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
 
Tel.: 412-268-4783
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