2017 CfP

CfP 2017 SEGSC

CfP: War and Culture, Social Justice/Rights, Mobility/Migration/Borders – Tenth Southeastern German Studies Workshop – Charleston, SC, 9-10 March 2017


Seeing the ongoing need for a forum for scholarly exchange and conversation among German Studies professors and students in the Southeast, the Southeast German Studies Consortium (SEGSC) convened its first workshop in 2008. Since then, annual workshops with thirty to fifty senior and junior faculty members and students with strong interests in German Studies who are based in the Southeastern United States have been taking place at various universities in the region. Like its predecessors, the Tenth SEGSC Workshop in 2017 will revolve around invigorating and collegial discussions of the participants’ short, pre-­‐circulated position papers. The meeting eschews formal panel presentations in favor of more democratic group discussions of these papers. The position papers will address one of the workshop’s three central themes, reflecting subjects that have animated recent scholarship in field.


The 2017 workshop’s themes are “War and Culture,” “Social Justice/Rights,” and “Mobility/Borders/Migration.” In recognition of the 500-year anniversary of Martin Luther’s theses, all of the panels will engage religion as a vector for justice, mobility, and war.   The keynote lecture will be given by Professor Thomas Lekan (University of South Carolina), a senior scholar of humanity’s impact on the environment, on sustainability. His research also engages with the values that shape our relationship with the natural world. For more information, go to http://segsc.cofc.edu/program/panels/.


Prospective participants from a broad array of fields (including but not limited to literature and language, history, cultural and film studies, musicology, and political science) whose work touches on German Studies from the medieval period to the present day are invited to submit a short paper abstract (150 words) and indicate which one of the three themes they wish to address. Submissions should include name, affiliation, position, and contact details (demonstrating location at an institution in the southeastern USA). The deadline for submissions is 25 November 2016. Selected workshop participants will be informed by mid-December. These participants are then expected to submit their three-­‐page position papers to the organizers by 1 February 2017. The SEGSC seeks to cover one night’s lodging in downtown Charleston and the workshop’s meals.   Because of the nature of the workshop and the model of funding participants’ housing costs, the total number of invitees will be limited to a maximum of 35-40.  For more information about the conference, or to submit a topic, please email the chair of the organizing committee, Bryan Ganaway, at ganawayb@cofc.edu.


War and Culture: In 1517 Martin Luther published a series of debating points that began a decades-long fight over the proper form of Christianity in the early 16th century. In 1617 Archduke Ferdinand of Austria became King of Bohemia; his subjects’ opposition to this appointment ignited a religious war that soon turned into a conflict about nationality. In 1917 the Kaiserreich knocked Imperial Russia and Romania out of WWI, destroyed the Italian Army as an offensive force, and prepared to make a desperate lunge at France in 1918 in order to ensure that the end of the war would lead to German hegemony on the continent. This panel seeks to explore how war has shaped culture from the medieval era to the present.

Topics might include, but are not limited to: 30 Years War(s) – 1618-1648 and/or 1914-1945; war and religion; war and nationalism; the home front; mobilization; gender; race; memory; mass death and genocide; pacificism; mourning; re-integration; sexuality.


Theme 2: Social Justice and Rights: In the twenty-first century the Federal Republic of Germany is a global beacon for human rights and social justice. It combines a liberal political order, a robust welfare state, an innovative economy focused on sustainability with a well-educated and cosmopolitan population. How have German-speaking societies defined and debated justice and rights since the medieval era. How have these conversations shaped understandings about justice and rights in the rest of the world? Does the German system provide a model for other parts of the world, including the USA?

Topics might include, but are not limited to: religion as an engine or obstacle for justice and rights; how has justice been defined over time and where does it come from; what is a right and who or what should get it; the removal of rights from unwanted minorities; do rights come from the nation or from trans-national organizations?


Theme 3: Mobility, Borders, and Migration: The Federal Republic is at the center of a contemporary debate about the nature of mobility, borders, and migration in the European Union. Chancellor Angela Merkel is determined that Germany will fulfill all of its treaty obligations as a destination for immigrants and refugees and many voters support her. Large numbers of German citizens as well as many other EU voters would like to see borders recreated and mobility restricted. For example, on 23 June 2016 voters in United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. How do borders function both on the ground and in our minds? Are they places for the free exchange of people, goods and ideas? Or is American writer Cormac McCarthy’s vision of them as places with no laws and terrible violence in novels such as No Country for Old Men more accurate?

Topics might include, but are not limited to: how has movement across borders shaped German culture; was/is “Germany” a land of migration; how have fears/hopes about borders shaped sentiments around race, gender, the nation, or class; How do borders and religious beliefs interact; What did borders mean in the medieval or early modern period; How have borders been represented in art, music, and writing; do terms like transnationalism and globalization accurately encapsulate how borders function; do borders sometimes enable the creation of “bloodlands” á la Timothy Snyder; is the Federal Republic the engine for a borderless Europe?