor Mushaben has also received a number of awards and fellowships, including three from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 3

LUNCHEON

We are pleased to welcome Kathrin Röggla as our luncheon speaker on Saturday. She will speak on “Eine Liste der ungeschriebenen Texte - zu Literatur und ihren Möglichkeitsräumen.” A native of Salzburg, where she studied Germanistik and Publizistik, Röggla has lived in Berlin since 1992. A prominent author of prose, Hörspiele, and theater texts, she is also actively engaged with theatrical productions, and has an extraordinarily diverse literary oeuvre. Since 1988 she has worked actively with such groups as the Salzburger Autorengruppe, the Salzburger Literaturwerkstatt, and the literary journal erostepost. Her published texts make use of a wide and often experimental range of media techniques. Since 2012 she has been a member of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin, and since 2014 Poet in Residence at the University of Duisburg-Essen. She is the recipient of many prizes and awards, among them the Bruno Kreisky Prize, the Johann Nestroy Theater Prize, and the Arthur Schnitzler Prize. Among her most recent writings are the plays Kinderkriegen and Der Lärmkrieg.

Audiovisual Resources at the 2015 Conference

 We are pleased to confirm that, as was the case at our Kansas City conference last year, ALL conference breakout rooms will be equipped with audiovisual equipment. This means that any participant in any session, roundtable, or seminar may use an LCD projector ("Beamer," for our members in Europe!) located in the room. Accordingly, we are asking all our members who will be using AV to pay the $20 fee that we have been asking of AV users for some time. The fee can be paid on the website when making online conference registration payments and hotel reservations. We will rely on the honor system for these payments, which will only cover a portion of our total costs.

 

Conference Registration Refund Policy Explained

You may cancel your 2015 conference registration before 1 July 2015 for a full refund. Cancellations between 1 July and 24 September will be refunded, but will incur a $25 cancellation fee. No refunds are available for cancellations after 24 September 2015. For more information, contact helpdesk@thegsa.org.

 

Austrian Cultural Forum New York: Young Scholars Travel Grants

The Austrian Cultural Forum New York (ACFNY) and the German Studies Association (GSA) are happy to announce that there will be limited funds available to support selected young Austrian Studies scholars at this year’s conference of the German Studies Association in Washington, DC from 2 to 4 October 2015.

Only applications from scholars working in Contemporary Austrian Studies (since 1945) will be considered. Applicants must not be older than 35 years and must not have received any travel grant from the ACFNY in the past. Applicants who receive financial support from other institutions to cover travel and accommodation costs will not be considered.

The funds are intended for Austrian Studies scholars who are either completing an appropriate advanced degree or who have completed that degree within the past three years. Austrian Studies scholars from North America (Canada, Mexico, and the United States) as well as from outside North America are eligible to apply for these funds. Austrian citizenship or residency in Austria is not necessary.

Depending on the number of accepted applications and budgetary circumstances, the travel grant comprises $500 (for scholars from North America) and $1,000 (for scholars from outside North America) to offset travel costs.

Travel grants are for one person only and cannot be split among several applicants.

Applications must be submitted to the Austrian Cultural Forum New York/ACFNY (desk@acfny.org), no later than 1 June 2015. Applications should send an abstract of the paper they submitted to the GSA and a curriculum vitae. Successful applicants will be informed by 1 July 2015.

Certificates will be awarded in person at the German Studies Association Annual Conference in Washington DC. Stipends will be paid in check or transferred to an Austrian bank account (holder of bank accounts in Austria only).

 

2015 Executive Board Elections

Three positions on the GSA Board are up for election this year. Each board member will serve a two-year term. You will receive a ballot at the email address associated with your member account. Candidate biographies are available at http://www.thegsa.org/members/elections.html.

 

Berlin Program Summer Workshop June 18-19, 2015: Call for Papers


Deadline for Proposals: February 15, 2015
Violence, Oppression, and Civil Disobedience: From the Cold War Past to the Neoliberal Present

The year 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of the unification of Germany as well as dramatic moments of civil disobedience across the globe. In the same year, for example, Mandela was freed from prison in South Africa and the Persian Gulf War started. The year 2015 is also the 50th anniversary of the end of the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials in West Germany, a year that saw American troops arriving in Vietnam, the Watts Riots in LA, and Malcolm X’s assassination. These events signify important transitional moments – beginnings and endings – in national and international histories and relations. At the center of each of these moments of civil disobedience are both violence and oppression.


The fourth annual workshop of the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies will look through German eyes at violence, oppression, and civil disobedience on a global scale from the Cold War past to the Neoliberal present. How have Germans—East, West, unified—engaged in or responded to violence and oppression in their own countries/country and abroad since 1945? To what extent does the Second World War or first-hand experience of Communism affect views of and responses to such events, including individual proclivity toward or rejection of civil disobedience? What can we learn from these events about our situation today: Where we are, how we got here, and how our current situation relates to the past and future?


Possible topics include, but are not limited to, German practical, verbal, textual, visual responses to or involvement with wars, coups, and revolts; terrorism; state violence; and civil disobedience ranging from anti-war and civil rights protests to squatting. For instance, what are the legacies of failed protests such as the East German uprising in 1953, the West German mass protest against rearmament in 1955 or the introduction of the Hartz IV reforms in 2005? Was the effectiveness of the Solidarność August strikes in 1980 or the poll tax riots in Great Britain in 1990 seen as a model of civil disobedience that could bring about change? What is the political significance of works such as Günter Wallraff’s “Ganz unten” (“The Lowest of the Low”) published in 1985? Can writing constitute an act of resistance (a question with particular relevance to scholars)?

  • FORMAT: This workshop seeks participants from a broad array of disciplines whose work intersects with German Studies, including fields such as Anthropology, Art History, Film Studies, Gender Studies, History, Philosophy, Political Science, and Sociology. The event serves as a forum for Berlin Program fellows and alumni, but invites participation of all other doctoral students, postdoctoral scholars, as well as non-tenured and tenured professors.
  • APPLICATION, DEADLINE, NOTIFICATION: Submit a 250-word abstract and a short, two-page curriculum vitae (including position, department and institution; Ph.D. candidates: please include the date of your ABD) in one pdf via email by February 15, 2015 to: bprogram@zedat.fu-berlin.de. Accepted presenters will be notified in mid-March 2015.
  • REQUIREMENTS: Presenters are required to submit a 25-page paper (MLA style) or an existing publication of similar length (i.e., chapter, article, etc.) and a one-page bio for circulation to workshop participants by May 31, 2015. All workshop participants are asked to read these submissions prior to the workshop. A selection of two or three optional background readings will also be circulated. Presenters who do not meet the submission deadline will not be able to present their work.
  • SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND READINGS: Presenters will be invited to suggest one text (max. 25 pages) for the optional background reading list.
  • WORKSHOP LANGUAGE: English.
  • WORKSHOP VENUE is the Freie Universität Berlin
    Seminarzentrum, Room L 115 (ground floor), Otto-von-Simson-Str. 26, 14195 Berlin.
  • FEES: Participation in the workshop is free of charge.
  • TRAVEL & ACCOMMODATION: Participants are responsible for organizing and paying for their travel and accommodation. We encourage participants to seek funding from their home institutions or alternative sources to cover those costs. Detailed information on logistical matters (hotels, public transport etc.) will be provided to participants with their acceptance notification.
  • COFFEE BREAKS & LUNCH will be provided.

PROGRAM COMMITTEE
Dr. April Eisman | Iowa State University
Karin Goihl | Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin Program
Dr. Thomas Haakenson | California College of the Arts
Dr. Jenny Wüstenberg | Freie Universität Berlin / EBS University Wiesbaden

 

2015 Conference: Site Now Open for Submissions

The GSA website is open for submissions for the 39th annual conference, which will take place in Washington, D.C., from 1-4 October 2015. For general conference information, visit the conference home page. There you will see a series of links, including our call for papers, conference submission guidelines, GSA Exchange information, 2015's approved seminars, and a link that will allow you to begin the submission process. Non-North American members may wish to inform themselves about the GSA travel fund, described at https://www.thegsa.org/prizes/travel_grants.html.

Please note three major points:

  • You must have paid your 2015 dues before you can submit a proposal.
  • The GSA only accepts online submissions. We do not accept paper submissions.
  • Please note that the deadline for submitting enrollment applications for the seminars is 30 January 2015.

The deadline for submitting all other proposals (individual papers, complete sessions, or roundtables) is 16 February 2015. Seminar applicants will be informed of the results of their applications by 6 February. The Program Committee will review all other proposals after 16 February. The complete, tentative program should be online by late April or early May 2015.

Technical questions about conference submissions should be directed to Ms. Elizabeth Fulton at the GSA Help Desk. Membership questions should be directed to Ms. Kathy Young at the Johns Hopkins University Press. The 2015 Program Director is Professor Margaret Menninger.

We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible in Washington, D.C.

2015 Seminars Now Open for Applications

The 39th GSA Conference in Washington, D.C. (October 1-4, 2015) will again host a series of seminars in addition to its regular conference sessions and roundtables.

Seminars meet for all three days of the conference during the first morning slot to foster extended discussion, rigorous intellectual exchange, and intensified networking. They are led by 2 to 4 conveners and will consist of either 12 to 15 or 16 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 expected to participate in all three installments of the seminar.

The following seminars have been selected and approved for enrollment at the 2015 GSA Conference:

1. The Berlin School and Its Global Contexts
2. (Re)tracing Cosmopolitanism: Weltliteratur, Weltbürgertum, Weltgesellschaft in Modern Germanophone Cultures, ca. 1800 to the Global Present
3. Making Democratic Subjectivities
4. East German Cinema and TV in a Global Context: Before and after 1990
5. Imagining Europe: Assessing the “Eastern Turn” in Literature
6. The Epic Side of Truth: Narration and Knowledge-Formation (Sponsored by the DAAD)
7. Experience and Cultural Practice: Rewriting the Everyday History of Post-War Germany
8. Figurations of the Fantastic Since 1989
9. GDR Historiography: What’s Next?
10. German Risks: Managing Safety and Disaster in Twentieth-Century Europe
11. German Unification as a Catalyst for Change: Linking Political Transformation at the Domestic and International Level
12. Science, Nature, and Art: From the Age of Goethe to the Present
13. Human Rights, Genocide, and Germans’ Moral Campaigns in the World
14. Integrating Language, Culture, and Content Learning across the Undergraduate German Curriculum
15. Jews and the Study of Popular Culture
16. Towards a Literary Epistemology of Medicine
17. 1781-1806: Twenty-Five Years of Literature and Philosophy
18. Material Ecocriticism and German Culture
19. Between Isolation and Globalization: The Project of a Modern Switzerland
20. The Rise and Fall of Monolingualism
21. New Feminist and Queer Approaches to German Studies
22. Political Activism in the Black European Diaspora: From Theory to Praxis
23. Revisiting the Case of Nathan: Religion and Religious Identity in Nineteenth-Century German Europe (1800-1914)
24. Religion in Germany during an Era of Extreme Violence: The Churches, Religious Communities, and Popular Piety, 1900-1960
25. Travel and Geopolitics
26. German Travel Writing From the Eighteenth to the Twenty-First Century
27. Visual Culture Network: The Body

If you wish to participate in a seminar, enroll electronically on the Conference Proposals page.

Participation in a seminar involves intellectual work akin to preparing a paper and will thus count as such. All seminar participants will be listed by name in the program. If you are accepted to be an active participant in a seminar, you are not allowed to give a paper in panel sessions. However, you may moderate or comment on a panel.

Some individuals may choose to be a silent auditor to a seminar. Slots for auditors are limited; the enrollment process for interested auditors will only take place after the entire GSA program is set.

Applications for enrollment are due by January 30, 2015. We will inform applicants by February 5, 2015, whether they have been accepted or not. Please do not send your applications directly to the seminar organizers.

