CFP: GSA Seminar on "Private Matters: Expanding the Margins of the Lebenslauf"

Leslie Morris's picture
Call for Papers
January 26, 2018
Minnesota, United States
Subject Fields: 
German History / Studies, Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, Jewish History / Studies


CFP for Seminar at German Studies Association, Pittsburgh, PA, September 27-30, 2018



Private Matters: Expanding the Margins of the Lebenslauf



Leslie Morris, University of Minnesota ( 

Karen Remmler, Mount Holyoke College ( 


Seminar Description

This seminar questions the notion that "life writing" occupies a sphere of experience separate from the academic self. Through a series of close reading and sharing of work in progress circulated in advance, this seminar of 12-15 participants will pose a set of questions: What are some of the affective—both conscious and unconscious—mechanisms that drive our scholarly work? How can we reconstitute the cv so that the private is no longer absent, invisible, and on the margins? And how does this help us to rethink what constitutes knowledge and scholarship in the first place? Even as genres such as oral testimonies, autobiography, and memoir have been a subject of study in German Studies across the disciplines, we invite colleagues to participate based on their engagement with material and experiences gleaned from family genealogies, events of trauma, and professional upheaval. There are complex and often unacknowledged motives for why we do the scholarship that we do. While there are sometimes direct family histories that shape our scholarly lives, we will also explore how unexpected hybrid origins might serve as a point of departure.  Drawing from work represented by, for example, Alice Kaplan (French Lessons), Irene Kacandes (Daddy's War) and the recent collection edited by Angela Bammer and Ruth Ellen Joeres (The Future of Scholarly Writing), and suggested texts and work in progress, we will analyze the shifts in academic writing that have created a space for interweaving life stories with analytical work. This seminar will bring together a diverse group of scholars to think about how our private lives intersect with our lives as academics. We will explore what has led us to engage with genealogies that are both connected to and seemingly unrelated to our work in German studies.


Seminar Format

As a variant on the seminar format, we propose a work in progress workshop based on pre-circulated five-page papers or excerpts that reflect upon the questions raised in the description. We are interested in writing that expands the frame of what is typically contained within the margins of the CV.


If you wish to participate in a seminar, please visit the GSA website and apply electronically at You must be a 2018 member of the GSA to apply.


Applicants are asked to provide a 500-word abstract of what they hope to contribute to the seminar and a short curriculum vitae (CV).


Applications for seminar enrollment are due by 26 January 2018. The conveners will make their determination of the membership of their seminars by 2 February. The GSA Seminar Program Committee will inform applicants whether they have been accepted by 5 February.


Please direct all inquiries to the conveners of your seminar.

Contact Info: 

Leslie Morris

Dept. of German, Scandinavian and Dutch

University of Minnesota


Karen Remmer

Department of German Studies

Mt. Holyoke College

Contact Email: