CfP: GSA Seminar 2019 "Environments, Resources, and Power in German Central Europe" (Deadline: January 20, 2019)

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Environments, Resources, and Power in German Central Europe

GSA Seminar Proposal

German Studies Association Annual Conference in Portland, OR, 3-6 October 2019



Victoria Harms, DAAD Visiting Assistant Professor, Johns Hopkins University,

Adrian Mitter, PhD Candidate, University of Toronto/ Herder Institute,


This GSA seminar seeks to explore the relationship between the environment and social, political and economic developments from the mid-19th century to 1945. Geographically focusing on the region between the Baltic and the Adriatic Seas, between the Rhineland and Volhynia, we seek answers to questions such as: How did the natural landscape factor into the construction of collective identities? How did the appropriation of the environment elicit private entrepreneurship and new policies? When, where and why did the exploitation of natural resources result in imperial, state or commercial  interventions in local and regional affairs? How did “nature”, its exploration and exploitation advance or inhibit the building of infrastructure, institutions, and nation-states?


The seminar seeks to assess the state of the art of environmental history and identify emerging trends with a focus on Central Europe. We wish to bring together experts and young scholars from across the fields of historical, social, and cultural studies to discuss the entanglements and interactions of the micro, meso and macro levels. We seek to demonstrate that knowledge of the region’s environmental history can successfully inform current debates about resources, nature, and human interactions with the environment.


The goal of the seminar is to develop an online platform for scholars, instructors and researchers in Central Europe’s environmental history. The platform will provide resources and material for syllabi such as readings, lists of primary and secondary sources, as well as links to archives, museums, and other institutional collections.


Seminar format:

Over the summer, we will circulate scholarly literature pertinent to our seminar. Participants will have the opportunity to present research projects, but only if they wish so. Mostly, we will work in small groups to discuss syllabi, exchange research and teaching experiences and develop modules for our online platform (using OSF).


Please submit a short CV and a 250-word proposal in which you describe your research focus and your particular interest in this seminar. Please send your material to both organizers by January 20, 2019.


The GSA seminar application portal will open on January 5, 2019. You must be an active GSA member in order to apply. Please submit your proposal electronically through the GSA website: