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CFP: Between Historisation, Nostalgia and Mythmaking (UK)

From:         Helmut Schmitz <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Call for Submissions: Between Historisation, Nostalgia and Mythmaking

Call for Submissions:
 
The journal “Seminar. A Journal of Germanic Studies” invites article submissions to a Special Theme Between Historisation, Nostalgia and Mythmaking: Contemporary German Culture looking back at the two Germanys’ with Guest Editor Helmut Schmitz, University of Warwick, UK.

With German unification in 1990 the two German states had become ‘historical’, however much the Anschluss’ of the five new federal states conveyed the impression of continuity. In the aftermath of 1990 nearly all established political positions and securities of the ‘old’ Federal Republic were re-positioned. The political changes had considerable effects on the literary landscape, from the debate about the ‘Gesinnungsästhetik’, via the ‘Vergangenheitsbewältigung Ost’ and the shifts in the discourse of memory of National Socialism to the recent ‘Pop-Literature’ phenomenon.

When Hanns-Josef Ortheil suspected in 1995 that the literature of the GDR would yet have to be written, he referred to a literature that would reflect the social everyday without being clouded by political ideology. The new look at the historical everyday in the East, desired by Ortheil, has over the last years become reality for the ‘new’ Federal Republic as a whole. Over the last decade there has been a wave of literary and essayistic works, as well as films that approach the societies of East and West from a historicising, memorising and nostalgic perspective. One characteristic of many of these texts is the frequently transfiguring, but also often ironic look at the respective society from an adolescent perspective (e.g. Matthias Politycki’s Weiberroman, Thomas Brussig’s Am kürzeren Ende der Sonnenallee). Pop culture, the world of consumer goods and the vita sexualis play a more decisive role than the political events of the day which at most make up the background of these narratives. While the West is in the grip of the 'Glaubenskrieg Adidas gegen Puma’ (David Wagner, Meine nachtblaue Hose), the East clings to the Spreewaldgurken (Wolfgang Becker, Good-bye, Lenin). Whether Ost- or Westalgie, the trend towards generational explanatory models in the public reception of the Lebensgefühl expressed in these texts is conspicuous (‘Generation Berlin’, ‘Generation Golf/Wartburg’). To what extent are the current representations of the different German pasts, from a historicising or nostalgic perspective, engaged in a re-writing of established cultural narratives? In how far is contemporary German cultural production catching up with Anglo-American phenomena that have already been described as typical for ‘post-modern’ culture by Andreas Huyssen (‘mnemonic fever’) and Fredric Jameson (pastiche and nostalgia) over a decade ago?
 
Submit manuscripts to Helmut Schmitz, Dept of German Studies, University of Warwick by 30 Oct, 2006.
For further information contact:

Guest Editor Helmut Schmitz, [log in to unmask], and/or
Editor, “Seminar”, Raleigh Whitinger,
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Consult also: http://www.humanities.ualberta.ca/seminar/
 
 
 
Dr Helmut Schmitz
Dept of German Studies
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL
Tel: 024/76 572524
email:
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