Call for Papers: German Studies Association Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, October 4-7, 2012

Thirty-Sixth Annual Conference of the German Studies Association

The Poetics and Politics of Modern Utopianisms: Solidarity and Human Rights


This panel aims to explore the urgency of revisiting the grounds and limits of solidarity and the foundations of human rights in a globalizing modernity. Since the French Revolution, notions of solidarity and human rights have undergone crucial reconfigurations in response to cultural transformations, historical changes, and sociopolitical struggles. With these complex developments comes the need for reassessing the poetics and politics of modern utopianisms especially in German-speaking contexts. This panel seeks to promote an interdisciplinary conversation that engages with the most recent publications on this topic such as Samuel Moyn’s “The Last Utopia” (2010) and Hans Joas’ “Die Sakralität der Person” (2011). It also considers the role of literature in shaping the discourses on solidarity and human rights.


The panel organizers invite contributions from cultural and literary studies, history, political science, philosophy, sociology, and religion.


Questions that contributors may want to address are the following:

1. What is solidarity in global modernity? How has the term originated from preceding terms such as philia and caritas?

2. What are the nature and logic of solidarity in a globalizing modernity?

3. Are there solidarity narratives?

4. What might cultural and literary scholars be able to contribute to the study of solidarity and human rights?

5. What is the relationship between community and solidarity?

6. How are human rights discourses related to literature or the arts?


Please send a paper abstract (no more than 250 words) with contact information to the panel organizers, David Kim ([log in to unmask]) and Sebastian Wogenstein ([log in to unmask]), by February 1, 2012. Please note that panel participants must be current GSA members.

David D. Kim
Assistant Professor of German
Core Faculty of Global Studies in the Arts and Humanities
Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages
Michigan State University
A-635 Wells Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824-1027
(517) 355-4760
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