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*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 scholar-activism.

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 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 act 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 work, 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
account

-       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
(inter)nationally

-       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.


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Dr. Simone Pfleger | she/her/hers
Postdoctoral Fellow, PDFA – VP Finance (Interim), VP Operations
Department of Women’s and Gender Studies
University of Alberta
1-02B Assiniboia Hall | Edmonton, AB T6G 2E7

The University of Alberta respectfully acknowledges that we are located in
ᐊᒥᐢᑿᒌᐚᐢᑲᐦᐃᑲᐣ (Amiskwacîwâskahikan) on Treaty 6 territory, traditional lands
of First Nations and Métis people.

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The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Sean Franzel
Assistant Editor: Olaf Schmidt
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
Info available at: https://grs.missouri.edu/german/resources