Conflicts of Interest - The Productive Power of Confrontation

Graduate Student Conference in the Department of Germanic Languages

at the University of California, Los Angeles

April 29-30, 2016

Keynote Speaker: Professor Kristin Kopp (University of Missouri, Columbia)


Conflicts are an integral part of human nature. Conflicting ideas and ideologies have always been the source of inspiration for intellectual discourse within the humanities, be it the conflict between self and world, between social groups, or between dissenting critical thinkers. Regardless of the outcome, conflict inspires change, reevaluation, and growth; ultimately, it can provoke an elevated conscious engagement with the matter at hand - regardless of whether that change results in a synthesis of views or continued divergence of the parties involved in the conflict.


Such deliberate engagement manifests itself in all research areas within Germanic Studies: in Martin Luther’s criticism of the Catholic church; in the debate between Thomas and Heinrich Mann concerning the modeling of the German nation state following the example of the French Republic; in the generational clash following the 1968 student revolts; in the ongoing ideological ‘wall inside the heads’ of O​ssis and W​essis; in the supposed clash of cultures in a postnational setting; in linguistics, especially in the era of globalization and digitalization, e.g., the University of Pretoria’s recent review of Afrikaans as language of instruction, the role and perception of dialects and sociolects versus standard language, and the appropriation of language for political purposes.


The broad nature of the conference theme is intended to provide a platform for students of Germanic Studies to take an active part in an interdisciplinary discussion on conflicts of interest as well as conflicts that are of interest, in order to appreciate their innate generative power.


We welcome papers in English or German and strongly encourage proposals submitted by graduate students from all areas of specialization within Germanic Studies such as literature, linguistics, cultural studies, philosophy, film, and history. Topics may include but are not limited to:


-        nationalism vs. inter-, multi-, transculturalism/-nationalism

-        political borders vs. mythic borders

-        east vs. west or north vs. south

-        old vs. new media

-        memory studies (e.g. individual vs. collective memory)

-        monuments vs. anti-memorials

-        continuity vs. rupture (e.g. history, urban landscapes)

-        theoretical frameworks (e.g. distant reading vs. hermeneutics)

-        gender binary vs. gender fluidity

-        religion vs. secularism

-        the translatable vs. the untranslatable

-        foreign language pedagogy (e.g. cultural authenticity vs. target orientation)

-        language contact & change (e.g. language islands vs. hegemonic language)

-        synchronic vs. diachronic linguistic analysis

-        language policy (e.g. upholding vs. changing standards)


Please submit a short bio and an abstract of 250-300 words in English for a 15-20-minute presentation to [log in to unmask] by January 15, 2016. Proposals should include the title of the paper, presenter’s name, institutional affiliation, and contact information, as well as 5 keywords that help the review committee organize submissions according to topic.                      



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