CFP: GSA 2020, Noncitizenship and Artistic Production (due January 27)

Beverly Weber's picture

Apply soon for this seminar on noncitizenship and artistic production! Note that we will not be requesting full articles in advance of the seminar, but rather, short position papers that can help guide our discussions. Deadline for application is January 27th (this is unfortunately a hard deadline set by the GSA); the portal will close at 11:59 EST.

The submission portal is here:

The site with additional info on GSA seminars is here:

Seminar Title:

Noncitizenship and Artistic Practice


Ela Gezen (Associate Professor of German Studies, UMass Amherst),

Damani Partridge (Associate Professor of Anthropology and Afroamerican and African Studies, and Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures Department Affiliate, University of Michigan Ann Arbor),

Beverly Weber (Associate Professor of German Studies; Faculty in Jewish Studies and International Affairs, University of Colorado Boulder),


This seminar will examine the possibilities and limits of artistic production and participation for noncitizens, both historically and in the present, in Germany and beyond. What does it mean to be a noncitizen? What does it mean to be an artist without a state?How might legal conceptualizations of citizenship be shifted through noncitizens’ artistic practices? And how might citizenship be enacted through art? To what extent does art represent an opportunity for political practice and participation? To what extent do artistic practices exceed the limits of citizenship, providing new possibilities of participation and care? What does it mean to be an artist without institutionalized care? Our seminar will think through these questions as articulated by German exiles abroad, 

post-war Turkish immigrants, Palestinian refugees, African immigrants, Black German artists, those fleeing war and persecution in Yugoslavia, Romania, and Iran throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and contemporary artists in refuge.


Participants will write (and share) 5-page papers in response to the questions above (while also engaging selected assigned texts) by August. Co-convenors will group papers on the basis of method, focus, and theme, and will provide brief comments addressing the shared topics, intersections, and points of tension for each day.

Goals and Procedures:

In this seminar, we seek to collaboratively examine the possibilities for artistic practice from the position of noncitizens. This will entail a critical engagement with the concept of citizenship beyond its legal applications and institutional dimensions, to consider cultural practices as “acts of citizenship,” and also as acts beyond citizenship. Furthermore, in the face of differential exposure to death and violence, we will examine what kinds of artistic practices emerge. As scholars and practitioners from a range of disciplines, we will look at artistic practices that include the everyday, literary, performative, and filmic. We will think through their institutional, professional, state-sponsored, transnationally supported, and/or local dimensions as well as attending to their historic and socio-political contexts. We will examine artistic responses to processes and moments of immigration, asylum, and refuge and investigate how art enacts some forms of citizenship as well as forms beyond. This will allow us to examine references to existing traditions, topoi, and narratives and also to consider the medium-specific ways in which noncitizen artists address and comment on their experiences in and beyond Germany.

As seminar conveners, we envision our role as recruiting participants, communicating questions and assigned readings (by April), facilitating and moderating discussion, and identifying connections and divergences between papers.

Silent Auditors: