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The German Studies Association (GSA) Thirty-Fourth Annual Conference 
Oakland, California, October 7-10, 2010

From "Sonderzug nach Pankow" to "Das alles ist Deutschland" - Popular Music and National Identity in the Berlin Republic

Products of popular culture shine their specific light on social and political issues of their time. Starting with medieval Sangspruchdichtung, to the cabaret-songs of the Weimar era and the protest songs of the 1960s and 1970s popular music offered a platform to negotiate questions of belonging and/or challenge national identifications. In 1998, Simon Frith stated in the introduction to a special issue of Popular Music, that “German popular music has to be understood differently to popular music elsewhere: twentieth century history has posed German musicians and audience particular problems of national identity.” This panel seeks to continue this investigation by exploring the ways in which (popular) contemporary German music represents, participates in and contradicts questions of national identity in the Berlin Republic at the 20-year-anniversary of the Unification.

Topics may include but are not limited to:

• negotiation of German-German relations 
• specifically German-language music vis-à-vis  the EU and/or aspects of globalization
• considering the question “who is German”? 
• representation of minorities
• American and/or European influences 
• scandals
• issues of sexuality and/or sexual orientation
• specific musical subcultures 
• musical events and festivals such as the Love Parade, WGT, Schlagermove, Eurovision, etc.
• localization of German music as part of international/global music communities or particular expressions of a German condition
• avant-garde vs. mainstream
• …

Please send abstracts of approximately 300 words to Corinna Kahnke ([log in to unmask]) and Maria Stehle ([log in to unmask]) by Friday, February 1, 2010.


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Πάντα χωρεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει.

Dr. Corinna Kahnke
Lecturer of German
German Minor Advisor

Modern Languages and Literatures
California Polytechnic State University
San Luis Obispo

Office Hours: MTWR 9.30-10.30 and by appointment 

Office: Building 47 Room 26 Q

Office Phone: (805) 756-1620
Fax: (805) 756-2312

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