The German Graduate Student Governance Association
of the University of Cincinnati
and the editors of the graduate student journal
Focus on German Studies
Thirteenth Annual Focus Graduate Student Conference
held on October 31- November 1, 2008
at the University of Cincinnati
“Mediating the Message: The Poetics of Communication in German
Literature, Language, Film and Culture.”
On September 12, 2001, German newspapers unanimously ran the headline:
“Nothing will ever remain the same again!” Five years later, Katharina
Hacker’s novel “Die Habenichtse” argues the exact opposite. In a world
where war and terror is delivered on our doorstep or into our inbox
every morning, people live in a world of make-believe rather than
reality. German authors and filmmakers have concerned themselves with
the interplay between this traumatic attack and its media coverage. They
depict a distorted perception of reality toying with images that were
broadcast in the media. German intellectuals discuss the (mis)use of
power that tools of communication have always been prone to: the power
to convey ideas, images, concepts and thoughts that have shaped our
cultural knowledge and influenced individuals or entire people for
centuries. In the age of digital media, ideas and notions are now
transmitted in the blink of an eye. However, the question of reality and
validity remains open.
Analyzing communication processes—and the layers in between— exposes the
failure that may lead to far-reaching problems of incomprehensible
dimensions. This conference seeks to stimulate discussion on how these
communication processes work in the framework of literary texts and
films. We would like to address following questions:
> What kinds of roles do theories of communication play in literature and film?
> How have communication processes changed over time?
> How do cultures communicate with each other within literature and film?
> In what way do images and texts correlate and communicate with each other?
> How do genders communicate with each other in literature and film?
> How are the media depicted in literature and film?
> How is the question of reality addressed in literature and film?
> What role do the media play in canon formation?
We invite graduate students from all disciplines to submit paper
proposals responding to these or similar questions related to the
interplay between communication, literature, film and culture in modern
or pre-modern time periods. Possible topics include, but are by no means
- communication theories in literature (e.g. Luhmann)
- communicating criticism: the media in the eye of literature
- philosophical notions of media and technology (e.g. Benjamin,
Frankfurt School, etc.)
- intercultural communication in literature and film (e.g.
Migrantenliteratur und –film)
- depiction of media in literature and film (e.g. treatment of war,
terrorism, politics in the media that is interpreted by authors,
intellectuals and films)
- discussion in literary media (literature debate of the 90s,
- literary awards and their media coverage (Büchner-Preis,
Hölderlin-Preis, Bachmann-Preis etc.)
- gender-based modes of communication in literature and film
- interplay between text and images in literature and film
- themes of globalization and technology in literature and film
- interplay between music and film
- image of “Amerika” in German literature and film
- intercultural communication in second language acquisition
- interplay between narrator and plot
- language of the media: between fact and fiction / communication or
- spread of information in medieval/ early modern time periods
(e.g. use of Gutenberg printing press)
Revised conference papers can also be submitted for publication in our
Focus on German Studies journal. Information on the keynote speaker will
be announced soon. Please send an abstract of 250-300 words in either
English or German as a MS Word attachment by September 1, 2008 to
Alexandra Hagen and Marie Buesch at [log in to unmask] (ATTN: Focus
on GS Conference). On a separate cover sheet, please list the proposed
paper title, author's name, university affiliation and email address.
Conference participants have the option of housing with UC graduate
* * * * *
Alexandra Hagen, Editor-in-chief
Marie Buesch, Book Review Editor
Focus on German Studies
University Of Cincinnati ML 0372
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0372 USA
Phone (513) 556-2752
Fax (513) 556-1991
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The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Stefani Engelstein
Assistant Editor: Megan McKinstry
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
Info available at: http://www.missouri.edu/~graswww/resources/gerlistserv.html