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German Studies Association (GSA) Thirty-Seventh Annual Conference 
October 3-6, 2013
Denver, Colorado
 
Call for Papers: Travel in the Age of Globalization
 
Globalization reduces distances and 
compresses time, so the saying goes. It turns the world into a “global 
village” prophesied by Marshall McLuhan a few decades ago, and creates a
 flat world
platform (Thomas Friedman) allowing everybody to upload their own 
respective culture. Everyday we are bombarded with images from around 
the globe, be it through magazines, newspapers, TV or via the big screen
 in movie theaters. The world knocks on our door,
comes to us and all we need to do is switch on the television to be 
transported to a different time and place. Thus, we know the world, have
 seen it all, are satiated with knowledge and images. However, we are 
not fully satisfied until we have seen it with
our own eyes; we are constantly on the move in search of those images, 
on the lookout for the truly foreign that we intend to ban on our 
digital cameras. Yet, as Allan Liska and George Ritzer point out, our 
search for authenticity is not a genuine one since
we only seek to verify our preconceived notions of the foreign and the 
exotic. In fact, we are unable to discover the unknown since all we 
actually strive for is the familiar, a world characterized by 
“McDisneyization,” that provides us with comfort and shelter
from things exotic. Even though we think that we want to discover the 
authentic, the genuine foreign, what we actually want is “home plus,” as
 Paul Theroux claims, the familiar in a rather exotic but beautiful  setting.
 
This panel seeks to investigate the 
possibility/impossibility of discovering the foreign in a world 
characterized by an alleged homogenization. Are the authors and 
protagonists in German-speaking
film and literature of today able to find the unknown or are we simply 
seeking to replicate the pictures indelibly burnt into our memory by the
 media? Are we traveling to arrive at a new destination or has travel 
become a utopian undertaking that is doomed
to failure from the outset?    
 
Please submit a 250 word abstract by February 1, 2013 to 
both panel organizers: Yvonne Franke, University of Pittsburgh 
([log in to unmask]) and Gabriele Eichmanns, Carnegie Mellon University ([log in to unmask]).
 
Gabriele Eichmanns
Assistant Teaching Professor
 
Carnegie Mellon University
Department of Modern Languages
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213 
 
Email: [log in to unmask]
Tel.: 412-268-4783
 		 	   		  

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