Please direct all inquiries to the GSA Seminar Program Committee:

Call for Papers: German Studies Association Thirty-Ninth Annual Conference

The German Studies Association (GSA) will hold its Thirty-Ninth Annual Conference in Washington, DC, October 1-4, 2015.

The Program Committee cordially invites proposals on any aspect of German, Austrian, or Swiss studies, including (but not limited to) history, Germanistik, film, art history, political science, anthropology, musicology, religious studies, sociology, and cultural studies. Proposals for entire sessions and for interdisciplinary presentations are strongly encouraged. Individual paper proposals and offers to serve as session moderators or commentators are also welcome.

The call for seminar topics went out in mid-October. That deadline is December 10. Applications for participation in seminars will be opened on January 6, 2015.

Learn about the submission process for “traditional” papers, sessions, and roundtables, which opens on January 5, 2014. All proposals must be submitted online; paper forms are not accepted. The deadline for proposals is February 16, 2015.

Please note that presenters must be members of the German Studies Association. Get more information on membership.

In order to avoid complications later, the Program Committee would like to reiterate two extremely important guidelines here:

  • No individual at the GSA Conference may give more than one paper or participate in more than two separate capacities.
  • All rooms will be equipped with projectors. It is the responsibility of the submitter of proposed panels to ensure payment of the AV fee for use of this equipment. If the paper proposal requires high quality sound equipment, that justification must be made in detail at the time of submission.

For more information, see previous conference programs or contact members of the 2015 Program Committee:

Seminars

Call For Seminar Proposals

In response to the success of the last two years’ seminar programs, the 39th GSA Conference in Washington, D. C. (October 1-4, 2015) will continue to host a series of seminars in addition to its regular conference sessions and roundtables.

Seminars are meant to meet for all three days of the conference during the first morning slot to explore new avenues of academic exchange and foster extended discussion, rigorous intellectual debate, and intensified networking. Seminars are typically proposed and led by two to three conveners and they consist of approximately 10 to 20 participants, including a representative number of graduate students.

Seminars may, for instance, enable extended discussions about an important recent academic publication; the exploration of a promising new research topic in a setting that is at once focused and interdisciplinary; the engagement with pre-circulated papers; the opportunity to meet and debate the work of two scholars with different approaches to a given subject; the coming together of groups of scholars seeking to develop an anthology and using the seminar as a platform to coordinate their research and writing; the in-depth discussion of a recent or not-so-recent political or public-policy issue, novel, film, poem, artwork, or musical piece in order to probe new perspectives and develop fresh readings and interpretations.

Seminar proposers should design topics that will suit the three-day structure of the conference and also submit a list of potential applicants which still provides enough room for other GSA members to participate. In order to reach the goal of extended discussion, seminar conveners and participants are expected to participate in all three installments of the seminar. Seminar conveners are held to monitor attendance and inform the program committee about no shows during the conference. Please note that seminar conveners and seminar applicants who have been accepted for seminar participation will not be allowed to submit a paper in a regular panel sessions. However, they may moderate or comment on other sessions independent of their enrollment in a seminar.

Please submit the following materials in one integrated Word document by December 10, 2014, in order to propose a seminar for the 2015 conference:

  1. A 500-word description of the intellectual goals of the seminar.
  2. A 500-word description of the proposed seminar’s structures and procedures of participation. Make sure to address:
    1. whether participants will be asked to write and read pre-circulated papers and, if so, of what length;
    2. whether you will assign additional readings;
    3. how you envision your communication with seminar participants in the months leading up to the conference;
    4. how you define the role of the conveners.
  3. A list of invited participants and their institutional affiliations.
  4. Mini-biographies of all conveners of no more than 250 words each.
  5. A statement about the desired size of the seminar (either 10 to 15 or 16 to 20)
  6. A statement about whether you might be willing to allow for silent auditors and if so for how many (either 1-5 or 6-10).

The GSA Seminar Program Committee will review seminar proposals after December 10, 2014, and it will post a list of approved seminars and their topics on the GSA website by early January 2015. Between January 5 and January 30, 2015, association members will be invited to submit their applications for participation in specific seminars directly to the GSA Seminar Program Committee. The GSA Seminar Program Committee will inform seminar conveners and applicants on February 5, 2015, about the final makeup of the seminars. (These deadlines have been chosen to allow time for those not accepted to submit a paper proposal to the general call for papers.)

The GSA Seminar Program Committee consists of

Elisabeth Herrmann (Stockholm University)
Katja Garloff (Reed College)
Heikki Lempa (Moravian College)

Please direct all inquiries and proposals to all three committee members.

2015 GSA Prize Competitions

In 2015, the GSA will again make a number of awards. We hope that as many members as possible will make nominations and submissions. For the membership of the various prize committees for 2015, please see the committee appointments listed below.

In 2015, the DAAD/GSA Book Prize will be awarded for the best book in history or social sciences that has been published in 2013 or 2014. Inquiries, nominations, and submissions should be sent to the committee chair, Professor Will Gray (Purdue University), by 20 February 2015. The other members of the committee are Professors Jonathan Strom (Emory University) and Helga Welsh (Wake Forest University).

The DAAD Article Prize will be awarded for the best article in Germanistik or culture studies that appeared in the German Studies Review in 2013 or 2014. Inquiries, nominations, and submissions should be sent to the committee chair, Professor Peter McIsaac (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor), by 20 February 2015. The other members of the committee are Professors Priscilla Dionne Layne-Kopf (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and Andrew Piper (McGill University)

The Sybil Halpern Milton Book Prize is awarded every other year, and will again be awarded in 2015 for the best book in Holocaust Studies published in 2013 and 2014. Submissions should be sent to the committee chair, Professor Bradley Prager (University of Missouri, Columbia), by 20 February 2015. The other members of the committee are Professors Abigail Gilman (Boston University) and Dagmar Herzog (CUNY Graduate Center).

The prize for the Best Essay in German Studies by a Graduate Student will again be awarded in 2015. The deadline for nominations and submissions is 15 March 2015. Papers should be 6,000-9,000 words in length. The winner will be published in the German Studies Review. Nominations and submissions should be sent to the committee chair, Professor Claudia Breger (Indiana University). The other members of the committee are Professors Anjeana Hans (Wellesley College) and Thomas Pegelow Kaplan (Davidson College).

Report from Kansas City: The 39th Annual Conference of the GSA

The GSA Conference in Kansas City (September 18-21, 2014) was both intellectually stimulating and a great success. Over 1,300 German Studies scholars and advanced students participated in this year’s annual conference, held in Kansas City, just down the street from the National World War I Museum, an appropriate location on the centennial of that conflict’s outbreak. There were 326 sessions, panels, roundtables, and seminars held in the rooms of the Westin Kansas City Crown Center.

The conference opened with an especially thought-provoking plenary lecture on Thursday evening by historian Christopher Clark, author of the widely heralded study The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914. And a number of panels and sessions focused on World War I, such as those on “Austria-Hungary 1914-1918,” “Beyond the Schlieffen Plan,” “Visualizing the Great War,” and “Archive und der Erste Weltkrieg.” But since 2014 also marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, that more recent historic event was also well represented. One of the luncheon presentations was given by (then) Mayor of Berlin, Walter Momper, who held the crowd spellbound as he recalled the little known, behind-the-scenes communications between leading politicians in the East and West about an imminent lifting of restrictions on travel for GDR citizens, and the harried preparations in West Berlin for what they anticipated would be a veritable deluge of people.

Several conference sessions focused on various aspects of that 1989 event and its aftermath: for example, “Reflections of the Fall of the Wall on German Literature,” another on “German Studies after the “Wende”: What Changed after 1989?,”and yet another on “The Future of GDR Studies.” But beyond these two “anniversaries” that provided focal points for major portions of the conference, the usual extensive range of topics, issues, and problems in various panels, roundtables, and seminars prevailed as always. Not only were there many interdisciplinary sessions and discussions, but also numerous “disciplinary” ones, reflecting the broad range of our membership: historians and literature scholars, political scientists and legal experts, cultural studies and film studies practitioners, medievalists and global studies students.

2014 was also the second year in which the conference included a series of three-session seminars which provided participants the opportunity to more deeply engage with colleagues in exploring a particular topic than is ordinarily available in just one session. Among the seminar topics this year were one on “Art, War, and Trauma,” another on “Berlin in the Cold War – The Cold War in Berlin,” yet another on “The Future of Teaching the Holocaust in German Studies, History, and Comparative Literature in the U.S.,” and still another on “Rethinking Migration and German Culture.” The breadth of topics was extensive, and the interest in participating in the seminars by conference attendees was equally large.

Finally, two more special events at the conference should also be noted. This year’s Presidential Address, given by Professor Suzanne Marchand, outgoing GSA President, on “The Great War and the Classical World,” was regarded by the several hundred who attended the banquet as a genuine tour de force of interdisciplinary scholarship. And the reading by the German-speaking writer from the South Tyrol, Maxi Obexer, who splits her time between there and Berlin, was a genuine literary treat for those who heard her, the reading co-sponsored by the Austrian Cultural Forum and the German Academic Exchange Service.

As always, as in this case, many of the “partners” of the GSA were present in full force with their major contributions to the conference: the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) also held its pre-conference, day-long workshop for all North American DAAD visiting faculty members and sponsored or co-sponsored other sessions and events; the Austrian Cultural Forum New York was also actively present, with its annual reception, its own sponsorship of several sessions, and its generous funding of a number of travel grants for “Austrianists” in attendance; the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG), the German Historical Institute (GHI), the Goethe Institute NY, the Friends of the Literaturarchiv Marbach, the Friends of the Dokumentationsstelle der österreichischen Widerstandsbewegung (Vienna); and a large number of book publishers with their popular exhibits were also major contributors to the excitement and success of this year’s GSA conference. If your weren’t in Kansas City for the conference, you missed something!

And now the attention of the GSA officers, Board members, and several committees is already beginning to focus on our next annual conference which will take place in Washington, D.C., from October 1-4, 2015. The host hotel will be the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, where we have met on several previous occasions. So, mark your calendars and plan to participate with your many GSA colleagues who will be there. Instructions on seminar and conference submissions will be circulated soon!

GSA Announces 2014 Prizes

The German Studies Association is pleased to announce the winners of this year’s prize competitions. Marco Abel (University of Nebraska–Lincoln) is the winner of the DAAD/GSA Book Prize for the best book published in Germanistik/culture studies in 2012 and 2013. Kira Thurman (University of Akron) is the winner of the DAAD/GSA Article Prize for the best article in history or social sciences published in the German Studies Review in 2012 and 2013. Amanda Randall is the winner of the Graduate Student Essay Prize for the best essay submitted in 2014. Her article will be published in the German Studies Review.

Heartiest congratulations to our three prize winners for their outstanding accomplishments! More details, including texts of the laudationes from the respective prize committees, are available at the Grants & Prizes page.

Welcome to Kansas City!

Welcome to Kansas City for the 38th annual conference of the GSA! We hope that you will find your stay here to be both intellectually and personally rewarding. I’d just like to mention a few highlights here, in addition to those described in the first part of the printed conference program. More information will also be provided in the welcome packet that you’ll receive at the conference registration desk in the Westin.

TRANSPORTATION: Let’s begin with transport to the conference hotel, the Westin Kansas City at Crown Center (1 East Pershing Road, Kansas City, MO 64108), and our overflow hotel, the Sheraton, located very close to it. Most of you will be arriving by plane, and we’ve arranged a discounted shuttle rate to the hotels. The GSA has made arrangements with Super Shuttle for reduced round-trip tickets from the airport to the hotel and back. Reservations can be placed by calling 1-800-BLUE VAN (258-3826) and providing the code 8T9US. Reservations can be made online. Three Super Shuttle kiosks are located in each terminal at Kansas City International Airport. They are staffed by Customer Service Representatives at each pick-up location.

