CFP: GSA Panel; The Politics of Archives

Washington, D.C. (October 1-4, 2015)

The important political role of archives in a democratic society is yet to be fully recognized. When seen as only having to do with the past rather than also with the present and the future, the archives continuum remains misunderstood. This panel (or series of panels) seeks theoretical and “case-studies” contributions exploring the critical functioning of the future of  “the archive” in its largest understanding that would include but is not limited to (secret and non-secret) political archives, colonial archives, corporate archives, imaginary and counter archives, digital archive projects, private and public archives, literary and media archives pertaining to the German-speaking context. How have these archives shaped and how are they shaping an evolving understanding of Germany’s history and new imagination of its future in the age of globalization?

Paper topics might include:
•       Theorizing the archive: what are the logics of archival power? how can we think about the relationship between archives and memory, archives and media theory or archives and psychoanalysis? (Foucault, Bloch, Derrida, La Capra, Appadurai, Assmann)
•       Corporate archives: coming to terms with the past, shaping their image for a global future:  Dr. Oetker, Tengelmann, Degussa, VW, Deutsche Bank; politics and policies of public relations and selling in different periods
•       Imaginary and counter archives: invented objectives and narratives created by artists or writers that shed new light on the future of a past
•       Entangled histories and secret archives: Germans in Eastern and East Central Europe (secret) archives; Bundesarchiv; US, Soviet, British and French intelligence archives on Germany
•       The role and status of the archive in the formation of the nation state and a trans- or postnational consciousness: what are the practices of collecting in different major historical periods; what is the architectural nature of these archives; erasure, destruction and rescue of archives; exile archives; migration as critical intervention in archivization; relation between monuments and archive
•       Problematizing digital archives; authorship and disputes of belonging; rewriting historical archives through new digital humanities projects, fragility of digital archives.
•       Public versus private archives: critical tensions or competition between family or community archives (diaries, family photo albums, personal libraries) and larger archives: What is the role of the family archive in cultural memory and national history?
•       Colonial archives:  function of these archives; the silencing of native voices; politics of returning human remains and material collections from the German colonial period in archives and medical collections (Charité); relation of colonial archives to holocaust and other archives
•       Literary Archives: found objects and the serendipity of archives
•       The New Aesthetic: Google and other surveillance photos (James Bridle)

Please submit your abstracts (300-500 words maximum) as well as a short CV (academic background and relevant publications) to Bettina Brandt [log in to unmask] and Valentina Glajar [log in to unmask]  by January 31, 2015.
******************* The German Studies Call for Papers List Editor: Stefani Engelstein Assistant Editor: Olaf Schmidt Sponsored by the University of Missouri Info available at: