We welcome submissions for the following panel which will take place at the Coalition of Women in German’s (WiG) annual conference (November 4-7, 2021 in Portland, Oregon, USA)
Multilingual Literature and Anti-Racism
Marisol Bayona Roman, The University of Texas at Austin ([log in to unmask])
Nikki Fogle, University of Georgia ([log in to unmask])
Claire Scott, Kenyon College ([log in to unmask])
In her 2016 award-winning story "Herr Gröttrup setzt sich hin," Sharon Dodua Otoo uses an unconventional narrator to transform a typical German breakfast scene into a polyvocal encounter with Germany's racist past, present, and a potentially anti-racist future. In honor of her participation as a guest at the Coalition of Women in German’s 2021 conference and in celebration of her debut novel in German, Adas Raum (2021), we are seeking submissions that highlight the potential for multilingual/polyvocal language to inspire different ways of thinking and being both within and outside hegemonic modes of knowing and understanding. In particular, we are interested in non-canonical texts, misinterpreted works, and instances of misunderstanding or miscommunication that have contemporary relevance in light of recent calls for social justice. As in “Herr Gröttrup,” a simple mundane task can provide a backdrop for the emergence of unique forms of language and the imagination of new futures.
We welcome papers on a variety of time periods and media that support WiG’s commitment to antiracist intersectional feminism. Some authors and artists to consider in this context include, but are certainly not limited to: Sharon Dodua Otoo herself, Olivia Wenzel, Olumide Popoola, Phillip Khabo Koepsell, Yoko Tawada, and Natasha Kelly.
Some potential questions to consider include:
How do concepts become misinterpreted or untranslatable?
How do we reconcile the many modes and meanings of a single reference as it is discussed in different cultural and historical contexts?
What do we gain from polyvocal or multilingual representation that would otherwise get lost in translation or remain unexpressed?
In light of the manifold contributions by Black Germans to discourses on epistemic violence and injustice, how can cultural production reconfigure frames of knowledge?
What types of futures do polyvocal or multilingual representation open up? How do these imagined futures resonate with current social justice movements and/or Afrofuturism?
Where are the linguistic borders of German literature? How do polyvocal or multilingual texts challenge literary canons and disciplinary borders?
What language is needed to create or imagine anti-racist pasts, presents, and futures?
Please submit an abstract of around 300 words and a short bio to the organizers by February 15, 2021.
Given the volatile situation presented by the pandemic, we are not certain what the WiG conference will look like next year. At the moment, we are planning for an in-person conference in Portland, Oregon on November 4–7, 2021. We will revisit this discussion at our spring leadership meeting and will notify the membership at that point as to whether any changes are necessary and forthcoming. Membership in the Coalition of Women in German will be required to present on this panel but is not required to submit an abstract.