The Westin and the Sheraton are located in the southern part of downtown Kansas City, close to Union Station and the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial. An enclosed shopping mall is located between the two hotels. Members who wish to travel to other locations in the downtown area may use the city’s MAX bus service on Main Street, which runs next to the Westin. Information is available online and in the welcome letter you’ll receive at conference registration.

SPECIAL EXHIBITION: In addition to the National World War I Museum and other museums and galleries described in the conference program, we’d like to call your attention to a special exhibition at the Kansas City branch of the National Archives and Records Administration, located at 400 West Pershing Road, only several blocks from the Westin. Titled “State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda,” the exhibition is presented by the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education and is produced by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. Details can be found at http://mchekc.org/. The exhibition is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

RECEPTIONS AND CASH BARS: As you know, the GSA features a number of receptions and cash bars. Here is a list as of 8 September:

THURSDAY, 18 SEPTEMBER

  • DAAD, Century A, 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

FRIDAY, 19 SEPTEMBER

  • Berghahn Books, Century ABC Foyer, 5:30 - 6:00 p.m.
  • GSA No-Host Cash Bar, Century ABC Foyer, 6:30 - 7:30 p.m.
  • American Friends of Marbach, Roanoke Foyer, 9:00 p.m. or AFTER the banquet!

SATURDAY, 20 SEPTEMBER

  • DEFA and De Gruyter, Century ABC Foyer, 5:00 - 6:00 p.m.
  • GSA Interdisciplinary Networks Reception, Benton’s (top floor of hotel), 6:30 - 7:30 p.m.
  • DEFA Film Library and Department of German and Scandinavian Studies, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, reception at National World War I Museum, 6:45 - 8:15 p.m.
  • Austrian Cultural Forum New York, Washington Park 1, 8:00 - 9:30 p.m.

For additional information, please refer to the conference program and to the welcome letter that you’ll receive at the conference registration desk!

I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible in Kansas City.

Purchase Meal Tickets Online

This is just a final, gentle reminder of the luncheons and banquet that will take place at this year's GSA conference. On Friday at 12:30 p.m., Walter Momper, former mayor of Berlin, will speak on "Der 9. November 1989." On Friday evening at 7:30 p.m., Professor Suzanne Marchand, President of the GSA, will present her Presidential Address on "The Great War and the Classical World." On Saturday at 12:30 p.m., Maxi Obexer will speak on "Unter Tieren: A reading from a Novel in Progress and Other Works."

For organizational reasons, IT WILL BE NECESSARY TO PURCHASE TICKETS ONLINE BEFORE THE CONFERENCE. If you are planning to attend any of the meals, please do purchase them online ASAP.

Please direct any questions to Elizabeth Fulton at our Help Desk: helpdesk@thegsa.org.

GSA Election Results Announced

The German Studies Association is pleased to announce the results of the recent elections to the Vice Presidency and the Board. The Vice President will serve for two years in that office (2015-16), after which she will automatically serve as President for the following two years. The newly elected Board members will serve for three years (2015-17).

Our Vice President-elect is Professor Mary Lindemann (History, University of Miami). The newly elected Board members are:

German Literature and Culture: Professor Jennifer Kapczynski (Washington University in St. Louis)

History and Social Sciences: Professor H. Glenn Penny (University of Iowa)

History and Social Sciences: Professor Jared Poley (Georgia State University)

In addition, the members approved a bylaws change that establishes the Fundraising Committee as a standing committee of the Association.

Our deep appreciation and gratitude go out to all those who agreed to serve as candidates in these elections. Without each of you, the German Studies Association simply could not function! We are very much in your debt!

Berlin Program GSA Distinguished Lecture 2014

June 2, 2014

Orientalism and the Classical Tradition in Germany

Suzanne Marchand, President, German Studies Association; Boyd Professor of History, Louisiana State University

It was a particular pleasure this year to have Suzanne Marchand, President of the German Studies Association and Boyd Professor of History at LSU, deliver the annual Berlin Program Distinguished Lecture. Her visit to Berlin underscores the transatlantic cooperation between the GSA and the Freie Universität that the Berlin Program is founded on, and is also felicitous given the seminal role that research groups at the FU have played in her field of intellectual history or Wissenschaftsgeschichte.

In her talk, Professor Marchand described the formation of Orientalistik in the German-speaking world and its close relationship with the ever-popular study of ancient Greece. Critical of disciplinary histories that cull off one field and focus only on its internal debates, Marchand emphasized the importance of seeing Oriental philology in relation to larger cultural movements and the histories of other academic areas. As she puts it, Orientalism, like Classical Studies, was the child of Christian humanism, but one that was left behind when Classicism became secular around 1790. Her argument centered on two flowerings of the discipline that book-ended the 19th century, both of which were characterized by Orientalist philology not becoming disconnected from religious considerations as Classicism had. The field owed much to the proficiency in text-critical scholarship brought about by Enlightenment philhellenism, but challenged the same by asking the unpopular question of just how much ancient Greece was indebted to the East.

Despite the decipherment of hieroglyphics and cuneiform, and Friedrich Schlegel's 1808 promise that Sanskrit contained the origins of “everything, everything...without exception,” interest in Orientalism remained lukewarm through the mid-19th century and those few intrepid scholars who devoted their lives to it had difficulty finding academic posts and thus a sustainable living, and were viewed as eccentrics. To be an Orientalist meant choosing otherness, turning away from Greece and Europe. In order to avoid a variety of pitfalls that accompanied this step, including challenges aligning Eastern pre-history with Western and particularly biblical chronologies, the separation of myth from historical “hard fact,” and to shield themselves from theologians' attacks, Orientalists of this period tended to stick to (dead) language study. Here they had plenty of work to do, as Marchand characterized even the narrow focus on grammatical issues meant cutting a path through a dense thicket of linguistic confusion, stopping at every step to reinvent the axe.

Then, in the age of high positivism suspicious of Greek sources and the humanist philologists who had established them, and with the beginning of state-funded archaeology after 1871, there was a resurgence of interest in the East. This continued to gain steam toward the end of the century when, in the Wilhelminian crisis of faith there was a collective search for a new spirituality as well as a predilection for essentialized concepts such as “Chinese wisdom” or “Persian purity.” Publishers scrambled to keep up with a large public appetite for works scholarly and otherwise, and growing anti-Semitism fueled the search for a pre-history untainted with Judaism as biblical scholarship was.

The 1890s brought new academic specializations, and the fascination with the origins of religions typified this Orientalist renaissance as it had a century before, the study of religious texts persisting into the 20th century among its most prominent scholars. Still, for a number of reasons also including racial prejudice, Orientalism never managed to supplant Graecophilia in Germany or even permanently make its way into the standard secondary curriculum.

In identifying significant disciplinary interrelationships involving Orientalistik and laying out the diverging foci, motives and accomplishments of a dazzling array of individual scholars at work in it, Marchand's talk achieved a historicization of the trope 'classics' as well as a transculturalization of German history. True to Professor Nolte's designation of her as a “splitter,” not a “lumper,” Marchand's talk diverged decisively from the persistent discourse on Orientalism following Edward Said's 1978 thesis that the study of the East was pursued under the sign of imperialism.

While it is true that the field benefited from the second wave of European conquests as they provided German scholars with increased ability to travel to remote locations and access to source material, the particularly German form of colonialism in this regard was not so much the conquest of modern-day territories as the possession of the ancient past, the oldest texts, the dead Orientalist languages--“je älter, desto interessanter.” As the speaker emphasized here and in the discussion, this was undertaken for a wide variety of reasons apart from colonialist aims, and by researchers who likely identified primarily as “Christian,” “Jewish,” “woman,” etc., rather than the unified “European” as Said's thesis assumes. Many pursued issues mainly relevant within their academic fields or a neighboring one, for instance the “improvement” of the bible; others may have initially had imperialist interests but changed their views after extended contact with other cultures. The presentation came to a close with the 1931 quote by Carl Heinrich Becker, who clearly sought contact with, not conquest of, the East:

“We console ourselves, for the most part...with the superiority of our cultivation which we consider to be qualitatively 'higher.' One reveres the uniqueness of the Greek Geist, but with closer contact with this Asian world one cannot help raising the suspicion that our feelings of superiority are built on the quicksand of ignorance.”

Despite Marchand's joking characterization of herself as “a historian of men in grey suits” the subject was clearly met with great interest, as the talk and reception were attended by a broad crosssection of the FU community.

Report written by Tove Holmes, June 2014

Tove Holmes (Ph.D. in German Studies, Johns Hopkins University) teaches in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at McGill and is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies. Her areas of expertise include German-language literature, culture and thought from the 18th century to the present with an emphasis on the late 18th and 19th centuries, perception, intermediality and visual studies, science and intellectual history, as well as cultural, literary, and epistemological approaches to nature and environment. At the Freie Universität Berlin, she is working on a study on Literary Environments.

Register for the Conference and Reserve Your Hotel Room

Registration for the thirty-eighth annual conference of the German Studies Association is now open. Once registration has been completed, you will receive an e-mail with a link to the conference hotel reservation page for the Westin Kansas City at Crown Center. Please do NOT lose this link. You can ONLY reserve a room at the conference rate by using this special link. To reserve at the conference rate, please do NOT telephone the hotel or the GSA office, or use one of the Internet booking services. Please be aware of the refund policy on conference registrations.

This will be our first meeting ever in Kansas City, and our first in the state of Missouri in over a quarter of a century. Renowned for barbecue, steak, jazz, Harry S Truman, Hallmark Cards, the country's first modern shopping center, and much else, Kansas City is a thriving, dynamic city with a vibrant cultural and artistic life.

Again, we are looking forward to an exceptional series of luncheon and banquet speakers this year, as well as a special Thursday evening event; we hope that as many of you as possible can attend these important events. Each luncheon will cost $31, and the banquet costs $43. The Thursday-evening event will be free of charge.

The speakers are:

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 18

SPECIAL EVENT (8:00 P.M.)

As part of our commemoration of the centennial of the First World War, the GSA is delighted to sponsor a special lecture, open to all conference attendees, by Professor Christopher Clark of Cambridge University. The subject of Professor Clark’s address is “How Europe Went to War in 1914.” A native of Australia, Professor Clark studied at the University of Sydney before continuing to Cambridge, where he received his doctorate and has taught ever since. One of the world’s most distinguished historians, Professor Clark is a Fellow of St. Catharine’s College. In October of this year he will become Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge. He is the author of many books and articles, among them Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia 1600-1947 (2006) and The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 (2013). The latter volume, hailed by the New York Times as a “masterpiece,” has received the Prix d’aujourd’hui in France and has been on the top of the nonfiction bestseller list in Germany.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 19

LUNCHEON

As we approach the twenty-fifth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, we are pleased to welcome Walter Momper as our Friday luncheon speaker. As most of us remember, Walter Momper was Governing Mayor of (West) Berlin at the time of the events of November 1989, and in 1990 the first Governing Mayor of reunified Berlin; appropriately, the title of his address is “Der 9. November 1989.” He is famous for his remark on November 10: "Wir Deutschen sind jetzt das glücklichste Volk auf der Welt!" As a trained historian at the Free University of Berlin and former executive director of the Historische Kommission zu Berlin, Walter Momper is especially well placed to put the events of November 1989, with which he was so centrally involved, into historical perspective. Momper also served as chair of the Social Democratic fraction in the Berlin Abgeordnetenhaus and as President of that body from 2001 until 2011.

