GSA SEMINARS 2024
The 48th German Studies Association Conference in Atlanta, GA, from September 26–29, 2024 will again host a series of seminars in addition to panels and roundtables (for general conference information, click here).
Seminars meet for all three days of the conference during the first or second morning slot to foster extended discussion, rigorous intellectual exchange, and intensified networking. They are led by two to four conveners and consist of 10 to 20 participants, at least some of whom should be graduate students. In order to reach the goal of extended discussion, seminar organizers and participants are required to participate in all three installments of the seminar.
Please note some important seminar application guidelines:
- You must be a current member of the GSA to submit an application to your chosen seminar.
- You must submit your application via the OpenWater system, not through the conveners.
- Seminar participants, including conveners, may not submit a paper in a regular panel session. However, they may take on one additional role in the conference independent of their role in a seminar – as moderator or commentator on a panel or as a participant in a roundtable.
- No-one accepted to participate in a seminar may withdraw from the seminar in order to present on a panel.
Click here for more information on the seminar guidelines.
To access the submission portal in which you can apply for the seminar of your choice, click here. Log in using your GSA member credentials, hover over the "Submit" button, and choose "Seminar Participant Application":
Applications ask for an abstract describing the nature of your contribution to the seminar (500 words max), as well as a short biography (300 words max). The deadline for applications to participate in a seminar is Friday, February 23 at 11:59 p.m. PST.
The 2024 GSA Conference will include a total of 25 seminars selected and approved for enrollment through this year’s proposal process, as follows (Tip: you can click on the title to go to the seminar description, and then click your browser’s back button to return to the list):
- Asian German Studies Seminar (sponsored by the Asian German Studies Network)
- Austrian Sexualities
- Contemporary German Literature as Media Event
- Exercise: Practices of Bodies, Minds, and Knowing (sponsored by the Body Studies Network)
- Family Archives in Research and Teaching (sponsored by the Family and Kinship Network)
- Food and German Studies: Creative Explorations
- German Theater for/against the Anthropocene? (sponsored by the Environmental Studies Network)
- Geschlecht: Sex, Race, Species
- Integrating Digital Humanities and German Studies - Methods, Theory, Practice (sponsored by the Digital Humanities Network)
- Interplanetary Perspectives: Cosmic Fictions and Figurations of Other Worlds
- Literary Translation and/as Scholarship
- Making Known the Unknown: Exploring Blind Spots in Crime Fiction
- Marxisms and German Studies
- Narrating Entanglement: Literary Strategies for a World in Crisis
- Neurodiverse German Studies
- Operational Images: Vision and Media across German Studies (sponsored by the Visual Culture Network)
- Peripheral Vision: Cinematic Exile on and off the Camera
- Poetry Doing Things
- Politisch schreiben in der deutschsprachigen Gegenwartsliteratur: Methodische und theoretische Annäherungen
- Religion and Secularism in Germany from the Nineteenth Century to the Present
- Renegotiating the German Post-War Model in an Era of Crisis
- Teaching Global Germany (sponsored by the Teaching Network)
- "The Curse of Empire": East-Central Europe from the German Perspective
- The Diversities of Care in the Long Nineteenth Century
- Weimar Germany: Taking Stock and Moving Forward
We will announce in summer whether each seminar allows and has space for auditors. You may contact the individual seminar conveners for questions about their seminars (emails are listed in the description); you may contact members of the Seminar Coordinators for general questions. Please direct all other questions, including inquiries regarding disability accommodation, to the Operations Director, Dr. Jennifer Jenkins (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please note that applicants must be members of the GSA for 2024; you can join or renew your membership through the GSA website: https://www.thegsa.org/.
List of 2024 GSA Seminars (in alphabetical order)
1. Asian German Studies Seminar (sponsored by the Asian German Studies Network)
- Mita Banerjee, University of Mainz, email@example.com
- Zach Ramon Fitzpatrick, University of Wisconsin–Madison, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Doug McGetchin, Florida Atlantic University, email@example.com
- Baijayanti Roy, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: Participants consider historical and contemporary diasporas of Asians in German-speaking Central Europe and German-speakers in Asia, including their literary, historical, sociological, and specific cultural production, such as novels and films. This seminar welcomes any topic, but is particularly interested in the following five areas: (1) transnational contact (literary, economic, political, intellectual, philosophical); (2) class and income disparities that complicate Asian German narratives; (3) comparative literature, image studies, and the challenges and opportunities of translation, including consumer culture; (4) migration, post-migration, asylum, and immigration issues; and (5) collective efforts (institutions/organizations, social movements, activism, (anti-)racism, postcolonial studies, mobility/diasporic anti-colonialism). This seminar continues the success of the panel series begun in 2009, fostering a lively scholarly community engaged with contacts between Asians and Germans.
Format: Participants will exchange abstracts (300 words) by April 1, papers (3600-6000 words) by August 15, and a brief (300 words) response to one other participant by September 15. We will pre-circulate theoretical readings (about 60 pages) that will supplement our discussion about Asian German Studies.
2. Austrian Sexualities
- Deborah Holmes, University of Salzburg, email@example.com
- Birgit Lang, The University of Melbourne, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Scott Spector, University of Michigan, email@example.com
Abstract: The history and cultures of sexuality in German-language spheres have held a central place in the boom in sexuality studies over the last decades. Yet, the recent consolidation of knowledge and shifts towards aspects such as queer and trans studies have been predominantly focused on Germany (Evans 2023; Sutton 2023; Marhoefer 2015, 2022, Taylor/Timm/Herrn 2017). The specificity of Austrian Studies within this configuration has been explored somewhat in the areas of fin de siècle and Red Vienna, but has more often remained under-examined. This seminar seeks new directions in Sexuality Studies from an Austrian perspective, encompassing historical, visual, literary, and cultural analysis. Key themes may include: Berlin vs. Vienna; Land vs. Stadt; how Austrian and German queer and trans histories overlap or differ; transnational Austria (globalizing Austrian Studies through/with Sexuality Studies); intersectional approaches, including Gender Studies, Medical Humanities and Disability Studies; embodied sexuality, such as performativity and activism.
Format: By September 1, participants submit a position paper (~2000 words) arguing for ways to reevaluate/recontextualize/reconfigure categories and questions surrounding Austrian Sexuality Studies grounded in participants’ current or planned research. These papers will be pre-circulated along with three outside readings chosen according to the themes that emerge from submissions.
- Lilla Balint, University of California, Berkeley, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Malika Maskarinec, Universität Bern, email@example.com
- Cornelia Pierstorff, University of Zurich, firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: Contemporary literature is defined by an explosion of paratexts in a wide variety of media, including social-media posts, podcasts, talk shows, book prizes, readings, or even accompanying Netflix series, all of which can transform a publication into a multimedia event. Conversely, these paratextual phenomena have crossed the threshold into works of German-language fiction, informing what stories are told and how they are told. To bring this ecosystem of literature into view, the seminar examines how twenty-first-century German fiction interacts with, relies on, and reflects on multimedia paratexts. Discussion points include how literature such as Sanyal’s Identitti (2021) or Stuckrad-Barre’s Noch wach? (2022) model media events and phenomena of going viral; how writing in social-media environments has engendered a rise of autofiction and autotheory; and how works participate in media-driven movements, such as how Kracht’s Eurotrash (2021) or Wilpert’s Nichts, was uns passiert (2018) relate to the #MeToo movement.
Format: The seminar involves individual presentations and group discussions. Participants will read theories on contemporary poetics (approx. 60–80 pp.). We will ask participants to prepare an essay discussing a text of their choice within the theoretical framework of the seminar (max. 3500 words) to be pre-circulated four weeks before the conference.
- Patrick Hohlweck, Humboldt University of Berlin, email@example.com
- Heikki Lempa, Moravian University, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Susan Morrow, Princeton University, email@example.com
Abstract: What is exercise? What are its origins, functions, and ramifications? What role has it played in incorporating norms, forming subjects (especially regarding gender, race, and class), or resisting these processes? Closely linked to conceptions of disciplinary power, care of the self (Foucault), and habitus (Bourdieu), these questions have recently received attention from the study of physical culture, sports, and dance (Petrzela, Fit Nation; Dworkin/Wachs, Body Panic) along with literary studies and philosophy (Trop, Poetry as a Way of Life; Menke, Force). This seminar asks how exercise has shaped practices of body and mind in the German-speaking world, whether in the context of sports, dance, military training, labor, spiritual/ethical cultivation, philosophical meditation, or aesthetics. We invite contributions from literary studies, history, sport studies, dance studies, art history, gender studies, philosophy, critical ethnic and race studies, film studies and other pertinent fields. We especially welcome transnational interventions.
