Call for Papers

45th Annual Conference of the Coalition of Women in German (WiG)

October 15-19, 2020 Ÿ Sewanee, TN

Intersections and Potential Affinities between Indigenous Studies and Feminist German Studies

As feminist German Studies scholars in North America, we live and work on Indigenous land that has been and continues to be shaped by processes of colonization. In addition, working in post-secondary institutions in an inherently Eurocentric discipline like German Studies prompts us to reflect on and come to terms with our role in the continued reproduction of oppressive systems that exclude Indigenous students, and that are built upon and prioritize Western/European ways of knowing.

All of the above gains even more importance because the German infatuation with the Indigenous peoples of North America is such that it even led to its own term, “Indianthusiasm,” defined by Hartmut Lutz as “a yearning for all things Indian” that is essentialist, racialized, historicized, and primarily concerned with an imaginary past (Lutz 2002). Problematically, such an infatuation, which finds expression in everything from hobbyist “Indian Weeks” to the seemingly never-ending fascination with the works of authors like Karl May, precludes Indigenous peoples' present-day experiences.

One important step in mapping out the intersections and potential affinities between Indigenous Studies and German Studies is the publication of the November 2019 issue “Indigenous and German Studies” of Seminar – A Journal of Germanic Studies. In their introduction, the editors of the special volume, Renae Watchman, Carrie Smith and Markus Stock, explore the possibilities of “building transdisciplinary relationships” (309), while Bradley Boovey and Natchee Blu Barnd, in their contribution, suggest thinking about such relationships in terms of “a relational framework based on the notions of affinities” highlighting similar “critical epistemological frameworks and transformative pedagogical approaches” (329).

The purpose of this panel is to go beyond “Indianthusiasm” by rejecting its centrality at the intersection of Indigenous Studies and German Studies. As we continue to do the work of decolonization and reconciliation, can we imagine a present and future engagement between German Studies and Indigenous Studies? What does this look like? Keenly aware of the dangers of the appropriation and commodification of Indigenous knowledges as well as the dangers of objectifying Indigenous peoples, this panel explores the possible meaningful ways that  Indigenous and Feminist German Studies can be in dialogue. As this interdisciplinary conversation continues to develop out of analyses of representation in the arts, we call for more theoretical, methodological, as well as transdisciplinary approaches to the topic. Possible avenues of inquiry could include but are not limited to:

Please send a 250-350-word abstract to all three panel organizers, Emily Frazier-Rath ([log in to unmask]), Lars Richter ([log in to unmask]), and Wendy Timmons ([log in to unmask]) no later than February 25, 2020.

Panel participants must be WiG members at the time of the conference. To find out how to become a WiG member, please visit http://www.womeningerman.org/membership/. In addition, we encourage panel panelists to join the WiG listserv; more information about the listserv can be found at http://www.womeningerman.org/wig-email-list/.

 

 

 

******************* 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