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*Where East Meets West?: Encounters between ‘Germans’ and ‘the Other’*

*Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, University of
Pennsylvania*

*February 21st, 2014*



National identity has often been tied uncritically to geographic and
linguistic boundaries. One way in which German national identity has been
constructed is in its relation, and, indeed, opposition, to cultures and
peoples beyond its Eastern frontier: the ‘Oriental’, the ‘Ottoman’, the
‘Slav’, the ‘*Ostjude*’. However, any attempt to constrain national
identity to a discrete list of traits, beliefs, or opinions would be as
impossible as trying to constrain a sense of Germanness to a particular
geographic location or vernacular. Borders, languages, and identities are
fluid, ever-changing, and changeable. And, in any case, where Germany
‘ends’ and where the East ‘begins’ has been contested and unstable
throughout history into modern times. Encounters between peoples are never
one-sided; thus it is important to consider the perspectives of those
writing on both sides of the ‘border’. This conference will set out to
explore and problematize the relationship between geography and identity
and the meaning of the terms ‘Other’ and ‘German’. We welcome submissions
from a wide range of disciplines, including German Studies, Comparative
Literature, Slavic, Jewish Studies, East Asian Studies, and Near East Asian
and Middle Eastern Studies.


Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

·       Representations of ‘the Orient’ in German-language literature
· Literatures written in languages other than German which offer
representations of ‘Germanness’ or relationships with Germans
· German-language literature written outside of traditional German
geographic boundaries, such as German minority communities
·     Literature dealing with German identity as linked to a specific topos
·  Translation, reception, adaptation, staging of the German Canon in ‘the
East’, and the ‘Eastern’ canon in Germany

We are excited to announce that Professor David Gramling of the University
of Arizona will provide the keynote address.



Please send a 300-500 word abstract and a short biography to Didem Uca and
Tom Tearney at [log in to unmask] with the subject heading
“Abstract” by December 15, 2013.

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