BANQUET

The 2014 Presidential Address will be the highlight of this year’s annual banquet. Professor Suzanne Marchand, Professor of History at Louisiana State University and President of the GSA in 2013 and 2014, will speak on “The Great War and the Ancient World.” Professor Marchand received her B.A. degree from the University of California at Berkeley and her M.A. and PhD from the University of Chicago. She has taught at Princeton University and at LSU. Among her many books and articles are Down from Olympus: Archaeology and Philhellenism in Germany, 1750-1970 (1996) and German Orientalism in the Age of Empire: Race, Religion, and Scholarship (2009), as well as the co-authored textbook Many Europes. She is on the editorial boards of Modern Intellectual History, German History, and the Journal of Art Historiography. She is also the recipient of many grants and awards.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 20

LUNCHEON

Dramatist and novelist Maxi Obexer will read from her works in progress. Obexer was born in the German-speaking area of South Tirol in Italy. She studied Comparative Literature, Philosophy, and Theater Studies in Vienna and Berlin. Her stage and radio plays have received numerous prizes, and she has been awarded writing fellowships, including from the Literarisches Colloquium, Berlin, the Akademie der Künste, and the Akademie Schloss Solitude. Obexer has been the Max Kade Professor at Dartmouth College and guest professor at the Universität der Künste in Berlin. Among her best known works are Die Liebenden, Das Geisterschiff, and Gletscher. Her first novel, Wenn gefährliche Hunde lachen (2011) received wide praise, including in a review in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Her most recent work is the “Kampfoperette” Planet der Frauen, which was commissioned by the Theater Freiburg and was produced jointly with musician Bernadete LaHengst. Obexer also enjoys working with visual artists; she and Ingrid Hora have created numerous installations and works of performance art, such as the recent “Neue Heimat.” Obexer has long been interested in the theory, praxis, and pedagogy of dramatic arts and is in the process of founding the Neue Institut für Dramatisches Schreiben, a pedagogical and political project that will be the first of its kind in the German-speaking world. She is also currently working on a second novel, from which we hope she will read.

Conference Registration Refund Policy Explained

Any registrations for the 2014 conference cancelled between July 1 and September 11 will be refunded, but will incur a $25 cancellation fee. No refunds are available for cancellations after September 11. For more information, contact helpdesk@thegsa.org.

Learn More About the Conference Hotel and Kansas City Attractions

The Thirty-Eighth Annual Conference of the German Studies Association will take place from September 18 to September 21, 2014, at the Westin Kansas City at Crown Center, 1 East Pershing Road, Kansas City, Missouri 64108. For those members from overseas who may be visiting the area for the first time, Kansas City is located on the state line between Missouri and Kansas. We are meeting on the Missouri side.

The Westin is located in downtown Kansas City, and is immediately adjacent to Hallmark’s 85-acre Crown Center, a complex of stores, shops, and restaurants. (Kansas City is the headquarters of Hallmark Cards.) It is also adjacent to the beautifully restored Union Station, which this year is commemorating its own centennial.

And, as we all know, this year witnesses the centennial as well of the First World War, and thus it is especially appropriate that the German Studies Association is meeting in Kansas City. The Liberty Memorial, dedicated in 1926, is on a hill close to the hotel, and on the Memorial’s grounds is the National World War I Museum, with which the German Studies Association has been cooperating in preparing for this year’s conference. The museum is the country’s official museum of the First World War, and houses one of the largest collections of its kind in the world. GSA members will receive specially reduced ticket prices to visit the museum, which we encourage our members to do.

The Kansas City region is full of other interesting tourist destinations as well. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art houses one of the most diverse collections in the country. For jazz lovers, Kansas City is truly special. The home of such great musicians as Count Basie and Charlie Parker, it now hosts the American Jazz Museum. Close to the latter in the famous 18th and Vine Historic District are the superb collections of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, honoring the rich legacy of African-American baseball players before and immediately after Jackie Robinson and the desegregation of the sport in 1947.

For students of architectural history, Kansas City is also the home of Country Club Plaza. Notable for its Spanish-influenced architecture, the Plaza opened in 1922 as the country’s first shopping center designed for automobiles, and it still houses a large array of shops and restaurants. This brings up the subject of Kansas City’s culinary traditions. The city is justly renowned for its steaks and barbecue, and excellent dining possibilities abound.

Finally, not to be overlooked in nearby Independence, Missouri, is the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library, which is full of materials of interest to scholars investigating the early Cold War and the German-speaking world after 1945. President Truman’s home in Independence – the Harry S. Truman National Historic Site – is also open to the public.

Austrian Prize for Innovative Research – Call for Papers

In collaboration with the German Studies Association, the Austrian Cultural Forum New York and the Austrian Cultural Forum Washington D.C. will, for the first time, jointly award the newly established Austrian Prize for the Most Innovative Research Paper in Austrian Studies.

The prize of $1,500.00 will be granted to the most innovative research paper dedicated to Austrian Studies and presented at the GSA’s 2014 Annual Conference. This year’s thematic focus will be the World War I centennial and the 2014 year of commemoration (Gedenkjahr).

Research papers should make reference to any of the historic key dates in Austrian contemporary history (e.g., 1914, 1934, 1938, 1939, 1955, 1989).

Papers shall be submitted to the GSA (to the e-mail address below) no later than 1 July 2014. An independent jury from the GSA, in cooperation with the ACFNY/ACFDC, will select that paper which demonstrates the most innovative academic research from all disciplines.

Applicants should not be older than 35 years and must not have received a travel grant or any other stipend from Austrian cultural institutions in the US within the past five years.

A formal award ceremony will take place at the GSA’s annual banquet to be held in Kansas City on 19 September 2014.

Applications should be sent to director@thegsa.org and copied to innovation2014@acfny.org

Austrian Cultural Forum New York: Young Scholars Travel Grants

The Austrian Cultural Forum New York (ACFNY) and the German Studies Association (GSA) are happy to announce that there will be limited funds available to support selected young Austrian Studies scholars who will participate in this year’s conference of the German Studies Association in Kansas City from 18-21 September.

Only applications from scholars working in Contemporary Austrian Studies (since 1945) will be considered. Applicants must not be older than 35 years and must not have received any travel grant from the ACFNY in the past.

The funds are intended for Austrian Studies scholars who are either completing an appropriate advanced degree or who have completed that degree within the past three years. Austrian Studies scholars from North America (Canada, Mexico, and the United States) as well as from outside North America are eligible to apply for these funds.

Depending on the number of accepted applications and budgetary circumstances, the travel grant comprises $500 (for scholars from North America) and $1,000 (for scholars from outside North America) to offset travel costs.

Travel grants are for one person only and cannot be split among several applicants. Applications must be submitted to the Austrian Cultural Forum New York/ACFNY (desk@acfny.org), no later than 15 June 2014. Applications should send an abstract of the paper which they submitted to the GSA and a curriculum vitae. Only successful applicants will be informed by 1 July 2014.

Grants will be awarded in person at the German Studies Association (GSA) Annual Conference in Kansas City.

GHI Conference Travel Grants for GSA Participants

The German Historical Institute (GHI) in Washington, D.C., is delighted to announce eight travel grants for young scholars (four from European and four from American institutions) in the field of German Studies for the 2014 German Studies Association (GSA) conference. Preference will be given to fellows whose projects fit into the GHI's research foci. We especially invite applications from doctoral students and postdoctoral scholars who will not receive funding from their home institutions.

The travel grant aims to improve the professional opportunities for outstanding, internationally orientated humanities scholars by enabling them to participate in the 2014 GSA conference in Kansas City, MO. Recipients will have to present their work at the 2014 GSA convention.

Successful applicants from European universities will receive a travel grant of 1,700.00 Euro. Successful applicants from US institutions will receive a travel grant of 1,200.00 USD.

The travel grant is open to all highly qualified, internationally orientated European and American scholars (must possess at least an M.A. degree or equivalent state examination). Successful paper contributions must have been accepted by the GSA review committee. Applicants should have already completed some research towards the project and Ph.D. holders must have finished their degree no more than five years previously to the 2013 GSA conference.

Please include the following in your application:

  • Cover letter
  • Abstract (max. 2 pages or 1,000 words) of the planned research project and/or the proposed paper to be presented at the GSA conference
  • Copies of certificates (state exam, M.A., Ph.D., etc.)
  • List of publications

The deadline for application is June 15, 2014. Please contact the GHI with any questions regarding the travel grant and send your applications as a single PDF file via e-mail.

GSA Exchange Now Open for Conference Planning

The German Studies Association is pleased to announce a pilot program for the 2014 Conference: The GSA Exchange. The Exchange is an online forum for prospective participants to discuss the creation of sessions. It is specifically targeted at participants who have a paper proposal but are not already part of a formal panel or session. We hope that the Exchange will make it easier for scholars with similar interests to find their “family” before the deadline for submissions to the 2014 conference (February 17).

The Exchange and its forums can be accessed at http://germanstudiesassociation.org/exchange/. Before accessing it, you will need to register an account. It is not possible at this time to link your Exchange account with your regular GSA online profile, but please register with the same e-mail address you use there. This will help speed up our verification process; we do want to limit access to the Exchange to those interested in participating in the GSA Annual Conference. If you are not currently a member of the GSA, please sign up at the main GSA website. Please bear in mind that only paid members of the GSA may submit proposals for the GSA conference.

Once you have registered an Exchange moderator will confirm your GSA membership. This may take up to a day to complete – we apologize for this necessary delay.

Please direct any technical questions to Charles Fulton.

GSA Seminars Now Open for Enrollment

The 38th GSA Conference in Kansas City (September 18-21, 2014) will again host a series of seminars in addition to its regular conference sessions and roundtables.

Seminars meet for all three days of the conference during the first morning slot to foster extended discussion, rigorous intellectual exchange, and intensified networking. They are led by 2 to 4 conveners and will consist of either 12 to 15 or 16 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 expected to participate in all three installments of the seminar.

More information is available on the 2014 Conference page.

Call for Papers: Thirty-Eighth Annual Conference

The German Studies Association (GSA) will hold its Thirty-Eighth Annual Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, September 18-21, 2014.

The Program Committee cordially invites proposals on any aspect of German, Austrian, or Swiss studies, including (but not limited to) history, Germanistik, film, art history, political science, anthropology, musicology, religious studies, sociology, and cultural studies. Proposals for entire sessions and for interdisciplinary presentations are strongly encouraged. Individual paper proposals and offers to serve as session moderators or commentators are also welcome. Applications for seminar topics went out a few weeks ago; that deadline is December 15. Applications for participation in seminars will be opened on January 6.

Please see information about the submission process for "traditional" papers, sessions, and roundtables, which opens on January 5, 2014. ALL proposals must be submitted online; paper forms are not used. The deadline for proposals is February 17, 2014.

Please note that presenters must be members of the German Studies Association. Information on membership is available on the GSA website.

In order to avoid complications later, the Program Committee would like to reiterate two extremely important guidelines here:

  • No individual at the GSA Conference may give more than one paper or participate in more than two separate capacities.
  • It is the responsibility of the submitter of proposed panels to ensure that any AV requests are specific (i.e., requiring both audio and visual) and clearly justified.

For more information, conference programs are available online or contact members of the 2014 Program Committee:

  • Program Director: Margaret Eleanor Menninger, Texas State University
  • Before 1800 (all fields): Daniel Riches, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa
  • Nineteenth century (all fields): Anthony J. Steinhoff, Université de Quebec, Montreal,
  • Twentieth- and twenty-first-century history: Thomas Kohut, Williams College
  • Twentieth- and twenty-first-century history: Heather Perry, University of North Carolina, Charlotte
  • Twentieth- and twenty-first-century Germanistik/culture studies: Sara Hall, University of Illinois, Chicago
  • Twentieth- and twenty-first-century Germanistik/culture studies: Todd Heidt, Knox College
  • Political Science: Angelika von Wahl, Lafayette College
  • Interdisciplinary/Diachronic: Drew Bergerson, University of Missouri, Kansas City
  • Interdisciplinary/Diachronic: Maria Makela, California College of the Arts
  • Seminars: Lutz Koepnick (chair), Vanderbilt University, Elisabeth Herrmann, University of Alberta, Emre Sencer, Knox College

 

Executive Director Interviewed on Trojanow Visa Denial

On October 6, 2013, as the Denver conference of the German Studies Association was winding to a close, GSA Executive Director Professor David E. Barclay was interviewed on Deutschlandradio Kultur concerning the denial of a US entry visa to Ilija Trojanow. For reasons that have still not been revealed, Mr. Trojanow - who had been invited as a special guest to the GSA - was not allowed to enter the US on Monday September 30.