Format: Participants pre-circulate 3–4-page project statements by September 8; organizers will also share a short reader of 3–6 additional texts by then. The seminar will devote one session to these texts and two to discussing the project statements following brief (3-minute) introductions by their authors.
- Amy Carney, Pennsylvania State University – Erie, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Melissa Kravetz, Longwood University, email@example.com
Abstract: The focus of this seminar is family documents such as diaries, letters, memoirs, and photographs created by one or more family members that detail a family’s experience of being forced into exile or choosing to emigrate from a German-speaking land. All participants will need to have a current research and/or teaching project based on unpublished and unarchived documents that are still in the possession of the family or have been provided to the scholar. The core purpose of the seminar will be to discuss the opportunities and challenges of working with unpublished and unarchived family documents. Participants will also discuss the various ways these documents can be utilized to create scholarly and popular publications, as well as how they can be used for teaching purposes.
Format: During Days 1 and 2, participants will give a 5-10 minute response on how they use family documents for research and teaching purposes, including methods of organizing and citing unpublished and unarchived documents. On Day 3, participants will reflect on the benefits and challenges of working with family members.
- Bradley Boovy, Oregon State University, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Maria Stehle, University of Tennessee Knoxville, email@example.com
Abstract: This seminar brings Food Studies in conversation with German Studies. We explore how cultural studies research on food can apply to our work in German Studies and encourage participants to think about their work in relation to the broader field of Food Studies. Recent scholarship has addressed questions of food insecurity, examined connections between food and emotion, and discussed food in relation to multiculturalism. Our seminar builds on this work and continues conversations about the politics of food in German contexts across different media and genres, from fiction and film to graphic novels and television. We hope to address highly politicized topics such as national belonging, health, labor, and climate change. Possible topics include food and: identities, culture(s), media, race, class, power, health (myths), precarity, bodies, gender, normativity, fatphobia, capitalism, ecology/ environmentalism, the politics of care, etc.
Format: Participants will read a selection of 2-3 articles over the summer and pre-circulate shorter pieces (approx. 3-4 pages) of writing by September 3. After the seminar, we will explore publication options for expanded pieces in established venues as well as in creative and exploratory mediums (e.g., podcasts, websites, etc.).
- Leonie Ettinger, New York University, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Kristopher Imbrigotta, University of Puget Sound, email@example.com
- Teresa Kovacs, Indiana University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: Theater is a medium which has traditionally centered humans and human experience. But the human-planetary paradigm is rapidly shifting. The many intersecting global environmental, social justice, and cultural crises present new opportunities and challenges. With greater urgency in recent years, theater makers have imagined a more habitable, positive future on this planet and participated in shifting entrenched forms of collective knowledge and cultural production. How can we create productive ‘more-than-human’ encounters on stage? What is lacking from current aesthetic theories and practice? Which hierarchies and traditions associated with the anthropos need dismantling? How can we push boundaries of performance and scholarship in the German-speaking theater context to respond to the impulses and needs of our current moment? This seminar seeks to interrogate and expand on these and other questions.
Format: Conveners will pre-circulate 2-3 introductory texts during summer. Participants should submit project abstracts (1500-2000 words) by August 15. Day 1: discuss selected readings; begin 5-minute participant presentations on projects. Day 2: continue 5-minute participant presentations. Day 3: experimental stagings inspired by readings; discuss implications for pedagogy/teaching and future projects.
8. Geschlecht: Sex, Race, Species
- Benjamin Lewis Robinson, New York University, email@example.com
- Jonas Rosenbrueck, Amherst College, firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: This seminar departs from the troubling word Geschlecht, meaning sex, gender, race, species, generation, lineage. It is oriented by a double hypothesis: First, the entanglement contained in Geschlecht generatively connects urgent contemporary debates in critical race studies, queer/trans theory, animal studies, and Anthropocene thought. Second, these contemporary debates can be productively engaged by revisiting earlier generations of writing about Geschlecht. To test this hypothesis, the seminar is guided by three generational constellations: the 1910s and 20s, between Kafka, Heidegger, and Lasker-Schüler; responses to this earlier constellation in the 1970s and 80s, notably Bachmann, Derrida, and Deleuze; contemporary approaches that variously relate to these lines, such as Judith Butler, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Mel Y. Chen, J. M. Coetzee, Elfriede Jelinek, Zakiyyah Iman Jackson, and Paul Preciado. We invite critical engagement with these lineages and welcome consideration of work by other writers of, and ways of writing, Geschlecht.
