Call For Papers
Symposium: “Sind Sie sicher?” Surveillance, (Post-) Privacy and Security
Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. November 8, 2014
Deadline for submissions: June 1
In 2009, authors Ilija Trojanow and Juli Zeh published a polemic text entitled Angriff auf die Freiheit (Attack on Freedom), in which they denounced the rapid erosion of personal freedoms, democratic values and private sphere due to government-sponsored surveillance and data collection. Now, half a decade later, the authors’ vehement outcries resonate perhaps even more urgently with readers in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations on the surveillance methods of the NSA during the summer of 2013. When Trojanow was denied entry to the US last fall, he and many others viewed this as a direct result of his public criticism voiced against the NSA and called upon the German government to issue a formal statement denouncing such practices. These events dovetailed with the media debacle surrounding the tapping of German Chancellor Merkel’s cell phone and her public confrontation with US President Obama (leading to the tongue in cheek German rebranding of Obama’s own election slogan: “Yes, we scan!”). By the end of 2013, practices of surveillance, security and privacy had become alarmingly pressing issues of global concern.
In light of these recent developments, our symposium seeks to grapple with the questions that this paradigm shift raises for German Studies, in particular, and other intersecting disciplines such as Gender Studies, Film and Media Studies, History, Political Science, Philosophy, etc. What theories can be used to analyze the reconfiguration of the private sphere? How are civil rights to be re-conceptualized in “post-privacy” societies? What imaginative and creative approaches in literature, film and television are used to tackle issues of censorship, security and surveillance? What contributions can genre-specific works (such as travel writing or futuristic science fiction) make to these debates? How are intersections between technology (e.g. biometrics, media surveillance), security and/or terrorism processed? We are also interested in how past iterations and memories of surveillance, control and terrorism in German-speaking cultures (e.g. the cultural legacy of the GDR or RAF terrorism) inform current debates. Finally, we must ask what pedagogical implications these issues have for our roles as educators. How are content, methodologies and (technological) practices in higher education impacted by censorship?
Submission: Please submit an abstract of 350 words, outlining your approach’s (inter)disciplinary methodology and theory by June 1st, 2014 to Tessa Wegener and Sunka Simon, Dept. of MLL, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA 19081.
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Dr. Tessa Wegener
Visiting Assistant Professor
Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
Office: Kohlberg 337
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