Where East Meets West?: Encounters between ‘Germans’ and ‘the Other’

Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, University of Pennsylvania
February 21st, 2014

National identity has often been tied uncritically to geographic and linguistic boundaries. One way in which German national identity has been constructed is in its relation, and, indeed, opposition, to cultures and peoples beyond its Eastern frontier: the ‘Oriental’, the ‘Ottoman’, the ‘Slav’, the ‘Ostjude’. However, any attempt to constrain national identity to a discrete list of traits, beliefs, or opinions would be as impossible as trying to constrain a sense of Germanness to a particular geographic location or vernacular. Borders, languages, and identities are fluid, ever-changing, and changeable. And, in any case, where Germany ‘ends’ and where the East ‘begins’ has been contested and unstable throughout history into modern times. Encounters between peoples are never one-sided; thus it is important to consider the perspectives of those writing on both sides of the ‘border’. This conference will set out to explore and problematize the relationship between geography and identity and the meaning of the terms ‘Other’ and ‘German’. We welcome submissions from a wide range of disciplines, including German Studies, Comparative Literature, Slavic, Jewish Studies, East Asian Studies, and Near East Asian and Middle Eastern Studies.
Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
• Representations of ‘the Orient’ in German-language literature
• Literatures written in languages other than German which offer representations of ‘Germanness’ or relationships with Germans
• German-language literature written outside of traditional German geographic boundaries, such as German minority communities
• Literature dealing with German identity as linked to a specific topos
• Translation, reception, adaptation, staging of the German Canon in ‘the East’, and the ‘Eastern’ canon in Germany

We are excited to announce that Professor David Gramling of the University of Arizona will provide the keynote address.

Please send a 300-500 word abstract and a short biography to Didem Uca and Tom Tearney ateastmeetswestupenn@gmail.com with the subject heading “Abstract” by December 15, 2013

About livelongday

Associate Professor of German Studies, Director of Graduate Studies Co-Editor of Critical Multilingualism Studies | cms.arizona.edu Co-Investigator, Researching Multilingually at the Borders of Language, the Body, Law, and the State (2014–2017)
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