Format: Participants pre-circulate Thesenpapiere (1-2pp, due September 6) addressing the intersecting sense of Geschlecht in and across the periods indicated. A selection of readings (approx. 60pp) drawn from the authors named above will be shared well in advance to provide common reference/orientation.
- Fabian Offert, University of California, Santa Barbara, email@example.com
- Thorsten Ries, UT Austin, firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: While the humanities have always incorporated empirical and formal approaches, the debate around Nan Z. Da's "The Computational Case [...]" revealed that digital methods can be at odds with the paradigms of established humanities scholarship. Current AI-driven methods like ChatGPT in particular raise questions about how arguments could be made "digitally" that align with traditional humanities scholarship enough to be convincing (e.g. in terms of reproducibility and explainability). This seminar thus aims to delineate the state of the art in "digital" German Studies and facilitate a discussion of the epistemic consequences of digital methods for the discipline: How are digital methods relevant for German Studies, and what are angles of humanist inquiry into digital methods and culture? How could we conceptualize a digital methodology that is productively integrated with established humanities scholarship? What are the political and disciplinary stakes of this integration? And how can faculty and instructors integrate GPT4 in their teaching?
Format: The seminar will consist of a series of short presentations, case studies, discussions of research in DH / AI, and practical DH experiments (e.g. workshops). Topic abstracts due April 6, presentation slides, materials a week before conference. A seminar reader (ca 100 pp) will be distributed three weeks before the conference.
- Jake Fraser, Reed College, email@example.com
- Ella Wilhelm, University of Chicago, firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: Since the Copernican revolution, the idea of other worlds on other planets has served as a key metaphor for defining the contingency of the human perspective, and as a speculative means of reversing the earthbound view of the cosmos. While dominant narratives of the achievement of planetary perspective have tended to emphasize either its triumphal (Blumenberg) or alienating (Arendt, Heidegger) aspects, our seminar will collaboratively assemble and discuss an archive that complicates this intellectual-historical grand narrative by considering the imaginative horizons opened by experiments with cosmic and interplanetary perspective. We seek scholars from a range of time periods and approaches to explore the unique possibilities and challenges of an aesthetic conception of our planet in relation to others. Topics might include: multiplicity of worlds in early German aesthetic theory; points of contact between science fiction and scientific fictions; visualizations of (inter)planetarity; reconceptions of alienation as a productive form of defamiliarization.
Format: Participants will propose suitable texts/images along with a short (750-word) introduction by August 1, from which the seminar reading list will be assembled. Selected texts and introductions will be pre-circulated. One possible outcome of the seminar could be an anthology of German-language works on other worlds and other planets.
11. Literary Translation and/as Scholarship
- Kurt Beals, University of Richmond, email@example.com
- Kristin Dickinson, University of Michigan, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Priscilla Layne, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, email@example.com
Abstract: This seminar considers the practice of translation in relation to academic scholarship. We will address pragmatic issues, such as the evaluation of translation in hiring decisions, tenure and promotion assessments, etc., as well as theoretical questions that arise for scholars who translate. Does the translator’s relationship to the text, or to its author, differ from the scholar’s? Is it possible to occupy both positions at once? In addition, we will devote time to a workshop-style discussion of translations in progress. Translations may be from German to English or vice versa. We welcome translation or subtitling projects undertaken for academic purposes (e.g., as part of a thesis or dissertation) as well as those intended for publication, teaching purposes, and other kinds of public distribution. The seminar discussion will include workshop-style feedback on the translation, but we will also consider how each translation is positioned within an academic context.
Format: Each participant will pre-circulate an excerpt (1500-3000 words) of the translation, along with the original, by September 1. Each participant will also serve as principal respondent to another participant’s translation. Brief additional readings (e.g. the MLA statement "Evaluating Translations as Scholarship") will be assigned, not to exceed 50 pages total.
