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 and museums.
- 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 soldiers?
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: