*Transverse Disciplines: *

*Working across and beyond Academic Communities*

Edited by: Simone Pfleger (University of Alberta) and Carrie Smith
(University of Alberta)

In January 2019, *The Chronicle of Higher Education *reported on the
radical decline in language programs across colleges and universities in
the United States since 2013; such trends have been charted across the
anglophone world. Beginning from the thought experiment that maybe our
discipline should “dismantle itself altogether” despite warnings to the
contrary (Norbert 13), the proposed volume uses “German Studies” as a
litmus test for what might be possible when the value and conduct of
research is located already from the outset beyond disciplinary
specificities and histories. Thus “German Studies”—unmoored from the
confines of disciplines and departments proper and considered instead
through feminist, queer, anti-racist, and decolonial academic practices and
commitments—becomes a knot tying together scholars interested in the
unsettling of disciplinary-based academic structures, including also work
with industries, community-based work, research-creation, and

Languages serve by no means as a singular example: petitions against the
closure of this or that program in the humanities or social sciences
circulate with alarming regularity on email and social media, and the
crisis rhetoric has become its own self-perpetuating academic industry.
Attendant to program closures is the ongoing fight to maintain disciplinary
integrity, even as universities seem increasingly less willing to support
disciplines in thriving; the “adjunctification” of the labor pool is just
one stark example. At the same time, there is little internal support for
the development of creative structures that might formulate alternate
responses. The holes left behind by these closures prompt some of the
radical rethinking that this volume intends to capture. The volume seeks to
include contributions that grapple with imagining a different future that
begins with an investment in and accountability to social justice, allowing
a restructuring of units in ways that maintain core intellectual values
without reifying ossified canonization impulses, methodologies, or theories
nor merely replacing these with new ones.

This volume seeks to offer myriad approaches that do not dilute the
political capacity of the kind of work that happens inside and outside of
the academy. In order to unsettle the restrictive nature of working
exclusively within disciplinary structures, scholars and teachers must
rethink the ethical and social impact of academic work as activists in our
spheres of influence. If the university writ large is invested in bringing
together different approaches and forms of knowledge and making social
justice a sustainable politics of being, transverse disciplines built of
queer-feminist approaches acts as a lightning rod for transformative
thinking. In this manner, the reshaping of a discipline and disciplinarity
itself becomes an activist project. Interrogating positionality,
relationality, and ethical principles of academic, this volume will feature
a series of theoretical essays that explore future possibilities punctuated
by short, diagnostic stories or testimonies on present experiences of being
in the academy.

We are seeking theoretical essays (6,000–6,500 words in length) that are
future-oriented and address such topics as (though not limited to):

-       rethinking of key concepts such as disciplinarity,
interdisciplinarity, and transdisciplinarity

-       reshaping of disciplines and disciplinarity as political projects

-       valuing disciplinary legacies while also accessing feminist, queer,
antiracist, decolonial agendas

-       cooption mechanisms that target concepts such as intersectionality
and decolonization

-       dialogues with feminist, gender, queer, critical race, or ethnic
studies as discipline redefining two-way streets

-       alternatives to current institutional structures, assessment
categories for funding, and performance evaluation to push back against
normative progress narratives (success, career goals, and employment)

-       the emergence of epistemological and ontological questions/concepts
when (inter)national communities and/or local contexts are taken into

-       new modes of working for language and area studies in a neoliberal,
capitalist, settler-colonial context, particularly when digital worlds open
up avenues while at the same time policing and reaffirming geopolitical and
national boundaries more tightly than ever before

-       academic and activist work in conversation with industry,
government, and NGOs

-       different ways of creating impact and reaching audiences through
such avenues as research creation and maker cultures

-       forging of alliances and coalitional partners locally and

-       professional bodies and their potential facilitation of
multi-institutional transformation

We are also seeking personal stories and diagnostic testimonies (around
2,000 words in length) that assess the current state of the academy from
different positionalities.

Please send an abstract (200 words) and a brief bio (no more than 150
words) for either format to Simone Pfleger ([log in to unmask]) and Carrie
Smith ([log in to unmask]) by August 15, 2019. Full contributions
will be due January 15, 2020.

Dr. Carrie Smith
she | her | hers
Chair, Modern Languages & Cultural Studies
Professor of German Studies
Coeditor *Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies*
200 Arts, University of Alberta, 780.492.1997

Profile <> |
ORCID <> | Research
 | Digital Feminist Collective <> |
Seminar <>

*The Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at the University
of Alberta is committed to creating welcoming physical, material, and
intellectual spaces by respecting and celebrating differences of gender
identity and expression, race, sexual orientation, ability, class,
ethnicity, nation, and religion. We honour our location
in ᐊᒥᐢᑿᒌᐚᐢᑲᐦᐃᑲᐣ (Amiskwacîwâskahikan) on Treaty 6 territory.*

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