- Traci O’Brien, Auburn University, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Christine Rinne, University of South Alabama, email@example.com
Abstract: German-language crime fiction was recently made more accessible to an English-speaking audience through anthologies such as Kutch and Herzog’s Tatort Germany. The Curious Case of German-Language Crime Fiction (2014) and Kniesche’s Contemporary German Crime Fiction (2019). In this seminar, we will use the genre's traditional imperative to make known the unknown, or as Ernst Bloch suggests, to bring the misdeed into the light, in order to explore a variety of "blind spots" in German-language crime fiction. For example: What kinds of things are "made known" and which are left in the shadowy unknown? What are the epistemological boundaries that regulate access? How might the ability of the genre to restructure the storytelling process be responsible for its continuing success in print and on screen? How might (changes in) technology impact who has access to knowledge? How can we use crime fiction in undergraduate classrooms to explore questions of culture?
Format: Participants will submit a 3000-word paper on a Krimi-related project by August 10. We will group the papers and a secondary article into three broader themes and discuss one each day. In addition to general engagement in discussions, participants will be paired and asked to provide feedback to their partner.
13. Marxisms and German Studies
- Alwin Franke, Stetson University, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Carl Gelderloos, Binghamton University (SUNY), email@example.com
- Mari Jarris, Cornell University, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ari Linden, University of Kansas, email@example.com
Abstract: In light of current political challenges like the climate catastrophe, the global resurgence of fascism, and the hegemony of capitalism, thinkers have been returning to Marx’s texts in order to contest and pluralize its legacies. Marxist perspectives continue to shape critical approaches from postcolonial studies to critiques of racial capitalism and ecocritical thought. While the work of Marx and the countless traditions that invoke his name are arguably more alive than ever, the relationship between German Studies and Marxisms remains curiously undefined. How can German Studies contribute to the crucial work of pluralizing Marxism, and what role can Marxisms play in defining the place of German Studies in an academy under increasing economic and political pressures? This seminar aims to expand understandings of what Marxism is and how German Studies can contribute to newly emerging debates in areas including Black Marxism, decolonial Marxism, feminist and queer Marxism, and indigenous Marxism.
Format: In this seminar, participants will workshop materials such as chapter or article excerpts, dissertation prospectuses, book proposals, or other texts relating to research and teaching on the seminar topic. Pre-circulated texts of no more than ten pages double-spaced will be due on September 12.
- Karolina Hicke, Swarthmore College, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Karolina May-Chu, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, email@example.com
Abstract: This seminar invites participants to discuss narrative strategies that capture diverse entanglements of people, plants, animals, and objects, for example, through non-human narrative perspectives, indefinable voice, or linguistic experimentation. Amid intensifying political and environmental crises, what are the effects and ethical implications of such storytelling approaches? Inspired by entwined perspectives on the literary imagination such as Maria Stehle’s study of literary form and aesthetics through a combined ecological and critical lens (2023) or Polish author Olga Tokarczuk’s call for a sensitive and feeling narrator who can counter self-centered narratives (2019), we will explore intersectional and comparative approaches to literature, (re)discover texts and authors, and exchange teaching ideas. Texts for consideration could include Sharon Dodua Otoo’s Adas Raum (2021) or W.G. Sebald’s Die Ringe des Saturn (1995), but participants can present German-language texts from any period or genre, as well as translations like Michael Pollan’s Die Botanik der Begierde (2002).
Format: Seminar participants will read pre-circulated articles (up to 50 pages) and submit 3-page reflection papers (due August 15) that engage with the theory through a literary example of their choice. At the seminar, each participant will briefly present their paper (10 minutes), followed by group discussion.
15. Neurodiverse German Studies
- Sonja Fritzsche, Michigan State University, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Jennifer Hoyer, University of Arkansas, email@example.com
Abstract: This seminar seeks to establish a community of neurodiverse (inclusive of all neurotypes), neuroqueering researchers/educators/activists and their allies in order to discuss and theorize what a neurodiverse, neuroqueering German Studies can be and do. We aim to open a discussion space where colleagues can become more familiar with the range of Neurodiversity Studies-related discourses and think through ND-related work and methodologies. We welcome scholars exploring or actively pursuing projects that consider neurodiversity and neurodivergence in theoretical and applied contexts, as they pertain to research, teaching, and service. This includes but is not limited to: neurodiversity and neurodivergence in cultural texts, as historical construct or methodological framework; projects that arise from conscious, intentional epistemological performance; projects that intentionally center or advocate for neurodivergent or neuroqueer thinking; projects in which the scholar situates their own neuroqueering or neurodivergence; projects that create and support a culture of neurodiversity among students, faculty, and staff.
