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News

Three-Session "Thread" Limit Waived for 2016

Our recent announcement that "threads" or "strings" of thematically related conference topics would be limited to three sessions per topic has resulted in concern on the part of some of our members.

Accordingly, we’ve decided to waive that limitation for this year’s conference, and revisit the matter at the next meeting of the Executive Board in late September.

The original decision to limit the number of thematically linked sessions was based on the concern that “mini-conferences” might develop within the larger conference, and discourage the interdisciplinarity that is one of the hallmarks of our association.

Again, we’re waiving the three-session limitation for 2016, and will revisit the issue later.

2016 Submissions Now Open

The GSA website is open for submissions for the 40th annual conference, which will take place at the Town and Country Resort in San Diego, California, from 29 September through 2 October 2016. For general conference information, please go to https://www.thegsa.org/conference/current.html. There you will see a series of clickable links; these include our call for papers, conference submission guidelines, information about our interdisciplinary Networks, information about the 2016 seminars, and a link that will allow you to begin the submission process.

Please note four major points:

  • You must have paid your 2016 membership dues before you can submit a proposal.
  • The GSA only accepts online submissions. We do not accept paper submissions.
  • The deadline for submitting enrollment applications for the seminars is 28 January 2016.
  • The deadline for submitting all other proposals (individual papers, complete sessions, or roundtables) is 15 February 2016.

Seminar applicants will be informed of the results of their applications by 6 February. The Program Committee will review all other proposals after 15 February. The complete, tentative program should be online by late April or early May 2016. Non-North American members may wish to inform themselves about the GSA travel fund, described at https://www.thegsa.org/prizes/travel_grants.html

Technical questions about conference submissions should be directed to Elizabeth Fulton at the GSA Help Desk (helpdesk@thegsa.org). Membership questions should be directed, in English or German, to Ursula Gray at the Johns Hopkins University Press (UG@press.jhu.edu). The 2016 Program Director is Professor Todd Heidt, Knox College (theidt@knox.edu).

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

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.

 

GSA Announces Fundraising Effort

The German Studies Association is embarking on a fundraising effort and seeks contributions from members and non-members alike to help grow its Endowment Fund. This will help ensure a healthy future for the 2,100 member organization and its numerous activities and benefits, including a robust annual conference, its scholarly journal, travel grant program, enhanced technology, expanded collaboration and communication opportunities, a sound administrative structure, and more.

The GSA also welcomes contributions to ongoing activities and programs, such as those listed below. Visit our secure Contribution page to make your donation.

You will find a number of contribution categories available:

  • GSA Endowment Fund: To build an Endowment of $5 million by 2020 and thereby provide adequate funding for the Association’s continuing vitality in its next 40 years (the GSA celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2016).
  • General Fund/GSA Operations: To help cover some of the increasing costs of operating the GSA throughout the year without having to raise significantly member dues.
  • Sybil Halpern Milton Prize Endowment: To provide funds permanently for the prize, named after a long-time GSA member and important scholar, in the field of Holocaust Studies.
  • Annual Conference Fund: To help defray the costs of the Annual GSA conference, including traditional (speaker) and new programs (seminars, networks, exchanges, new technology)
  • GSA Travel Fund: To assist members without institutional or other travel funding to participate in the GSA conference in greater numbers.
  • Publications Fund: To support the GSA journal, German Studies Review, as well as its book publication program, Spektrum.
  • Sustaining Membership: A set amount ($50) to help support the Association in all of its activities, both current and new.

All contributions to the GSA, which is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization according to U.S Federal Law, are tax deductible to US tax payers.

The GSA can also make arrangements for recurring contributions or estate planning. For information on these programs or to discuss the priorities for this fundraising effort, contact GSA Secretary-Treasurer Gerald Fetz.