 

Call for Seminar Proposals

In response to the success of this year’s pilot program, the 38th conference of the German Studies Association in Kansas City (September 18-21, 2014) will again host a series of seminars in addition to its regular conference sessions and roundtables.

Seminars are meant to meet for all three days of the conference during the first morning slot to explore new avenues of academic exchange and foster extended discussion, rigorous intellectual debate, and intensified networking. Seminars are typically proposed and led by two to three conveners and they consist of either 12 to 15 or 16 to 20 participants, including a representative number of graduate students.

Seminars may, for instance, enable extended discussions about an important recent academic publication; the exploration of a promising new research topic in a setting that is at once focused and interdisciplinary; the engagement with pre-circulated papers; the opportunity to meet and debate the work of two scholars with different approaches to a given subject; the coming together of groups of scholars seeking to develop an anthology and using the seminar as a platform to coordinate their research and writing; the in-depth discussion of a recent or not-so-recent political or public-policy issue, novel, film, poem, artwork, or musical piece in order to probe new perspectives and develop fresh readings and interpretations.

Seminar proposers need not have a complete roster of potential seminar participants in mind when making a submission, but should design topics which will suit the three-day structure of the conference. In order to reach the goal of extended discussion, seminar conveners and participants are expected to participate in all three installments of the seminar. Seminar conveners are held to monitor attendance and inform the program committee about no shows during the conference. Seminar conveners and seminar participants will not be allowed to give a paper in a regular panel session. However, they may moderate or comment on other sessions independent of their enrollment in a seminar.

Please submit the following materials in one integrated PDF document by December 15, 2013, in order to propose a seminar for the 2014 conference:

  1. A 500-word description of the intellectual goals of the seminar.
  2. A 500-word description of the proposed seminar’s structures and procedures of participation. Make sure to address:
    1. whether participants will be asked to write and read pre-circulated papers and, if so, of what length;
    2. whether you will assign additional readings
    3. how you envision your communication with seminar participants in the months leading up to the conference;
    4. how you define the role of the conveners.
  3. A list of 5-10 ideal participants and their institutional affiliations.
  4. Mini-biographies of all conveners of no more than 250 words each.
  5. A statement about the desired size of the seminar (either 12 to 15 or 16 to 20)
  6. A statement about whether you might be willing to allow for silent auditors and if so for how many (either 1-5 or 6-10).

The GSA Seminar Program Committee will review seminar proposals after December 15, 2013, and it will post a list of approved seminars and their topics on the GSA website by early January 2014. Between January 6 and January 30, 2014, association members will be invited to submit their applications for participation in specific seminars directly to the GSA Seminar Program Committee. The GSA Seminar Program Committee will inform seminar conveners and applicants on February 6, 2014, about the final makeup of the seminars. (These deadlines have been chosen to allow time for those not accepted to submit a paper proposal to the general call for papers.)

The GSA Seminar Program Committee consists of:

Please direct all inquiries and proposals to all three members of the Committee.

The “traditional” Call for Papers – that is, for traditional sessions and roundtables -- will be circulated in late November.

Planning for the Next GSA Conference

The thirty-eighth annual conference of the GSA will take place September 18-21, 2014, at The Westin Kansas City at Crown Center, 1 East Pershing Road, Kansas City, MO 64108.

This will be our first meeting ever in Kansas City, and our first in the state of Missouri in over a quarter of a century. Renowned for barbecue, steak, jazz, Harry S Truman, Hallmark Cards, the country=s first modern shopping center, and much else besides, Kansas City is a thriving, dynamic city with a vibrant cultural and artistic life.

Our conference will take place close to the Liberty Memorial, dedicated in 1923 in the presence of General John J. Pershing and Marshal Ferdinand Foch. Adjacent to the Liberty Memorial is the extraordinary National World War I Museum, one of the largest collections of its kind in the world. We will be observing the centennial of the outbreak of the First World War in 2014, and we hope that our members will take advantage of the opportunity to visit the museum.

The Call for Seminar Proposals can be found on this website. In response to our overwhelmingly successful pilot program of seminars at the October 2013 conference in Denver, we have decided to continue a similar series in 2014. For details, see the Call for Seminar Proposals below. Please note that the deadline for submission of seminar topics is December 15, 2013. They must be submitted as .pdf documents to the members of the Seminar Program Committee. Applications for participation in seminars will open on January 6, 2014. Again, see below for details.

The "traditional" Call for Papers also can be found on this website. Please note that the deadline for submitting "traditional" paper, session, or roundtable proposals he deadline for ALL submissions will be February 17, 2014.

Submissions for "traditional" papers, sessions, or roundtables will be accepted online after January 5, 2014. (Again, please note the earlier deadline for seminar proposals.) Only online submissions will be accepted. Paper proposals or proposals submitted by e-mail will not be accepted. Although the GSA encourages all types of submissions, including individual papers, members and non-member participants are urged, where practicable, to submit complete session proposals, including the names of proposed moderators and commentators. The latter is extremely important if sessions are to be complete. The GSA also encourages the submission of thematic series that might include UP TO six related sessions, and it also vigorously supports interdisciplinary sessions, including sessions that are organized in conjunction with our interdisciplinary Networks.

Although the Program Committee will certainly not reject four-paper session proposals, submitters are reminded that four-paper sessions tend to inhibit commentary and discussion. On the whole, three-paper sessions are vastly preferable. Please note that, in a session with three papers, individual presenters should speak no more than twenty minutes. In four-paper sessions, it is expected that individual presenters will speak for no more than fifteen minutes. In each case, the commentary should not exceed ten minutes in order to enable as much audience discussion as possible.

As in the past, all submissions of "traditional" papers, sessions, and roundtables will take place online at www.thegsa.org. Please do note that all presenters, including moderators, commentators, seminar participants, and roundtable participants, must be members of the German Studies Association at the time of submission. For information on membership, please visit our Member Services section.

2013 GSA Prize Winners Announced

The GSA is pleased to announce the results of the 2013 prize competitions. They include the GSA/DAAD book and article prizes, the Sybil Halpern Milton Book Prize, and the Graduate Student Prize.

  • The DAAD and the GSA are proud to announce that Professor David Ciarlo (University of Colorado, Boulder) is the winner of this year's DAAD Book Prize for the best book in history or social sciences published during the years 2011 and 2012 for Advertising Empire: Race and Visual Culture in Imperial Germany.
  • The DAAD and the GSA are proud to announce that Professor Ari Joskowicz (Vanderbilt University) is the winner of this year's DAAD Article Prize for the best article in Germanistik or cultural studies published in the German Studies Review during the years 2011 and 2012. His article, "Heinrich Heine's Transparent Masks: Denominational Politics and the Poetics of Emancipation in Nineteenth Century Germany and France," appeared in the GSR, volume 34, no. 1 (February 2011).
  • The GSA is pleased to announce that, for the first time, two books and three authors are sharing the 2013 Sybil Halpern Milton Prize, awarded every other year, and this year for the best book or books on the Holocaust published in 2011 or 2012. The co-winners of the 2013 Milton Prize are: Professor Laura Jockusch, for Collect and Record!: Jewish Holocaust Documentation in Early Postwar Europe (Oxford University Press, 2012); and Professors Jan Tomasz Gross and Irena Grudzinska Gross for Golden Harvest: Events at the Periphery of the Holocaust (Oxford University Press, 2012).
  • The GSA is proud to announce that the winner of this year's Graduate Student Paper Prize for the best paper in German Studies written in 2012-13 is awarded to Carl Gelderloos (Cornell University) for his paper "Simply Reproducing Reality B Brecht, Benjamin, and Renger Patzsch on Photography."

2014 Prize Competitions

In 2014 the GSA will again make a number of awards. We hope that as many members as possible will make nominations and submissions.

  • In 2013 the DAAD/GSA Book Prize will be awarded for the best book in Germanistik or culture studies that has been published in 2012 or 2013. The members of the selection committee will be announced soon in an e-mail to the members. Inquiries, nominations, and submissions should be sent to the committee members by 20 February 2014.
  • The DAAD Article Prize will be awarded for the best article in history or social sciences that appeared in the German Studies Review in 2012 or 2013. The members of the selection committee will be announced soon in an e-mail to the members. Inquiries, nominations, and submissions should be sent to the committee members by 20 February 2014.
  • The prize for the Best Essay in German Studies by a Graduate Student will again be awarded in 2014. The deadline for nominations and submissions is 20 March 2014. Papers should be 6,000-9,000 words in length. The winner will be published in the German Studies Review. The members of the selection committee will soon be announced soon in an e-mail to the members. Nominations and submissions should be sent to the committee members.

Douglas H. Shantz on the movement that changed Protestantism

Arising in late 17th century Germany, Pietism indelibly altered the Protestant Reformation. Not only did it inspire John Wesley’s Methodist movement and Alexander Mack’s Brethren movement, its tenets lie at the core of modern-day Evangelicalism.

But as University of Calgary Professor Douglas H. Shantz relates in his latest book, An Introduction to German Pietism, the history, roots, and impact of this reaction to Lutheranism are much broader, more nuanced, and darker than is generally understood.

JHU Press Journals Public Relations and Advertising Coordinator Brian Shea caught up with Professor Shantz at the German Studies Association annual meeting in Denver earlier this month to find out more about why he wrote the book and what he hopes it will accomplish.

 

Visa Denied to Speaker

On Monday, Sept. 30, we received word that United States authorities have refused a visa to our Saturday luncheon speaker, Mr. Ilija Trojanow. According to the German press, he was in Brazil on Monday and was trying to board a plane to this country when he was informed that he could not enter the US. Mr. Trojanow and his colleagues in Germany, among them Juli Zeh, believe that his visa denial is directly related to his public opposition to the surveillance activities of the US National Security Agency (NSA) in Europe and elsewhere.

As soon as we know the details of what exactly happened, the German Studies Association will take appropriate and vigorous action in response to this situation. Certainly it will be discussed at our Board meeting on Thursday, and we'll proceed from there.

In the meantime, we have to formulate a practical response for those of you who have purchased lunch tickets for Saturday's luncheon, at which Mr. Trojanow was going to perform part of his most recent work.

In view of what has happened, we are organizing a panel of experts to lead a discussion, at the end of lunch, concerning the NSA's activities and their consequences for the German-American relationship, transnational scholarly activity, the work of scholarly associations like ours, and the like. We are trying to arrange a Skype feed so that Mr. Trojanow can join the discussion, though we are not yet sure if he will be able to. We'll also set up microphones in the ballroom so that audience members can participate in the lunchtime discussion.

We do hope that those of you who signed up for the luncheon will still attend, given the importance of the issues we will now be considering. Should you wish a refund, please bring your luncheon ticket to the CONFERENCE REGISTRATION DESK so that we can try to sell it to a member without a ticket. You can return the ticket at the time of registration, should you wish. We'll make a note of your name, and arrange for the Johns Hopkins University Press to credit your account. But, as stated, we do hope that as many of you as possible will still attend and join in a discussion of these extremely urgent and pressing matters.

For those of you in the seminar that will be discussing issues of transnationalism: We are still trying to see if Mr. Trojanow would be available on Friday morning for a Skype, and we are also trying to see if a Skype set-up can even be arranged in that room.

Thank you for your support and understanding under these difficult circumstances. We'll make the best of them, will respond appropriately, and in the meantime do all we can to make the Denver conference a success!