Format: One month in advance, conveners will post three short theoretical essays, and participants will submit a 5-page project summary via Google drive. In preparation, participants will read the essays and project summaries. The seminar will begin with discussion of theoretical texts, followed by introduction and discussion of each submitted project.
- Mimi Cheng, German Historical Institute Washington, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Joseph Henry, CUNY Graduate Center, email@example.com
Abstract: This seminar examines the operational image, a concept that can be traced to the work of the filmmaker Harun Farocki. Instead of strictly representing things or ideas, these are image-types that belong to machinic processes not intended for human eyes, such as retinal scans. The concept of the operatives Bild has since been used by scholars including Volker Pantenburg, Thomas Elsaesser, and most recently, Jussi Parikka, to think through the role of images beyond their symbolic meaning and toward their actual application in technologized regimes of state power and social control. This seminar seeks to gather and analyze operational images across a broad historical range within German visual culture and examine how they perform, circulate, and choreograph action. Under what conditions are they produced and seen? What forms of viewership do they construct and deconstruct? How can the concept expand and complicate the study of art objects and media artifacts?
Format: Participants will present one example of an operational image for collective study and discussion, alongside any background reading (10 pages maximum), ultimately working toward a compendium of images. As preparation, participants will view 2-3 short films and read approximately 50 pages of text, which will be circulated one month prior.
- Barbara Hales, University of Houston- Clear Lake, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Valerie Weinstein, University of Cincinnati, email@example.com
Abstract: Recent work, like DeCelles’s Recollecting Lotte Eisner and Horak and Seyfert’s Enchanted by Cinema, applies contemporary methods such as queer historiography and postcolonial studies to overlooked archives of exile. Inspired by such scholarship, our seminar asks: How does it change our perspective on cinematic exile to look beyond Hollywood auteurs like Fritz Lang and Billy Wilder and experiment with new approaches? What happens if we focus on lesser-known directors and actors as well as writers, critics, and technicians? What if we widen the angle of our lens to capture cinematic migrations other than Berlin to Hollywood in the 1930s? We invite scholars at all career stages to share their research on cinematic exiles to and from Germany in any historical period. We especially welcome research into lesser-known filmmakers, migratory paths, and career pathways and scholarship that examines exile in conjunction with gender, sexuality, class, ethnicity, race, nation, and disability.
Format: Participants will receive roughly 60 pages of background readings and should pre-circulate 7-8 page papers by August 1. We expect seminar discussion and subsequent online collaboration to lead to an edited volume.
18. Poetry Doing Things
- May Mergenthaler, Ohio State University, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Lea Pao, Stanford University, email@example.com
Abstract: Poems can mourn, love, or celebrate; commemorate a friend, an event, or a hero; call for resistance or political action; formulate ideas; express emotions; and test or expand the possibilities of language. This seminar will explore questions of how poetry is doing these, and other, things, and examine how poetry’s capacity to act and do shapes our demands on the genre, by discussing selected theoretical and lyric texts from the 17th century to the present. We will approach poetry’s commitment to doing things from three angles: 1) as the poet’s task or impulse, 2) as the work of poetic form and language, and 3) as an imagined future or outcome. The seminar’s most relevant conceptualizations of poetic action will be proposed for publication in Konturen, followed by a panel series at the 2025 GSA expanding on those concepts, and an edited volume/special issue on Poetry Doing Things in 2026.
Format: Participants will be assigned three theoretical texts (60 pages) and ten poems, and write two 5-page position papers (1,250 words each) on one theoretical text and one poem, respectively (due August 15). Seminar discussions will be based on pre-circulated position papers alongside the primary sources.
- Alrik Daldrup, University of Cambridge, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Jeannette Oholi, Dartmouth College, email@example.com
- Laura Marie Sturtz, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Nürnberg-Erlangen, Laura.Sturtz@posteo.de
Abstract: Die deutschsprachige Literaturlandschaft ebenso wie die dazugehörigen Diskurse wandeln sich: Gegenwartsromane wie Salzmanns Außer sich, Otoos Adas Raum und Aydemirs Dschinns spielen eine wichtige Rolle in gesellschaftlichen Aushandlungsprozessen um Migration, Sprache, Gender und Erinnerung. Sie erzählen nicht nur vielfältige Positionalitäten, Erfahrungen, Geschichten und Identitäten, sondern schaffen auch neue (Erzähl-)Formen und Ästhetiken. Anders als eine rein autofiktionale Lesart dieser Romane oder eine Negierung ihrer Ästhetiken unter dem Stichwort des populären Realismus (Baßler) adressiert das Seminar neue Lesarten und methodisch-theoretische Zugänge. Fokussiert werden Formen des politischen Schreibens mit dem Ziel, Theorien und Methoden für die Erforschung gegenwärtiger Romane zu diskutieren. Im Mittelpunkt stehen folgende Fragen: Was macht politisches Schreiben in der Gegenwartsliteratur aus? Inwiefern lässt sich mit Blick auf die Romane von einer (neuen) politischen Ästhetik sprechen? (Wie) unterscheidet sie sich von anderen Formen politischen Schreibens in der Vergangenheit? Welche Theorien und Methoden eignen sich, um Gegenwartsliteratur zu analysieren?
Format: Auf der Basis einer Leseliste relevanter Primärtexte liegt der Fokus auf der Diskussion theoretischer Ansätze. Pro Sitzungstag werden hierfür im Mai/Juni zwei bis drei Sekundärtexte (ca. 60 Seiten) bereitgestellt. Teilnehmende tragen mit einem Impulsbeitrag (ca. 8 min) und/oder einer (Gruppen-)Moderation zum Seminar bei. Eine gemeinsame Publikation ist angedacht. Sprache: Deutsch/Englisch.
- Florian Bock, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mark Ruff, Saint Louis University, email@example.com
Abstract: This seminar probes the complex relationship between religion and secularism in Germany and its societal consequences. It is easy but misleading to postulate a fundamentally hostile relationship between these two. For one, Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism, and Islam were anything but homogenous; significant differences existed not only between but within each over how to position oneself in politics, society and the so-called "modern" world with its default assumption of secularity. For another, secularism and secularity were not coherent concepts. Secularism ran the gamut from laicité and anticlericalism to free-thinking, materialism, agnosticism, and atheism. Secular ideas emerged out of religious institutions and inquiry – and vice versa; religious discussions of gender, sexuality, and capitalism were shaped by complicated interactions with secularist views. This seminar aims to explore how religion and secularism defined themselves and each other vis-à-vis the other and its impact on the lives of the faithful, indifferent and skeptical.
Format: This seminar is structured around seminal texts and recent publications, such as those by Todd Weir. Discussion questions and readings – approximately six essays and book chapters (175 pages) – will be announced in June. By September 15, participants will pre-circulate a 2-3 page reflection on methodological questions and their own research.
- Mark Vail, Wake Forest University, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sarah Elise Wiliarty, Wesleyan University, email@example.com
Abstract: Since the early 2000s, Germany’s post-war model, has been beset by a series of social, economic, and political shocks. Germany’s social market economy traditionally protected firms and labor in strategic export-intensive sectors, while frequently excluding actors outside these sectors, especially racial minorities and women. The model worked for decades even through unification (with some modifications). But a series of challenges – the European sovereign debt crisis, the refugee crisis, Covid-19, the rise of the Alternative for Germany, and the climate crisis – has put this model under intense strain, leading to an ongoing reconsideration of its beneficiaries, distribution of burdens, and lines of inclusion and exclusion. This seminar will investigate these questions across a wide range of policy, social, and institutional domains, including Germany’s Social Market Economy, its response to the mounting climate crisis, authoritarian challenges to German democracy, gender relations, the party system, immigration, and foreign policy.
Format: Each participant will submit a paper of 20-30 pages approximately one month prior to the conference. All participants will be expected to read all papers, but each paper will have an assigned discussant. Papers will be discussed in thematic groups based on topic, depending on submissions.
