Today’s Germany is ethnically diverse and cannot be properly described as monoculturally German. Early Germanists understood themselves as revolutionaries, but at the same time tasked themselves with homogenizing literature and language. An oppressive mission to assimilate all non-German literature in order to create a ‘German’ culture as the foundation of a German state shaped the beginnings of the discipline. While this meant a denial of difference within German literature from the beginning, recent developments have exacerbated the need for reform. Since the 1960s, Germany has seen an influx of migrants who participate in shaping a diverse culture. These authors are at work to re-define what it means to be German. The study of German literature often separates between a national ‘German’ canon and texts by authors of different backgrounds. Traditional terms for literature by these latter authors – migrant literature, guest worker literature, minority literature etc. – suggest an addition to an otherwise national and monocultural German literature. This panel, however, will consider new ways of framing our discipline as a more inclusive study of ‘German’ literature. We will investigate approaches to a new form of Germanness, one that includes mono- and multicultural ‘Germans’. This new Germanness attempts to overcome the separation between different groups of writers.
Submissions are welcome that (1) offer new readings of diverse texts and films from Germany, that (2) theoretically ground ‘Germanness’, that (3) sketch out a German studies curriculum that is inclusive to ‘new Germans’, or that (4) show practical approaches to the incorporation of diverse authors in the classroom.
The significance of this panel lies in the need for the discipline of German studies to reflect socio-political changes within Germany. Breaking out of an assimilatory framework and re-orienting our discipline, will allow us to present German literature as a reflection of today’s society.
Please submit abstracts directly here: https://nemla.org/convention/2015/cfp.html#cfp15060.