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2007 Conference of the German Studies Association in San Diego, California October 4-7, 2007

Germany-Poland: Border Studies

The fall of the Wall, the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, the Unification of the two Germanies and the unification of Europe, all in short order brought dynamic changes to Europe's borders.  The end of the Cold War and the expansion of the European Union had special significance for the Polish-German border.   Over the last decade this border has been the site of intense geo-political and cultural transformations—intensifying relationships, expanding contact, and raising old anxieties.  These transformations remind us that if we describe communities as imagined and borders as constructed, nevertheless those imaginings and constructions have real material and often dire consequences for the people who inhabit those spaces.

The German-Polish border invites reflection as a productive space for border studies. To be sure border studies has explored the material and ideational boundaries constructed by (geopolitical) borders but as a direction of investigation it began primarily with a focus on US-Mexican borders.  While border studies as a direction has expanded to consider questions of cultural representation, economic integration, state institutions, civil society, ethnic conflict, and migration, it nevertheless retains its focus on the US and the presumption of stability.   The European context and the Polish-German border in particular offer important points of reflection for border studies.  For instance, because no intention to remove the US-Mexico border exists, it appears as a stable natural given in US discourse. Across the Atlantic because of contemporary shifting European borders, explorations of German-Polish relations foreclose such presumptions, affording a strong critical intervention

We thus seek papers that examine the Polish-German borderland from all aspects with the goal of expanding the discussion of border studies.

Topics may be contemporary or historical.  Papers are solicited from all disciplines. 
Topics may include explorations of representation of the border in the arts.
The experience of border crossing and migration.
International and transnational relations
The Europeanization of Polish-German relations.
The border town: e.g. Slubfurt
Civil society on the border
Religion and ethnicity on the border
Memory and historical relations
Alterity and the cultural other
Transcultural contact
Ethnicity and conflict
Young Poland, Young Germany

Please send an abstract (max. 250 words) and a brief CV Prof. Randall Halle [log in to unmask] by 5 February 2005

Randall Halle
Klaus W. Jonas Professor of German Film and Cultural Studies

1409 Cathedral of Learning
German Department
University of Pittsburgh

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