From: JISC Roger Woods
Subject: CFP: Conference on German Life-Writing in the 20th Century

Dear Colleagues,
Below is a call for papers for a conference in March 2007 at the University of Nottingham on German Life-Writing in the Twentieth Century. The deadline for abstracts is 19 September 2006.
Roger Woods
University of Nottingham

Call for Papers

German Life-Writing in the Twentieth Century
International, interdisciplinary conference from 24-26 March 2007 at the University of Nottingham, UK

The conference will examine German autobiographical writing after major turning points in Germany's history in the twentieth century, including the First World War, the Nazi era, the collapse of socialism and German Unification. These turning points prompted an outpouring of autobiographical writing with a variety of purposes related to the point in time when they were written. They may have been produced in diary form as events unfolded or long after the event in the form of autobiographical prose, but common to them all is the attempt by individuals to make sense of their experiences and to reassess their lives against a background of a broader public reassessment of the past and struggles to promote a particular interpretation of that past.
The conference will bring together researchers working in the areas of literature, history, politics, and cultural studies to address three key issues:
1.      How has the broadening of our understanding of what sources may be regarded as autobiographical - from traditional (literary) autobiography to published and unpublished diaries, letters, interviews and related texts - affected our understanding of recent history and the significance of autobiography itself?
2.      Some historians now argue that accounts of the past that deal with social structures and institutions do not capture the tensions and the full complexity of individuals' lives. To what extent does the study of personal accounts and sources that take the individual as their starting point reveal a complexity and subtlety of human experience which deepens our understanding of societies that have undergone major upheavals?
3.      How do the factors of generation, gender, religion, social class, cultural and geographical background shape individuals' interpretations of their lives, and how do individuals locate themselves in larger historical narratives?
At the conference the University of Nottingham's Writer in Residence, Annett Gröschner, will discuss her 1998 book Jeder hat sein eigenes Stück Berlin gekriegt. This collection of literary portraits is told in the first person and based on Gröschner's interviews at an East Berlin Erzählcafé with an older generation of Berliners shortly after German Unification in which they related their life-stories from the Weimar period to the end of the GDR.
Abstracts (max. 150 words, in German or English), indicating how the paper addresses one or more of the three key issues outlined above, together with a one-page cv, should be submitted via email or letter by 19 September 2006 to all three conference organisers:

Birgit Dahlke
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Phil. Fakultät II
Institut für deutsche Literatur
Hegelplatz 2
10099 Berlin

Dennis Tate
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Department of German Studies
University of Bath
Bath BA 7AY

Roger Woods
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Department of German Studies
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham NG7 2RD

The conference languages are English and German, and the organisers anticipate that the proceedings will be published in the UK and/or Germany. Financial support for participants from abroad may be available.

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