- Elizabeth Drummond, Loyola Marymount University, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Andrew Evans, State University of New York, New Paltz, email@example.com
- Hillary Herzog, University of Kentucky, firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: Recent scholarly developments in German Studies and German history, including in Black German Studies, Asian German Studies, migration studies, and postcolonial studies, have moved the field beyond the nation-state to focus on comparative and transnational approaches to understanding German history and culture. How can we bring these scholarly developments into the classroom and thus contribute to universities’ efforts to globalize and decolonize their curricula? How can we break out of the framework of the nation-state in teaching German history and culture? How can we introduce transnational and global perspectives in our teaching? Inspired by the success of past teaching seminars, this seminar invites participants to workshop syllabi and major assignments focused on exploring how Germany has been and is connected – in various ways – with the world. Our goal is to generate new approaches to teaching global Germany that also highlight active student learning and digital tools/resources.
Format: Before the conference, participants will submit a syllabus or assignment and identify questions or issues to discuss. Following a brief introduction on day 1, we will discuss and workshop the teaching materials submitted. We’ll conclude day 3 with a conversation about the lessons of the seminar’s pedagogical and design discussions.
Abstract: Martin Schulze Wessel’s recent book, Der Fluch des Imperiums: Die Ukraine, Polen und der Irrweg in der russischen Geschichte (C.H. Beck 2023), examines the histories of Ukraine and Poland in the context of inter-imperial politics connecting Russia and German-speaking territories from the 18th to the 21st century. Exploring these links has acquired particular urgency for scholars of German Studies in light of Russia’s egregious political course today. We welcome contributions on some of the following and related themes: collapse of empires and imperial temporalities (restoration of imperial consciousness, retro-utopianism, Ostalgie); hauntology; memory cultures and politics; internal colonialism; decolonization; gender and empire; empire and migration; geopolitics past and present; second-order imperialism; (inventing) Eastern Europe (Larry Wolff); bloodlands (Timothy Snyder); theories of exceptionalism. A variety of disciplinary approaches is encouraged, including history, political science, literary and cultural studies, film and media studies, philosophy, sociology, etc.
Format: The seminar will be based on discussions of pre-circulated papers of no more than 3,000 words (due by August 5); participants will give five-minute presentations to initiate the discussions. We will also provide a list of theoretical readings (about 40 pages) as a common basis for discussion.
- John Lyon, Georgia Tech, email@example.com
- Heather Sullivan, Trinity University, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Holly Yanacek, James Madison University, email@example.com
Abstract: Recently, the concept of "care" has attracted increased attention within and beyond academia, especially since COVID. This seminar aims to explore the historical-cultural roots of "care," particularly during the long nineteenth century, when medical care became institutionalized and seen as labor; when care for the environment confronted rapid industrialization; when scientists and colonizers wrought ecological destruction while transporting flora, fauna, and people across oceans in order to "care" for them in gardens or zoos; where changing gender norms demanded a re-evaluation of care as "women’s work"; and where ascendant materialism transformed the philosophical, moral, and ethical underpinnings of care. The seminar invites contributions from diverse areas (environmentalism, medical humanities, gender studies, emotion studies, disability studies, philosophy, etc.) to show how broadly this term was applied, how its meaning shifted in the course of the nineteenth century, and what impact this has on our theoretical and conceptual engagements with "care" today.
Format: Seminar participants will submit a paper of 4-6 pages four weeks before the conference. Pre-circulated papers will be grouped thematically, presented briefly, and discussed by an assigned respondent. The conveners will provide readings in advance to give authors some common reference points. Interdisciplinarity is welcome and highly encouraged.
- Manuela Achilles, University of Virginia, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Erin Hochman, Southern Methodist University, email@example.com
- James McSpadden, University of Nevada, Reno, firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: More than a century after its emergence in the turbulent aftermath of the First World War, Weimar Germany remains a productive site for the exploration of Western-style modernity. If anything, the resurgence of far-right and neo-fascist politics has intensified interest in the republic’s struggle for democracy and its catastrophic demise. This seminar seeks to gain a better understanding of where this scholarly field has been and where it might be going. How can we think and speak of the first German democracy in ways other than teleological narratives of impending doom, while also avoiding anachronistic analogies? Can we place the republic in transatlantic or global contexts that embrace the openness—and, indeed, promise—of the first German democracy? What did Weimar, in all its complexity and diversity, look and feel like? Our goal is to map out the broader field of Weimar studies and explore opportunities for collaboration.
Format: By early September, participants will pre-circulate both an extended abstract (5-10 pages) of a larger project (article, dissertation, book, etc.) and a related primary source (image, video, or short text). These documents, alongside short presentations from each participant, will form the basis for the daily discussions among all participants.