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GERMAN-CFP-L  November 2006

GERMAN-CFP-L November 2006

Subject:

CfP

From:

Shaswati Mazumdar <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

German Studies CFP Forum <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 10 Nov 2006 07:49:47 -0600

Content-Type:

multipart/mixed

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (60 lines) , Seminar 2007.doc (60 lines)

Conference: The Contentious Question of Culture(s) in Contemporary Societies

Dates: 3/1/2007-3/3/2006

Submission of abstracts (200-300 words): 15 December 2006

Organised by the Department of Germanic and Romance Studies, University of
Delhi, Delhi, India, E-mail: [log in to unmask]

URL: http://www.du.ac.in/conf.html

Culture emerged as a keyword at the turn of the eighteenth to the nineteenth
centuries, as a term imbued with changing meanings and questions in reaction
to the experience of modernization. Its inflationary use in more recent
times draws attention to the experience of more recent changes, from
decolonisation to the contemporary process of globalisation and the
increasing migration of people both within and across national borders.
International migrants according to estimates today account for the world’s
fifth most populous “country”. Dramatic changes in demographic composition
are being further fuelled by ongoing forms of political integration such as
the process of Europeanisation. In this context, the multiple meanings
invested in the word culture are markers of real, often violent contemporary
conflicts as well as of their frequent mythification. From multiculturalism
to wars in the name of culture, from disputes on history to debates on state
policy, the question of culture(s) has evidently become a central concern in
responses to the nature of contemporary society and its future, even as it
stands in apparent contradiction to the decidedly economic forces driving
the processes of change.

Not surprisingly, the use of the word culture, and its often-unstated
assumptions, has given rise to considerable theoretical controversy. What
exactly do we mean when we talk of culture? Is it associated with language,
ethnicity, religion, nationality, a civilization, a way of life or everyday
social practices? Is it conceived as relatively unchanging, as something
that is threatened by the impact with other ‘cultures’ or as a set of ideas
and practices that is subject to historical and social change? How are these
notions of culture affected by the changing forms of political, economic and
military domination and the vicissitudes of the postcolonial world?
Questions of representation and interpretation of cultures have greatly
impacted on these theoretical debates, both in the field of the social
sciences and in the study of literature, film and the arts. Curiously, the
debates have even entered the field of the natural sciences as seen in the
coining of the word ‘meme’ as a unit of cultural information in analogy to
the word gene.

The seminar will bring together scholars from different disciplines to
address these questions. It will explore the various notions of culture
underlying contemporary debates, the artistic forms with which writers and
other artists have reflected on these notions and their social and political
implications. 


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The German Studies Call for Papers List
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