List of Receptions at GSA

As usual, we are pleased to announce that a number of cash bars and receptions will take place at the 37th annual conference of the German Studies Association in Denver, Colorado. A list of scheduled cash bars and receptions (as of September 26, 2013) follows below, including sponsor, time and location. All events are scheduled to take place at the Denver Marriott Tech Center. We hope you can make it to as many as possible!

A additional event sponsored by Berghahn Books has been added since the original posting of this announcement.

THURSDAY, 3 OCTOBER


6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. DAAD reception (Please RSVP to DAAD if planning to attend. See email from DAAD for address.) Evergreen A/B

FRIDAY, 4 OCTOBER


5 p.m. Join Professor Konrad Jarausch to mark the publication of the new book, United Germany Berghahn Books Exhibit Stand
6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. GSA Cash Bar Outdoor Patio, Rocky Mountain Event Center
Immediately after banquet to 10:30 p.m. American Friends of Marbach Larkspur
Immediately after banquet to 11 p.m. DEFA Film Library Conifer

SATURDAY, 5 OCTOBER


6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. GSA Cash Bar: Interdisciplinary Networks Private Dining Room (though open to all!)
6:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Washington University in St. Louis (alumni invited) Evergreen A
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Goethe Society of North America Pikes Peak
7:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. American Friends of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Evergreen C
7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. Austrian Cultural Forum New York Evergreen D

Special GSA Reception/Cash Bar to Highlight Interdisciplinary Networks

In addition to its usual cash bar just before the annual banquet of the German Studies Association on Friday, October 4, the GSA is also sponsoring a SECOND cash bar reception on Saturday, October 5, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. to call attention to our interdisciplinary activities. This occasion will give GSA members a chance to network with our networks! The coordinators of the GSA's twelve interdisciplinary networks will be introduced at this reception. You will get a chance to start thinking about interdisciplinary initiatives for the 2014 conference in Kansas City.

The cash bar/reception will take place in the Private Dining Room at the Denver Marriott Tech Center. Despite its name, the room will be open to GSA members! It is located west of the Summit Tower entrance and elevators on the north end of the building. We look forward to seeing many of you there!

Transportation to and within Denver

As we've noted in several places, the Denver International Airport is quite far from downtown Denver, and twenty-five miles from the Tech Center. You'll need to take account of that distance in planning your transportation to and from the hotel.

We noted in the printed conference program that Super Shuttle is providing a group discount for GSA members. PLEASE NOTE: That information has now been corrected and updated with a new link. Super Shuttle is providing a discount of $3.00 per ride for advance reservations. For information and reservations, go to http://www.supershuttle.com/?gc=GER13&port=DEN&Property=5198&Direction=RF&aType=M

The Discount Coded to enter is GER13.

Airport taxis charge a flat rate of $61.15 from the airport to the Tech Center.

Once you are at the Denver Marriott Tech Center, downtown can easily be reached by using Denver's outstanding and reasonably priced light rail system. The Belleview Station is an easy walk from the hotel. It will be indicated on the map that we distribute at the conference registration desk. Depending on the day and time of day, and the line you take, downtown can be reached in twenty to twenty-five minutes. For information and schedules, go to http://rtd-denver.com.

We look forward to seeing you in Denver!

Best regards,

David E. Barclay
Executive Director
German Studies Association

Welcome to Denver!

Welcome to Denver, site of the 37th annual conference of the German Studies Association from October 3-6, 2013. As we all know, the greater Denver area and much of Colorado have recently suffered grievous losses as a result of devastating floods. The GSA extends its wishes for a speedy recovery to all who have been affected by this catastrophe.

The conference will take place at the Denver Marriott Tech Center, 4900 South Syracuse Street, Denver, Colorado 80237. The Tech Center is located in the southern part of Denver, close to Cherry Creek State Park and Interstate 25. It is also very close to the inexpensive Denver light rail (Belleview Station), which takes 20-25 minutes to reach downtown. For schedules and other information, please visit http://rtd-denver.com.

We look forward to returning to the Rocky Mountains for the first time in many years. Famed
as the “Mile-High City” (or 1,609 meters for our non-US members!), Denver is, of course, a prime tourist destination, given its location close to the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. A vibrant city in its own right, with a lively city center, Denver is also the gateway to such attractions as Rocky Mountain National Park, Pikes Peak, Loveland Pass, the ski resorts of Aspen and Vail, Old West mining towns such as Georgetown, Silver Plume, or Central City, and many others. Despite the recent floods, many of these sites have reopened, or indeed were never closed. (At the time of writing, access to Estes Park is difficult and limited.) In Denver itself, Larimer Square, Writer Square, the famous Tattered Cover bookstore, the Denver Art Museum, Colorado History Museum, the Colorado State Capitol, and many other attractions are not to be missed.

The conference itself could well turn out to be the largest in our history. With the introduction of our twelve new seminars, it will certainly be the most innovative. Our luncheon and banquet speakers – Professor David Blackbourn, Professor Ruth Klüger, and Mr. Ilija Trojanow – will be exciting and compelling.

The twelve new seminars – all shown in the conference program – will meet on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings at 8:00 a.m. They represent an important organizational initiative for the GSA.

The conference will also include a number of receptions and related activities, as usual. We are sending an e-mail announcement of all these occasions to the members.

In addition to its usual Friday evening cash bar just before the annual banquet, the GSA will also be sponsoring a special public reception and cash bar from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Saturday evening, October 5. It will take place in the hotel’s Private Dining Room. This reception will call attention to our twelve interdisciplinary networks. The co-leaders of the twelve networks will be introduced at this reception. You will get a chance to help plan interdisciplinary initiatives for the 2014 convention in Kansas City!

We’re also pleased to welcome back the DEFA Film Library from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. They are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, and the 10th anniversary of their wonderful Thursday-evening film series at the GSA. Please see the printed program for details.

So this will be an exciting conference, and we look forward very much indeed to welcoming all of you to Denver!

Best regards,

David E. Barclay
Executive Director
German Studies Association

GSA Celebrates Cooperation with Berlin Program: Event on July 3

Any GSA member who is in Berlin on Wednesday, July 3, is invited to attend an event in celebration of the Association's many years of cooperation with the Free University of Berlin and especially the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies. It will also take place in commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's memorable visit to Berlin.

Professor David E. Barclay, GSA Executive Director, will speak at 6:00 p.m. in Room L 115 (Seminarzentrum) in the "Silberlaube" of the Free University on "Old Glory und Berliner Bär. Die USA und West-Berlin 1948-1994." The talk will be introduced by Professor Harald Wenzel, Free University of Berlin, and moderated by Professor Andreas Etges, University of Munich. It includes commentaries by Walter Momper, former mayor of Berlin; Professor Dorothee Brantz, Technical University of Berlin; and Dr. Klaus Dettmer, Landesarchiv Berlin.

A reception will follow. Please reply to Karin Goihl (bprogram@zedat.fu-berlin.de) if you plan to attend.

Conference Program Now Available for Denver 2013

The tentative program of the 37th Annual Conference of the German Studies Association has now been prepared. The conference will take place October 3-6, 2013, at the Denver Marriott Tech Center in Denver, Colorado.

We have uploaded four files:

The TENTATIVE program will be posted on the GSA website until 1 June, at which point it will be taken down as we edit the final program for printing and distribution to the membership. In reviewing the TENTATIVE program, please note the following points:

  1. The program is TENTATIVE. We reserve the right to make changes in the final program.
  2. We have tried to make every effort to accommodate reasonable special requests. However, please bear in mind that organizing an event of this nature is extremely complex. We make every effort to avoid thematic overlaps and to avoid inadvertent “double-bookings,” but this is not always possible in this first draft of the program. Please contact helpdesk@thegsa.org should you have questions or concerns.
  3. Please note that our software doesn’t take account of italics and diacritical marks, including umlauts. We are quite aware of this, and all will be corrected in the final program. There is no need for you to write to us about these matters. Please note too that, despite our request, many English-language titles were not submitted according to the guidelines of the Chicago Manual of Style. We are correcting those titles for reasons of editorial consistency, and we are also using American spelling in English-language titles.
  4. Should you encounter any matters that need to be changed, please let us know BY 31 MAY. We CANNOT make any changes after that date. Please write to our Help Desk (helpdesk@thegsa.org) with a copy to me (director@thegsa.org).
  5. Your name and your institutional affiliation are shown exactly as they appear in your membership profile. If you wish to change them, please do so by going to your profile and changing them there. Then please inform us of these changes by writing to helpdesk@thegsa.org.
  6. Should you encounter technical problems, please do NOT write directly to me. I’m not a tech person, and cannot help you with technical matters. Please write directly to Mr. Charles Fulton at the GSA Help Desk (helpdesk@thegsa.org) or to Ms. Alta Anthony (aha@press.jhu.edu) at Johns Hopkins University Press.
  7. Please note that, for programming reasons, the twelve experimental seminars are not listed in numerical order in the actual program. Thus, for example, Seminar 10 is posted as Session 1. A separate list of the seminars and participants is included here and will also be included in the final printed program.
  8. The printed program will be distributed to all dues-paying members during the summer, as usual.

The GSA program is the result of the tireless efforts of many people. They include our extraordinary webmaster, Terry Pochert, our outstanding 2013 Program Director, Jason Coy, our superb tech support director, Charles Fulton, and all the members of the 2013 Program Committee: Dolores Augustine, Ray Canoy, Carol Hager, Sara Hall, Todd Heidt, Marc Lerner, Maria Makela, Michael Meng, and Heather Morrison. Special thanks as well to Irene Kacandes, Lutz Koepnick, and Suzanne Marchand for their exceptional work with our experimental seminars.

I look forward to seeing many of you in Denver!

Conference Registration Now Open for 2013

Online conference registration, meal reservations, and hotel reservations for the 37th annual conference of the GSA in Denver, Colorado, are now open. Please visit the Member Services section and select Conference Registration in the left column to proceed.

The online conference registration and hotel reservation link will be available until 10 SEPTEMBER or until rooms at the hotel sell out. Anyone who registers for the conference after 10 September will be required to pay an additional $10 fee.

Please note that you can ONLY reserve a hotel room at the conference rate of $169.00 AFTER you have registered for the conference itself. You will NOT be able to reserve a room at the conference rate by calling the hotel or by booking with an online agency. You must first register for the conference to be eligible for the rate. Once you have registered for the conference, you will receive a confirmation e-mail from Johns Hopkins University Press that will contain the link to the special hotel reservation page. DO NOT DISCARD OR LOSE THIS E-MAIL, AS IT WILL CONTAIN THE HOTEL RESERVATION LINK.

Please note as well that you can make meal reservations at the same time that you register for the conference. As a reminder, our luncheon and banquet speakers are:

  • Friday, 4 October, luncheon: Professor David Blackbourn: "Honey, I Shrunk German History"
  • Friday, 4 October, Banquet: Professor Ruth Klüger: "The Future of Holocaust Literature"
  • Saturday, 5 October, luncheon: Ilija Trojanow: "EisTau: A One-Act Performance"

The tentative program will be posted online in early May. It will remain there until late May, at which time the final program will be edited and the printed program distributed in the summer.

Conference registration rates are as follows:

  • MEMBERS: $95.00 BEFORE SEPTEMBER 10; $105.00 AFTER SEPTEMBER 10
  • NON-MEMBERS:$150.00 BEFORE SEPTEMBER 10; $160.00 AFTER SEPTEMBER 10
  • INDEPENDENT SCHOLARS/NO INSTITUTIONAL AFFILIATION: $35.00
  • GRADUATE STUDENTS: $20.00 (GSA MEMBERS); $45.00 (NON-MEMBERS OF GSA)
  • LUNCHEON RESERVATIONS: $29.00 per luncheon
  • FRIDAY BANQUET RESERVATION: $42.00
  • AUDIOVISUAL EXPENSES (PLEASE PAY ONLY IF YOU HAVE BEEN APPROVED FOR USE OF AN LCD PROJECTOR): $20.00 per person using projector
  • EXHIBITORS: $150 per table
  • HOTEL RATE: $169.00

We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible in Denver!

