Acceptance in German Literary and Visual Culture

May 11-12, 2012 University of Washington

This conference will explore notions of acceptance in a broad sense,
focusing on the mechanisms by which texts and images codify, accommodate,
and instrumentalize difference. What does it mean to accept someone or
something? Moreover, at what point can the act of acceptance become
unacceptable? That is, when does acceptance serve more nefarious ends,
eradicating and assimilating difference instead of preserving it?

As an act of inclusion and consent, acceptance always evokes the potential
of rejection--be it on an individual or a collective level -- and by
extension, certain power relations. We encourage papers that critically
engage forms of acceptance not only as sites of social and cultural
integration, but also as instantiations of redefinition and revision.
Consider, for example, Angela Merkel’s often misappropriated statement that
“Multikulti [...] ist absolut gescheitert”: how does this perceived failure
of multiculturalism, an inability or unwillingness to accept and integrate
cultural difference, translate into literary and visual forms? Theoretical
treatments of acceptance may draw upon as diverse texts as Giorgio
Agamben’s Homo Sacer (1998) or Doris Lucke’s Akzeptanz: Legitimität in der
Abstimmungsgesellschaft (1995). Literary investigations could approach the
question of acceptance in Migrantenliteratur or in a post-colonial context,
such as the one conjured in Ilija Trojanow’s Der Weltensammler (2006).
Finally, filmic portrayals of acceptance might range from the pedagogical
example of Richard Oswald’s Anders als die Anderen (1919), one of the first
films in cinematic history to promote the acceptance of homosexuality, to
issues of Transnationalism and identity in Thomas Arslan’s Dealer (1999)
and Fatih Akin’s Auf der anderen Seite (2004).

We invite graduate students from all disciplines to submit papers
broadening the notion of acceptance, welcoming contributions that
investigate its practice and thematization throughout different historical
periods in a variety of contexts -- cultural, political, psychological.
Topics may include, but are not limited to:

- Accepting the Unacceptable: Personal and Collective Traumas
- Places of Acceptance and Parallelgesellschaften
- Literary Canon: Acceptance of Works and Authors
- “Self-Acceptance:” Psychology and Psychoanalysis
- Queer(ing) Acceptance
- Social Structures of Acceptance: Community, Class, Family
- Accepting Altered Corporeal Conditions: Disease and Disability
- Language of Acceptance: Naming and Re-Naming
- Exiles, Outcasts and Outsiders
- Religion and Ethnicity
- National and Transnational Identities

Please send all abstracts (250-300 words) along with a short biography (100
words) to [log in to unmask] by March 10, 2012. Papers
may be presented in German or English. Let us know if you require
assistance with accommodation (limited space for accomodation is available
on a first-come first-serve basis).

The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Stefani Engelstein
Assistant Editor:  Olaf Schmidt
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
Info available at: