CfP 46th Annual Convention of the NeMLA
Toronto, Ontario
April 30-May 3, 2015

Panel 15033: From Excavation to Representation: The Role of Archaeology in German Culture

In the late 19th century, Germany succeeded in taking top rank in the areas of historical and archaeological scholarship and exploration, despite the fact that it lagged behind England and France as a colonial power. The spoils of German archaeological expeditions as well as excavations on German soil, were showcased in the newly constructed Berlin Royal Museums and heralded as a means to celebrate, and also legitimize, the newly founded German empire. Back then, as today, history and archaeology hold a place very dear and near to the hearts of most Germans. Far from being a secluded field of scholarship, historians and archaeologists have been and continue to be integral parts of popular culture as moderators of historical documentaries, authors and public speakers. The founding or restoring of historical museums, such as the Neue Museum in Berlin, are events of national interest.

 This panel investigates some of the manifestations of archaeological and historical scholarship within German popular culture. Looking at fiction as well as non-fiction texts, among them biographies and travel literature, speeches, films, as well as museum exhibitions and their coverage in the news reveal a lasting fascination and inspiration with the insights as well as the methodologies of archaeology in particular. From Freud’s notion of Seelenarchäologie to David Chipperfield’s reconstruction of the Neue Museum, which embraced not only the historical importance of the artifacts on display but also the history of the building and institution itself, the panel seeks to trace and highlight instances of boundary crossings between academia, spectacle and art showing that uncovering and presenting history has as much to do with the present as with the past.

This is the traditional paper format of 3-4 participants, reading a formal paper of 15-20 minutes (2500-3000 words), followed by Q&A. Paper abstracts are due by September 30th, 2014.  Please submit a brief proposal (250 words) directly to the following NeMLA website: You will have to create an account at this website before submitting your abstract. If you have any questions about the panel (NOT to submit abstracts), feel free to contact the panel chair: Daniela Richter at richt2dm(at)

Daniela Richter, Ph. D.
Associate Professor of German
Department of Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures
Pearce 317
Central Michigan University
Mt.Pleasant, MI 48859

The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Stefani Engelstein
Assistant Editor:  Olaf Schmidt
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
Info available at: