Call for Papers

Tales of Commerce and Imagination II: Literary and Cinematic Contributions to the Department Store Debate in the Early 20th Century (Austria – Germany – France – England – United States)

A Conference at the Literaturhaus Berlin, 5th and 6th July 2012, organised by Godela Weiss-Sussex (IGRS, London) and Ulrike Zitzlsperger (Exeter)

Building upon an interdisciplinary workshop dedicated to the social history of the Berlin Warenhäuser (which was held in March 2011 at the Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies, London), this conference will address department stores as a motif and symbol in early 20th century debates of modernity. The investigation will focus on the literary and cinematic treatment of the Warenhaus and on the interface of fictional with non-fictional discourses of the phenomenon at the time.

This conference also aims to widen the field of vision, not only from the Berlin case study to a more comprehensive look at the German-speaking cultures; but also, to situate the German discourses in an international context.  Comparative consideration of the debates and emerging literary/cinematic traditions in countries that saw the department store phenomenon develop earlier  –  among them France, Britain and the United States – will help to understand the German discourses more fully.

We welcome contributions that reflect literary and/or cinematic depictions of department stores, particularly with focus on

•       a given cultural / national context (Germany, Austria, France, England and the United States);
•       issues of genre, fictional / non-fictional style and literary / cinematic tradition;
•       themes of particular relevance to the discussion of the department store in the context of modernity, such as: consumption / consumerism, gender issues, anti-Semitism and visual       culture.

The conference languages are English and German. Selected contributions will form the basis of a publication to appear in 2013. The conference is part of a long-term collaborative project between the organisers (IGRS London and College of Humanities Exeter).

200-250 word abstracts for papers of 30 minutes length should be sent to Dr Godela Weiss-Sussex ([log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>) and Dr Ulrike Zitzlsperger ([log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>) by 1 January 2012.

Jane Lewin

Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies
University of London School of Advanced Study
Room ST 272, Senate House
Malet Street, GB- London WC1E 7HU
Telephone 0044 (0)20 7862 8966


The German Studies Call for Papers List
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