The Graduate Students of the Department of German, Scandinavian & Dutch

at the University of Minnesota are pleased to announce their biennial conference:

Transformations: Growth, Decay, Remains

April 17 and 18, 2015

Keynote Speaker: Susan Ingram, York University

 While often portrayed as dichotomous processes, growth and decay are neither opposites nor isolated actions. Instead, such transformations illustrate the cyclical nature of change, often with no distinct origin or terminus. We hope to investigate the continuum of creation, consumption, and—occasionally—destruction of texts, artifacts, spaces, and beings. In examining these processes, we are interested in not only the cycle, but also what it creates anew and the traces it leaves behind. For example, how does the attempt to document performance transform it, and what new possibilities are opened by such transformations? What occurs in the translation or transmediation of texts?

We will also consider transformations in the material realm and how they are recorded. With some cities undergoing almost constant construction and gentrification, and others left nearly abandoned after crises, urban areas become a focus of change. Moreover, increasingly volatile environmental systems threaten any notions of stability. Investigations into the topic should allow us to question the documentation of these changes, or what remains and for whom.

The body is also a site of transformation, perhaps most extremely represented in Kafka’s Die Verwandlung, which will see its centennial in 2015. Gregor Samsa’s awakening one morning as an "ungeheures Ungeziefer" allows us to explore the darker side of transformation, one that encompasses disgust, self-loathing, and decay. The initial reactions of his family and co-worker to his unexpected new state highlight the possibility for transformations to affect those around us in a profound and even negative way. Bodies that externally or internally document change (e.g., lost limbs, scars, memory loss) bear the physical traces of this immense loss. What can we learn from transformations that we might instinctually revile or fear?  

Possible treatments of this topic include but are not limited to:

- theorizing the aesthetics of trace elements or the intangible

- memory and/or generational studies

- how to archive performance and other ephemera, i.e., film, photography, etc.

- trauma studies and scarring

- destruction, disgust, the abject and the repulsive

- the relationship between past and present in history

- Kafka’s Die Verwandlung / Metamorphosis

- projects of memorialization

- gender, sexuality, and transgender studies

- the translator as both absent from and present in a text

- translation theorycultural and linguistic translations

- recording shifts in natural and urban environments

- erasure and expansion poetry

- remediation and transmediality

- birth, death and extinction

We strongly encourage proposals from all disciplines and also welcome dance, theatrical, poetic, literary, and cinematic contributions. Please submit an abstract, with affiliation, no longer than 300 words for a 15-20 minute presentation to [log in to unmask] by December 10, 2014.

For further information, please visit

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