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GERMAN-CFP-L  October 2010

GERMAN-CFP-L October 2010

Subject:

CFP: 'Modernity at Large' and its Imaginaries in Germany and Beyond (deadline: 12/31/2010; date: March 4&5 2011

From:

Christoph Schaub <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Thu, 14 Oct 2010 22:45:23 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (94 lines)

"Modernity at Large" and its Imaginaries in Germany and Beyond
10th annual Columbia University German Graduate Student Conference

Deutsches Haus, Columbia University, March 4 & 5, 2011

As a guiding research paradigm, postmodernity is certainly dead by  
now. Instead, talk about modernity is on the rise again. Buzz words  
like 'modernity at large', 'alternative modernities', and 'multiple  
modernities' call for us to rethink modernity and aesthetic modernism:  
as multi-layered, shared as well as divided and, most importantly,  
non-convergent. And while we still may not know what modernity really  
is, we have begun to acknowledge a simple fact: the entangled history  
of the modern world does not imply that modernity is the same  
everywhere, that it produces the same institutions or experiences in  
New York, Lagos, or Mumbai, or that aesthetic modernism designates the  
same thing in Shanghai, Buenos Aires, or Berlin. As a heuristic  
perspective, 'modernity at large' stresses socio-culturally situated  
'creative adaptations' of circulating cultural, social, aesthetic, and  
media-forms. Can this framework move us simultaneously beyond narrow  
particularisms and artificial universalisms? What would it mean to  
apply a postcolonial lens to view German modernity? What if we  
consider the European cultural and national space a frame for a  
multilayered perception of modernity instead of a one-dimensional one?  
How would this affect our notions of the Western cultural canon?

Approaching ‘modernity at large' through a German lens touches upon  
many facets. A prominent one would be the interaction of metropolis  
and periphery – be that through the relationship between the  
Wilhelmine Empire and its African colonies or the new ‘East-West’  
imaginaries motivated by the demise of the German Democratic Republic  
and the growing numbers of immigrants since the early 1960s. Another  
approach would be to address the 'systemic difference' of various  
forms of social organization in a state dimension.  Modernity has  
mostly been conceived in terms of its liberal capitalist context.  
Given German history, it seems crucial to consider socialist and  
fascist concepts of modernity as well. Gender and Minority Studies  
have stressed that the 'inner-fracturedness' of modern societies by  
gender, sexuality, class and race makes the concept of a  
one-dimensional modernity hardly convincing. However, how do we  
understand these various lines of division in relation to different  
processes of cultural interaction (transculturality, hybridity)? How  
does all this correspond to alternative cultural practices and  
aesthetic forms? And in what ways have ‘marginalized’ subjects used  
modernist artistic techniques for different ends than their mainstream  
competitors? The conference hopes to emphasize such alternative  
cultural practices and aesthetic forms.

Given this broad and interdisciplinary perspective, we invite  
contributions from all disciplines. While we welcome papers that  
discuss either theoretical issues or specific cultural practices and  
socio-historical constellations, we particularly encourage  
presentations that combine case studies and conceptual reflections.  
Topics may include but are not limited to:

• non-canonical aesthetic practices, e.g. communist agitprop in Weimar  
or contemporary rap music
• Migrant literatures
• cultural production in the GDR, cultural production in the FGR
• German studies in a globalizing age, multicultural Germany
• The feminist press, e.g. Emma in Germany or des femmes in France
• Queer studies
• Black European studies
• street art
• visual culture, perception, and women's modernity
• working-class cultural production
• the concept of alternative modernities in the perspective of  
different social theories (systems theory, intersectionaltiy, etc.)
• shared and divided metropolitan cultures
• modernities beyond the space of the city
• canonical writers reconsidered within a framework of ‘modernity at large’
• youth- and subcultures

Please submit a 300 word abstract for a 15-20 minute paper by December  
31 2010 to [log in to unmask] Proposals should include  
the title of the paper, presenter's name, institutional and  
departmental affiliation.

Conference-Organizers:
Sophie Alexander
Christoph Schaub
Yvonne Zivkovic

Columbia University
Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures
414 Hamilton Hall
1130 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10027

*******************
The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Stefani Engelstein
Assistant Editor:  Olaf Schmidt
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
Info available at: http://grs.missouri.edu/resources/gerlistserv.html

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