Call for Papers for the concluding conference of the AHRC Network
‘After the Wall: Reconstructing and Representing the GDR’


8-10 September 2010 – Bangor University

Twenty years since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the unification of
Germany, the memory of the GDR is experiencing an ever increasing boom.
As physical signs of German division disappear from the united
landscape, new sites of memory are being created, ranging from
consumer-orientated Ostalgie to the documentation of political
oppression. The diversification of this memory landscape – in both
content and form – and the conflicting nature of many narratives has led
not only to a blurring of boundaries between history and memory (‘myth’)
but also to a reappraisal of the longer-term legacy of the GDR in
unified Germany.

This interdisciplinary conference sets out to question the ongoing
tendency to categorise memories of the GDR into neat polar opposites
(e.g. ‘Alltag versus dictatorship’ or ‘perpretrator versus victim’).
Whilst such concepts may partly be driven by public funding strategies,
political narratives, or the demands of tourism, they are not always
helpful in uncovering the multiple layers of memory and revealing the
dynamic interplay between memory and history. We therefore particularly
welcome papers which seek to question the polar opposites outlined
above, and which challenge the dominant paradigms of discussion about
GDR history. We hope that papers will suggest new ways of thinking about
this past so as to do justice to what might be described as ‘plural
authenticities’ and the multiple GDRs of the mind.

As the concluding event of the AHRC-funded interdisciplinary research
network ‘After the Wall’, the conference also aims to foreground
theoretical questions of memory, and to examine the interplay between
form and memory. According to a number of memory theorists, the way
societies choose to remember the past is necessarily influenced by the
media they use to extend the limited range of individual memories.
Contributors are thus encouraged to consider how different forms of
remembrance may condition varied memories of the GDR past.

In keeping with the interdisciplinary nature of the network,
contributions from any academic field are welcome. Papers may address –
but are not limited to – the following themes:

•    Reflections on the twentieth anniversary celebrations of 2009
•    Public memory contests
•    Autobiographical recollections
•    Literary reflections
•    Monuments, museums and material culture
•    The GDR on screen
•    Political interpretations of the GDR and the effect on contemporary
party politics
•    The periodisation of remembrance since 1989
•    The politics of East German memory in unified Germany
•    Commemorative acts
•    Visual culture

Following the discursive nature of the Network, the organisers would
like to encourage reflective papers which seek to challenge and question
existing conceptions, rather than to present conclusive results. The aim
is to allow ample time for discussion, which will help to shape
contributions for an edited volume. Papers which are to be considered
for the volume will be expected to engage with theoretical questions of

Contributors are asked to submit:
a)    a 300 word abstract
b)    a bullet-pointed list of the central questions which the paper
seeks to ask (it is envisaged that these will be published on the
website prior to the conference, in order to stimulate debate).

These should be submitted to Anna Saunders and Debbie Pinfold at
[log in to unmask] by Monday 25 January 2010. Papers may be given
in English or German.

The ‘After the Wall’ network was established in January 2009 in order to
examine the ways in which the East German past has been – and is being –
reconstructed and represented since the demise of the GDR. The project
is the result of collaboration between Bangor University and the
University of Bristol, and is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research
Council. Further information can be found at:

Dr Anna Saunders
Lecturer in German
School of Modern Languages
Bangor University
LL57 2DG
Tel. 01248 382135

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The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Stefani Engelstein
Acting Assistant Editor:  Olaf Schmidt
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