2013 Conference Speakers Announced

The 2013 German Studies Association Conference will have another lineup of outstanding luncheon and banquet speakers. We hope that as many of you as possible can attend these important events. Each luncheon will cost $29, and the banquet costs $42. Tickets can be reserved at the same time that you register for the conference.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 4: LUNCHEON SPEAKER: Professor David Blackbourn, "Honey, I Shrunk German History"

We are pleased to welcome Professor David Blackbourn as our Friday luncheon speaker. The topic of his talk is “Honey, I Shrunk German History.” On the faculty of Harvard University for many years, he is now Cornelius Vanderbilt Distinguished Chair of History at Vanderbilt University, where he teaches a variety of courses in modern German and European History. Among Professor Blackbourn’s many books are Marpingen: Apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Nineteenth-Century Germany (1994), The Long Nineteenth Century: A History of Germany, 1780-1918 (1997), and The Conquest of Nature: Water, Landscape, and the Making of Modern Germany (2006). He is currently completing a book on Germany in the world.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 4: BANQUET SPEAKER: Professor Ruth Klüger , "The Future of Holocaust Literature"

Our distinguished banquet speaker is Professor Ruth Klüger, who will speak on “The Future of Holocaust Literature.” A celebrated author of numerous books and recipient of numerous prizes and honors, she is Professor of German Emerita at the University of California, Irvine. Among many other things, Professor Klüger is well known for her award-winning memoir of her experiences in the Holocaust, weiter leben: eine Jugend (1992; her own English version, Still Alive: A Holocaust Girlhood Remembered, 2001). She is a well-known scholar of German literature, especially of Lessing and Kleist. Among her most recent awards are the Lessing-Preis des Freistaates Sachsen (2007), the Hermann-Cohen-Medaille(2008), the Ehrenmedaille der Stadt Göttingen (2010),the Theodor-Kramer-Preis (2011), and the Austrian Danubius Prize (2011).

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5: LUNCHEON SPEAKER: Ilija Trojanow, "EisTau: A One-Act Performance"

Our Saturday luncheon speaker, Ilija Trojanow, will present “EisTau: A One-Act Performance,” based on his recent novel, EisTau (2011). The story takes place on a cruise ship in the Antarctic and mainly concerns a Bavarian glacier researcher and a waitress from the Philippines. Born in Sofia, Bulgaria, Trojanow is the author of more than twenty books, including the acclaimed novel Der Weltensammler (2007). Received with his family in Germany as a refugee, he is a world traveler who has also made his home in Nairobi, Paris, Mumbai, and Cape Town. He has made significant contributions to the understanding of African and Indian literature in Germany, and is the recipient of many prizes and awards, including the Bertelsmann Literature Prize at the Ingeborg Bachmann competition in Klagenfurt in 1995, the Marburg Literature Prize in 1996, the Thomas Valentin Prize in 1997, the Adelbert von Chamisso Prize in 2000, and the Leipzig Book Fair Prize. He currently resides in Vienna.

GSA Dissertation List: Submissions Requested

The GSA posts information in the spring newsletter about dissertations completed in any area of German (Austrian, Swiss, German diasporic) Studies (any discipline or interdisciplinary). If you received your Ph.D. in 2011 or 2012 or have already defended in 2013, you may be listed in this year’s Spring newsletter. (No repeats, however!) If you have supervised a dissertation that was completed in 2011 or 2012 that has not already been described here, please encourage the author to submit a description following the guidelines below.

Send an email to GSA Vice President, Irene Kacandes, by March 25 at Irene.kacandes@dartmouth.edu Please type “GSA dissertation list” in the subject line. Please forward this notice to any institutions or individuals for whom you believe it is relevant. In your submission, be sure to include:

  1. Name
  2. Title of Dissertation
  3. Institution and department in which it was defended
  4. Date of defense
  5. Name of dissertation director
  6. 150-word abstract of the dissertation in either English or German. (Longer abstracts will be shortened, so please get it the way you want it at the right length!)

Travel Grants in Austrian Studies to Attend GSA

The Austrian Cultural Forum New York (ACFNY), the Austrian Federal Ministry for Science and Research (BMWF), and the German Studies Association (GSA) are happy to announce this year’s special travel fund in Austrian Studies for scholars who will participate in this year’s conference of the German Studies Association in Denver, Colorado from 3 to 6 October.

Preference will be shown to applications from scholars working in Contemporary Austrian Studies (since 1945). The funds are intended exclusively for scholars who are either completing an appropriate advanced degree or who have completed that degree within the past five years. Scholars from North America (Canada, Mexico, and the United States) as well as from outside North America are eligible to apply for these funds. North Americans are eligible to receive US $500 to offset travel costs (within the United States) to attend the GSA. Participants from outside North America are eligible to receive a stipend of US $1,000 for the same purpose.

Travel grants are for one person only and cannot be split among several applicants. Applications from Austria and elsewhere are encouraged, and must be submitted to Mag. Andreas Stadler, Director of the ACFNY, no later than May 31, 2013. Applications should send an abstract of the paper for the GSA and the CV of the applicant. The winners will be announced by June 28, 2013, and will receive their grant directly from the Austrian Cultural Forum New York.

German Studies Review Redesign Honored by Editor’s Group

The redesign of the German Studies Review recently received the 2012 Best Journal Design award from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals. The award honors a journal that launched a new design between 2010 and 2012. The Johns Hopkins University Press, which began publishing the journal with the 2012 volume, worked collaboratively with Editor Sabine Hake on the new design.

“This award marks yet another milestone in the brief partnership between the Press and the GSA,” says JHUP Journals Publisher Bill Breichner. The new website for the association was recognized by The MARCOM Awards in late 2012. “We’re happy the CELJ recognized this impressive transformation for GSR.

Designer Laura Lindgren used a sans serif type font inspired by typographer and designer Jan Tschichold and created a cover which allows for changing colors (yellows for 2012, blues for 2013), an homage to the rainbow colors of the edition Suhrkamp books, the most famous book series of postwar West German publishing.

“The stylish new contemporary design was chosen to reflect better the forward-looking disciplinary orientation of the association and its commitment to cultural studies,” says Hake, Texas Chair of German Literature and Culture at the University of Texas at Austin. “More specifically, key elements were chosen based on their association with a uniquely German design history and culture.”

12 GSA Conference Seminars Ready for Enrollment (Deadline: Feb. 1)

We are excited to announce a pilot project adding twelve seminars to the program structure of the GSA Conference in Denver 2013. Seminars meet for all three days of the conference during the first morning slot to foster extended discussion, rigorous intellectual exchange, and intensified networking. They are led by 2 to 3 organizers and will consist of 15 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 expected to participate in all three installments of the seminar.

The following seminars have been selected for the pilot program. Download extended descriptions and participation requirements.

Seminar 1: Global History, Literature, and Culture from a German Base
Seminar 2: Transnationalisms: Sexualities, Fantasies, and the World Beyond
Seminar 3: What Was Politics in "1968"?
Seminar 4: Why We Read (German) Fiction - And How: Cognitive Studies and German Studies
Seminar 5: Germany or Europe? The European Union and the German Question
Seminar 6: The Challenge of Ethnography in German Studies
Seminar 7: Revisiting the Study of Emotions in German Studies
Seminar 8: Not So Quiet on the Eastern Front: New Directions in WWI Studies
Seminar 9: Narration
Seminar 10: For a New Enlightenment
Seminar 11: Rethinking Modernism after Cultural Studies
Seminar 12: Recycling Romanticism

If you wish to participate in a seminar, please complete and email the application form to the members of the GSA Seminar Work Group listed below. Participation in a seminar involves intellectual work akin to preparing a paper and will thus count as such. All seminar participants will be listed by name in the program. If you are accepted to be an active participant in a seminar, you may not give a paper in panel sessions. However, you may moderate or comment on a panel. Some individuals may choose to be an auditor to a seminar. Sign ups for auditors will take place after the entire GSA program is set. Seminar auditors may give a paper in regular sessions.

Applications are due by February 1, 2013. We will inform applicants by February 5, 2013, whether they have been accepted or not. Please do not send your applications directly to the organizers of the individual seminars, but to one of the members of the Seminar Work Group listed below.

The GSA Seminar Work Group
Suzanne Marchand, President of the GSA (Louisiana State University)
Irene Kacandes, Vice President of the GSA (Dartmouth College)
Lutz Koepnick, Former Executive Board Member and Member of Conference Task Force (Washington University in St. Louis)

2013 Award Programs Announced

In 2013 the GSA will again make a number of awards. We hope that as many members as possible will make nominations and submissions.

The DAAD/GSA Book Prize will be awarded for the best book in history or social sciences that has been published in 2011 or 2012. Inquiries, nominations, and submissions should be sent to the committee chair, Professor Carl Caldwell, Rice University, by 15 February 2013. The other members of the committee are Professors Monica Black (University of Tennessee, Knoxville) and Ben Marschke (Humboldt State University).

The DAAD Article Prize will be awarded for the best article in Germanistik or culture studies that appeared in the German Studies Review in 2011 or 2012. Inquiries, nominations, and submissions should be sent to the committee chair, Professor Jennifer Kapczynski, Washington University in St. Louis, by 15 February 2013. The other members of the committee are Professors William Collins Donahue (Duke University) and John Pizer (Louisiana State University).

The Sybil Halpern Milton Book Prize is awarded every other year, and will again be awarded in 2013 for the best book in Holocaust Studies published in 2011 and 2012. Submissions should be sent to the committee chair, Professor Jeffrey Herf, University of Maryland at College Park, by 15 February 2013. The other members of the committee are Professors Hilary Earl (Nipissing University) and Bradley Prager, University of Missouri, Columbia.

The prize for the Best Essay in German Studies by a Graduate Student will again be awarded in 2013. The deadline for nominations and submissions is 15 March 2013. Papers should be 6,000-9,000 words in length. The winner will be published in German Studies Review. Nominations and submissions should be sent to the committee chair, Professor Anthony Steinhoff, University of Quebec, Montreal. The other members of the committee are Professors Perry Myers (Albion College) and Maiken Umbach (University of Nottingham).

Seminars to be Added to 2013 GSA Conference

We are excited to announce a pilot project adding a small number of seminar modules to the program structure of the GSA Conference in Denver 2013.

Seminars are meant to meet for all three days of the conference during the first morning slot to foster extended discussion, rigorous intellectual exchange, and intensified networking. Seminars should be proposed and led by 2 to 3 organizers and consist of 15 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 expected to participate in all three installments of the seminar.

We assume these participants will submit some form of written communication to the seminar ahead of the conference, which will count as the equivalent of an ordinary paper presentation. That is to say, those who are accepted as seminar participants (or organizers) will be listed in the program as such and will not be allowed to present another paper at the conference. However, any participant or organizer may also serve as moderator or commentator for normal sessions. We envision making it possible for others to sit in on seminars; such persons would not be counted as official participants and therefore could deliver a paper in a different session.

For our pilot program, we will seek proposals for seminars that involve:

  • Pre-circulated papers addressing a defined topic to be exchanged among seminar participants before the conference and discussed intensively on site;
  • In-depth discussion of one or more academic publication(s) in any of the fields represented in the GSA or of work(s) of art (literature, film, music, theater, the visual arts, etc.). Organizers need both to choose the items to be discussed and to stipulate the form of response to the chosen text/object of analysis to be circulated before the conference;
  • Any other workable format the organizers can envision (n.b., include a description not only of the topic but also of format in the proposal).

We believe the seminar format is a viable option for individuals or networks who are considering creating a “thread” of thematic sessions.

