Society, Friendship, and Love: the Depiction of Interpersonal Relationships in German Language and Literature

February 19-20, 2010
The University of Kansas
Max Kade Center for German-American Studies, Sudler House
Lawrence, Kansas

Presented by the Graduate Association of German Students (GAGS) of The University of Kansas and featuring keynote speaker Rebecca Rovit, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Theater, The University of Kansas

Interpersonal relationships and the conflicts that arise within and around them are central to our understanding of what it means to be human. German literature and linguistics have contributed to this understanding in many important ways. This conference seeks to explore these contributions and how they influence both our historical and contemporary understanding of the various relationships in which individuals engage and the extent to which these relationships shape the societies of the German-speaking world. We therefore invite presentations on the following topics:

love/friendship as a precursor to marriage
love/friendship in problematic circumstances
the language of love and/or friendship
marriage mishaps (forced weddings, unequal partners, etc.)
the limitation of communication in socially-stigmatized relationships
failed communication in society
depictions of love, friendship, and society in the arts (film, theater, paintings, music, etc.)
historical vs. contemporary depictions of interpersonal relationships
gender studies: depictions of men and women, gay/lesbian couples
relations between East and West Germans 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall
social norms: what are they and how are they adhered to or broken?
societal stigmatization of dialects
teaching interpersonal and/or intercultural relationships in German

Please note that topics are not limited to the above suggestions. We are open to alternate approaches.

Interested parties should submit a 250-word abstract for a 15-20 minute paper presentation as an email attachment by January 1st, 2010 to the GAGS conference committee ([log in to unmask]). Please be sure to include the paper’s title, the presenter’s name, the academic institution, and any other pertinent information.

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