Call for Papers
GSA-Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, October 4-7, 2012
“War and Memory in the Museum”
On Oct. 15, 2011, the Military History Museum of the German Federal
Armed Forces in Dresden reopened with an entirely new exhibit and in a
completely re-designed building. The museum claims a radically new way of
approaching military exhibits. According to its website, "Die
Ausstellung konfrontiert die Besucherinnen und Besucher mit dem eigenen
menschlichen Aggressionspotential und thematisiert Gewalt als
historisches, kulturelles und anthropologisches Phänomen. Ist
Aggressivität evolutionsbiologisch möglicherweise in jedem Menschen
angelegt, ist sie so selbstverständlich und unvermeidbar wie das
Bedürfnis zu schlafen oder zu trinken? Oder ist der Gewaltanteil in uns
vor allem kulturell geprägt und beeinflusst?" The curators thus hope
to reshape the ways how to represent war history and mold cultural
memory, clearly beyond the national framework. A wedge by the architect
Daniel Libeskind which cuts into the classicist Arsenal Building in the
19th century military quarters of Albertstadt tries to recreate these
concerns also in a physical structure.
The museum is thus a key example for today’s goals in both transmitting
knowledge and educating others about Germany’s military past. Using the
museum as a starting point, the panel aims to answer questions about the
way Germans remember military conflicts and the roles they played in
them, the goals of the museum curators in educating others, in how far
these approaches differ from earlier ones, and in what ways these new
forms of representation are part of a larger reshaping and interest in
questions of memory formation and memory conservation.
We invite proposals that address different dimensions, for example:
- The general role of museums in representing war and the memory of war
and its consequences.
- How does the Militärmuseum depict and narrate war and what
traditions does it strengthen or deconstruct?
- A comparison between the newly opened Dresden military museum and other
museums in Germany or the world.
- How is the museum situated in a national and international landscape of
museums about atrocities, war, and human rights?
- How does a museum immerse the visitor? Can one experience violence or
trauma in an anthropological or historical sense?
- The role of Libeskind in the design and construction of memory sites
- How do military museums deal with the suffering caused by the
consequences of war?
- In how far do museums on World War Two address the Holocaust or
Holocaust Museums address World War II?
- How does the Dresden war museum’s architecture correspond with the
cityscape and the cultural memory of Dresden?
- Museum’s as theme parks? How do such approaches interact with the
chronological war history; what are relations between civilians and
We hope to generate an interdisciplinary conversation on the topic, and
invite contributions from scholars who work in Memory Studies, Literary
and Cultural Studies, History, Museum Studies, and other disciplines and
fields. Please send proposals of up to 250 words, along with a brief CV,
to Susanne Vees-Gulani [[log in to unmask]]
and Stephan Jaeger
[[log in to unmask]] by
February 12, 2012.
The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Stefani Engelstein
Assistant Editor: Olaf Schmidt
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
Info available at: http://grs.missouri.edu/resources/gerlistserv.html