CALL FOR PAPERS:  "Fear of a Pop Planet": Nationalism, Transnationalism, and Identity in Popular Literature from the Generation Golf (German Studies Association Annual Conference, San Diego, October 4-7, 2007)

Constructions of identity and difference in modern German literature from Goethe to Grass have traditionally depended on spatially territorialized conceptions of culture.  The deterritorialization and displacement associated with globalization therefore pose significant challenges for examining German literature and culture qua German.  At the same time, recent trends in German fiction such as "neue Erzählbarkeit" and the so-called "Fräuleinwunder" have deprivileged notions of canonicity, generic stability, disciplinarity, and Literature with a capital L, suggesting the need for a more nuanced critical vocabulary with which to analyze German literary production.  Moreover, resurgent nationalism in the wake of reunification, contrasted with the speedy flow of culture and capital across borders and throughout cyberspace, obliges us to reexamine our ideas of the universal and the particular, the global and the local, and ask: How German is Germany, after all?

The panel aims to investigate new modes of identity formation - national, transnational, or otherwise - in the literary production of Germany's "Generation Golf."  We are particularly interested in papers that explore constructions of national identity (or lack thereof)  in the contexts of post-communism and the increasing dominance of globalized capitalism.  Questions we'd like to consider include: How do these texts engage with (or disavow) cultural, national, or gendered identities?  How do we read identity in texts that (seem to) reject cultural affiliation altogether?  How are ideas about "what it means to be German" rewritten in popular literature?   We welcome papers that explore these or related questions in pop(ular) or so-called Trivialliteratur as well as fiction by self-identified "Popper" / "Popliteraten" or "Generation Golf"  authors.  Papers that address the interplay of gender, race, and ethnicity are especially welcome, as are papers that consider alternative narrative modalities (e.g. Rainald Goetz' internet diary or German-language examples of "polymedia" literature).

Given the GSA guidelines limiting graduate student participation (, we regret that this limits our own panel configuration.  We can therefore only accept abstracts from PhDs for the panel.

Please submit – preferably in .rtf or .pdf format – a brief (300-word) abstract along with an abbreviated CV to both of the following people by Sunday, February 11, 2007:

Corinna Kahnke ( [log in to unmask])
Kristin Thomas-Vander Lugt ([log in to unmask])
Kristin T. Vander Lugt
Assistant Professor of German Studies
Iowa State University
Department of World Languages and Cultures
3102 Pearson Hall
Ames, IA 50011

Departmental Website:

Phone:  (515) 294-2759
Fax:  (515) 294-9914
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