Instructions for submitting a proposal for a seminar sequence:

  • Seminar proposers should submit a coordinated 500-word description of the topic, goals, and format of the seminar, as well as their vision of their own role in the actual running of the seminar. A one-page cv for each organizer that clearly states her/his rank and institutional affiliation should also be included.
  • Seminar proposers should attach to their proposals a list of five to ten scholars whom they plan to invite to participate in their seminar if the proposal is accepted; please include those individuals’ institutional affiliations and email addresses on the list.

Process of selecting seminars and populating them with participants:

  • Seminar proposers will submit their proposals to the Seminar Working Group no later than January 1, 2013; earlier if possible is encouraged.
  • In consultation with the Executive Director and the Program Director, the Seminar Working Group will give the go-ahead to several well-coordinated and promising proposals by Jan. 15, 2013 and will post a list of approved seminars and their topics on the GSA web site by Jan. 18, 2013.
  • Association members will thereby be invited to submit applications for participation in specific seminars directly to the Seminar Working Group. The application for seminar participation will require a 300-word abstract, stating one’s particular interest in and proposed contribution to the seminar in question and a one-page cv. These applications for participation are due to the Seminar Working Group on or before Feb 1. Seminar organizers should note that since they will have already submitted the names of individuals whom they plan to invite to participate, their wishes on this matter will be taken into strong consideration, though no one other than the organizers is guaranteed participation. Final decisions will be made by the Seminar Working Group in consultation with the Executive Director and the Program Director.
  • The Seminar Working Group will inform seminar organizers and applicants no later than February 5 about the final makeup of the seminars. This will allow time for those who are not accepted as participants to join in the normal process of submitting a paper proposal to the general GSA Program Committee by the deadline of February 15.
  • We will work together with the Executive Director and the Program Committee to find appropriate rooms for seminars so that individuals who are not official participants but who wish to sit in may do so.

Please direct inquiries and proposals to the three members of the GSA Seminar Working Group:

  • Suzanne Marchand, Vice President of the GSA (Louisiana State University)
  • Irene Kacandes, Vice President Elect of the GSA (Dartmouth College)
  • Lutz Koepnick, Executive Board Member and Member of Conference Task Force (Washington University in St. Louis)

Summary of schedule:

  • Nov. 7, 2012 - Announcement of seminar pilot project to membership of GSA
  • Jan. 1, 2013 - Would-be seminar organizers submit proposals to Seminar Working Group
  • Jan. 15 - Selected (and non-selected) organizers informed; organizers of selected proposals are requested to confirm interest within a day or two of announcement
  • Jan. 18, 2013 - Accepted seminar topics posted on GSA website; membership invited to submit proposals to become participants;
  • Feb. 1, 2013 - at latest proposals for participation due
  • Feb. 5, 2013 - entire seminar slate set and posted
  • Feb 15, 2013 - normal GSA paper/panel proposals due

Honoring Prof. Friedlander

The GSA has lost a close friend. Professor Henry Friedlander (President 2001-02) died Thursday, Oct. 18. Some years ago, he created the Sybil Milton Book Prize in honor of his late wife. To honor his memory, the GSA would like members and friends to consider a donation to the Milton Prize fund to ensure the financial footing of the honor. (The $1,000 prize is awarded every other year.)

Visit our Contribute page to support the Milton Prize in honor of the late Henry Friedlander and the late Sybil Milton.

Donations may also be sent as paper checks to Professor Gerald Fetz, GSA Secretary/Treasurer, Dean Emeritus, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812.

GSA Website Recognized

The re-design of the GSA website recently won honorable mention in the Website/Association category of the 2012 MarCom awards. The JHU Press Journals Marketing Department submitted the site for the award in this international competition which recognizes outstanding creative achievement by marketing and communication professionals. There were over 6,000 entries from throughout the United States, Canada, and several other countries in the 2012 competition, which featured a number of categories.

Learn more about the JHUP success in the competition on the JHU Press blog.

Election Results Announced

Elections recently took place for the GSA Vice Presidency and for three positions on the GSA Board. The new Vice President will assume office on 1 January 2013 and will become President on 1 January 2015. The Board positions are for three-year terms and will begin on 1 January 2013.

The Vice President-elect is:

  • Irene Kacandes, Dartmouth College.

The new Board members are:

  • German Literature and Culture (one position): Elizabeth Ametsbichler, University of Montana
  • History (one position): Janet Ward, University of Oklahoma
  • Political and Other Social Science (one position): Alice H. Cooper, University of Mississippi

The membership also approved the proposed change to the GSA bylaws, concerning the Interdisciplinarity Committee.

As always, the GSA is deeply grateful to all members who volunteer to be candidates for elective office and who volunteer or agree to serve on our various committees. Without you, the GSA would simply cease to exist.

Central European History Editorship

The current Editor of Central European History, published by Cambridge University Press for its owner, the Central European History Society [formerly the Conference Group for Central European History] of the American Historical Association, has announced his intention not to serve beyond his second five-year term, which ends on June 30, 2014. The Society invites applications and nominations of outstanding scholars for the position of Editor.

Applicants should be members of the Society resident in North America, who are accomplished historians of German-speaking Central Europe, have the intellectual range to work with manuscripts from different periods and regions in the history of German-speaking Central Europe, and who are conversant with the wide range of historical methodologies and topics currently represented among scholars of the history of German-speaking Central Europe. The institutional support required for the position is subject to discussion.

The Editor’s responsibilities include soliciting manuscripts in all fields of the history of German-speaking Central Europe, shepherding submitted manuscripts through the peer review and editorial processes, working with the journal’s print and electronic publisher, Cambridge University Press, working with the Executive Secretary/Treasurer of the Society, and maintaining collaborative relations with the Board of Editors of the journal and the Executive Board of the Society. Under the terms of the By-Laws of the Society, the Editor is ex officio a member of the Executive Board. Depending upon the structure of an applicant’s editorial proposal, the Editor may so be responsible for recruitment of an Associate Editor for book reviews and, subject to the terms of the institutional support arrangement, selection and supervision of an Assistant Editor for copy-editing. Production management and subscriptions are the responsibility of Cambridge University Press.

Applicants who advance beyond the initial stage of the selection process may be asked to attend the 2012 Annual Meeting of the German Studies Association in Milwaukee, October 4-7, 2012, to meet with the Editor Nominating Committee. That committee will make a recommendation to the Executive Board, which will refer a candidate to the Business Meeting of the Central European History Society Group at the January 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association in New Orleans, January 3-6, 2013, which will elect the next Editor for five-year term beginning July 1, 2014, and ending June 30, 2019.

Interested scholars should send an electronic version of their current curriculum vitae, a statement that discusses what they wish to accomplish as Editor of the journal and how they wish to accomplish it, and a preliminary sketch of institutional support by June 1, 2012, to CentralEuropeanHistory@case.edu. Inquiries about the position should be directed to the same email address or by phone at (216) 368-4144. Scholars who wish to nominate other scholars for the position should direct their nominations to the same email address, together with a statement of whether the nominee has been approached by the nominator. Inquiries about current institutional support arrangements and the current practices of the Editor may also be directed to Kenneth F. Ledford at CentralEuropeanHistory@case.edu.

For the Central European History Society

Dissertation List Planned

The German Studies Association plans to post a list of dissertations completed in 2011 in its Spring 2012 newsletter, to be posted on the new website. The lists for 2009 and 2010 give a good overview of trends in German Studies and are available online within the Spring newsletters for those years. Brief abstracts are invited in all German Studies fields, from literature, history, and political science to musicology, art history, visual studies. Abstracts should include:

  • Name of the author
  • Title of the dissertation
  • Institution where the dissertation was written and approved
  • Name of dissertator supervisor
  • Year the dissertation was approved
  • A very brief abstract of no more than 150 words, in English or German

Any institutions that missed being included in the Spring 2011 newsletter may add dissertations from 2009-2010. Abstracts should be sent to Suzanne Marchand and should arrive no later than March 10, 2012.

2012 Prize Competitions Announced

In 2012 the German Studies Association will award three prizes: the DAAD/GSA Book Prize, the DAAD/GSA Article Prize and the GSA Graduate Student Essay Prize. Information on submission requirements are available on the individual prize pages. All entries must be received no later than February 20, 2012. Please note that the Sybil Halpern Milton Prize will not be awarded in 2012. It will be awarded again in 2013. Questions may be directed to GSA Executive Director Professor David E. Barclay.

Dues Increase for 2012

At its meeting in Louisville in September 2011, the GSA Board approved a modest dues increase for 2012, our first in seven years. Regular dues for North American members will increase from $50 to $70 annually, while dues for non-North American members will increase from $65 to $80 a year. Joint memberships will increase from $80 to $90. All other dues will remain unchanged, and conference registration fees are not being increased. Please visit the Member Services section for information on the new rates.

2011 Prize Winners Named

Winners of annual prizes sponsored by the GSA were announced at the annual conference in October 2011. Ann Goldberg (University of California, Riverside) received the DAAD Book Prize for her publication Honor, Politics, and the Law in Imperial Germany. The DAAD Article Prize went to Jennifer M. Kapczynski (Washington University in St. Louis) for “Postwar Ghosts: Heimatfilm and the Specter of Male Violence. Returning to the Scene of the Crime?,” which appeared in the German Studies Review, volume 33, no. 2, in May 2010. Jeffrey Herf (University of Maryland, College Park) is the recipient of the 2011 Sybil Halpern Milton Prize, awarded for the best book in Holocaust Studies published in 2009 or 2010 for Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World. The final award, the Graduate Student Paper Prize for the best paper in German Studies written in 2010-11, went to Kira Thurman (University of Rochester), for her paper on “Black Venus, White Bayreuth: Race, Sexuality, and the De-Politicization of Wagner in Post-War West Germany.” The paper will be published in a future issue of the German Studies Review.

New Editor Announced for German Studies Review

The German Studies Association is pleased to announce that Professor Sabine Hake has agreed to serve as editor of the German Studies Review beginning with the February 2012 issue. Professor Hake (pictured at right with GSA Executive Director Prof. David E. Barclay) is a truly distinguished scholar of German Studies with wide-ranging, interdisciplinary interests and a deservedly international reputation. She will bring exceptional credentials to her new task.

GSR Editor and CoverShe is Texas Chair of German Literature and Culture in the Department of Germanic Studies at the University of Texas at Austin and is the author of five monographs, including German National Cinema (2008, second revised edition) and Topographies of Class: Modern Architecture and Mass Society in Weimar Berlin (2008). She has also published numerous articles and edited volumes on German film and Weimar culture. Her current book project is titled Political Affects and deals with the fascist imaginary in postfascist cinema.

GSR also has new book review editors: Professor Carl Niekerk, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Professor Andrew I. Port, Department of History, Wayne State University. Special thanks goes to outgoing Book Review Editor Liz Ametsbichler, Department of Modern and Classical Languages, University of Montana.

Professor Hake’s selection as editor was the result of a long and careful process. We were gratified that the number of candidates for this position was so large, and their qualifications so extraordinary. It is a testimony to the professional commitment of our members and to the quality of their scholarship that we had so many excellent candidates.

The GSA is grateful to the search committee for its many months of hard and focused work. Chaired by Professor Sara Lennox (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), it included Professors Celia Applegate (University of Rochester), David E. Barclay (Kalamazoo College), Kathleen Canning (University of Michigan), Kenneth Ledford (Case Western Reserve University), Frank Trommler (University of Pennsylvania), and Helga Welsh (Wake Forest University).

Finally, we wish to thank the retiring editor of the German Studies Review, Professor Diethelm Prowe of Carleton College, for his years of outstanding service to the journal, the German Studies Association, and the German Studies profession in general. His work has been exemplary, and his devotion to scholarship and to the profession has been outstanding. He has set very high standards of stewardship and dedication, and we are all in his debt.