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Subject: CGP for GSA 2009 "Houses and Domestic Space
 in German Literature"

Proposal for a Session at the GSA 33rd Annual Conference
October 8 - October 11, 2009, in Washington, DC 

Houses and Domestic Space in German Literature

Houses are powerful objects that impact and shape an impressive range of personal and public interests. Providing for our most basic needs, offering both shelter and identity, and representing specific historical formations, houses virtually touch upon all aspects of individual and collective needs and organization. As an intensely emotional experience, a major financial investment and a material reality embedded in architectural, aesthetic and social traditions, houses and the domestic space they incorporate are of quintessential importance. Houses are also tied to issues of migration and memory for each instance of migration or displacement corresponds to a prior placement, however fraught or tentative, and studying this placement can complement our understanding of movements across time and place.

This session seeks to investigate through a broad spectrum of perspectives the representation, theory and critique of houses and domestic space, specifically their gendered connections in German literature from the 19th century until today. Questions to be addressed can include, but are not limited, to the following:

        What role do houses play in (gendered) identity formation?
     What are possible connections between domestic space and nationhood?
   How have different discourses (such as feminism, anthropology or psychoanalysis) contributed to our understanding of houses?
   In what ways has the boundary shift between private and public spaces affected the role of houses?
     Which historical developments and changes can be identified in the representation of houses and domestic space?
        In what ways has the memory of the house of childhood been (re) conceptualized?

Please send 300-word abstracts by February 10, 2009 to Monika Shafi (
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Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures,
University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716.

Monika Shafi
Elias Ahuja Professor of German
Director of Women's Studies
University of Delaware
Newark, DE 19716

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