CfP: AGS conference at Bangor University, 29-31 August 2018 (deadline: 6.4.2018)

Frauke Matthes's picture
Call for Papers
April 6, 2018
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
German History / Studies, Literature, Linguistics, Nationalism History / Studies, Political History / Studies



AGS Conference at BANGOR UNIVERSITY, 29-31 August 2018



The next conference of the Association for German Studies in Great Britain and Ireland will take place at Bangor University, 29-31 August 2018. The lead panel for the conference will be Anniversary Capital, with a number of regular as well as one-off panels.

If you are interested in contributing a paper to any of these panels, please send your proposal directly to the e-mail address of the convenors listed below. Proposals for papers should be 150-200 words and should reach the relevant convenors by 6 April 2018.


Lead Panel

Anniversary Capital

Convenors: Anna Saunders (Bangor); / Sarah Pogoda (Bangor); – please email both conveners with your proposal


In an era of post-truth politics, the emotional resonance of the past is burgeoning: national and international commemorative calendars crystallise the past around iconic events, in order to provide emotional capital for contemporary society. The 'memory boom' of recent years appears to be driven above all by anniversary activity, and 2018 marks numerous historical milestones: the end of the centenary commemorations of the First World War, 100 years of female suffrage, 200 years of Marx’s birth and the fiftieth anniversary of 1968, to name but a few. As with the recent quincentenary of the Lutheran Reformation, however, these anniversaries will doubtless also become a source of political capital and commercial activity for remembering communities, generating commemorative publications, museum exhibitions, monument competitions and public performances. But what and who do we choose to remember, and why? Which events and personalities become forgotten amidst such anniversary activity? What myths become created? To what extent does this trend perpetuate a ritualized memorial culture dominated by routine commemorative events?


This lead panel on 'anniversary capital' intends to examine the past and present obsession with anniversaries, and seeks papers addressing, though not limited to, questions of:


  • political memory and anniversary activity
  • memorialization
  • commemorative exhibitions, performances and re-enactments
  • the 'eventization' of the past 
  • forgotten anniversaries
  • the globalization of memory narratives
  • the institutionalisation of memory
  • the role of biography in anniversary remembrance 
  • competing anniversary activities or memory communities
  • the relationship between 'canon' and 'archive' in commemorative activity
  • anniversary practices / the cultural practice of anniversaries
  • the economy of anniversaries
  • past uses and abuses of anniversaries
  • anniversaries as memory labour (Jahrestage als Erinnerungsarbeit)



Linguistics, Language Teaching and Learning, and Translation Studies

Convenor: Melani Schröter (Reading);


The linguistics standing panel at the AGS welcomes papers on any aspect of German and Germanic linguistics, including comparative studies, translation studies and research on teaching German as a foreign language. Papers may deal with diachronic linguistics or trends in current usage, second language acquisition, language policy, sociolinguistics and (critical) discourse analysis. A range of contributions is welcomed, those with a more theoretical and conceptual angle as well as those based on empirical research. A range of methodological approaches within empirical linguistic analysis is equally embraced.



Medieval and Early Modern Studies

Convenor: Henrike Lähnemann (Oxford);


This panel invites papers on all aspects of medieval and early modern culture: its literature, material culture, history and thought. The panel warmly welcomes comparative perspectives and work connecting this period to others.



New Approaches to the Eighteenth Century

Convenor: Joanna Neilly (Oxford);


This panel, although firmly rooted in eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century German culture, invites papers that consider this period from innovative new angles which are enlivening German Studies more broadly today. Categories might include race, gender, colonial desires, cosmopolitanism, Germany's position in the wider world, the 'glocal', marginalized identities, celebrity, new theoretical approaches. What does it mean to study the eighteenth century today?


The panel proposes a broad and inclusive understanding of 'eighteenth-century culture' (literature, theatre, visual culture, history and thought up until c. 1820). Comparative perspectives and work connecting this period to others are welcome.



Nineteenth and early Twentieth-Century Studies

Convenor: Malcolm Spencer (Nottingham Trent);


Papers are invited on any aspect of the culture of German-speaking countries in the nineteenth century and earlier decades of the twentieth century (up to about 1930), including literature, theatre, visual and musical culture and thought. 



Project Briefings: Doing German Studies in 2018

Convenors: Rebecca Braun (Lancaster); / Benedict Schofield (KCL); – please email both conveners with your proposal


This panel will consist of up to six 8-minute pitches from current research projects in German Studies. We particularly welcome projects that combine 'core' Modern Languages skills (close-textual analysis, cultural analysis, linguistic and cultural translation) with 'outlier' methods that are necessitated by engaging with a range of stakeholders beyond the discipline and beyond academe. The aim is to share best practice in designing, carrying out and reflecting on German-Studies-led research in the contemporary research landscape. The pitches will be followed by 45 minutes of audience-panel discussion that unpicks what interdisciplinarity, impact, and knowledge exchange really mean when viewed not as mere aspirations but as actual working practices in our core field.



Teaching German Studies in the UK and Ireland Today

Convenor: Gisela Holfter (Limerick);


As a 'Bestandsaufnahme mit Aussicht' this session sets out to explore the current situation of German Studies in the UK and Ireland, looking specifically at recent changes, current challenges and new trends in teaching.


Aspects that will be of interest are changes to the curriculum (teaching language skills, including for specific purposes such as Business German, the different periods of literature, linguistics, film, intercultural, area and global studies – the emergence of and emphasis on some and reduction of other areas), the situation with regard to the next generation of faculty, students numbers, the influence of Digital Humanities and other changes/trends.



The 'Transperiod' in Teaching and Research

Convenors: Catherine Smale (KCL); / Sarah Bowden (KCL); – please email both convenors with your proposal


There is currently a great deal of attention on transnationalism in language and cultural studies, which focuses on breaking down (often falsely imposed) 'national' boundaries in order to challenge the assumption that cultures are discrete units that correspond to clearly-defined geographical locations. But what about the boundaries of periodization? If creative juxtaposition of 'transnational' objects (cultural artefacts, historical/political movements etc.) is to be encouraged, then why not the creative juxtaposition of objects from different periods? What might this juxtaposition mean for the future of teaching and research in modern languages?


We invite papers which explore cross-period topics and methodologies and their implications for research and teaching. Proposals may address questions of influence and adaptation; however, we are primarily interested in the juxtaposition of cultural objects that are not directly related to (or 'inspired by') one another.



Figurations of In-/Hospitality in German Culture and Thought

Convenors: Maria Roca Lizarazu (Warwick); / Joseph Twist (UCD); – please email both convenors with your proposal


Between the optimism of Willkommenskultur and the new acceptability of the far right, the theme of (in)hospitality is central to contemporary German discourse. This panel welcomes papers that explore new conceptualisations of community that move beyond the established intellectual tradition of cosmopolitanism from Kant to Habermas. Areas for discussion include artistic responses to the paradoxes of hospitality, exploring the extent to which art might be able to suggest alternative mode(l)s of togetherness that destabilise binary categories such as self/Other and/or essentialist notions of community. We are particularly interested in figurations of love, friendship and neighbourliness as ephemeral and contingent modes of community formation.



"O (null) jahre volksbühne plus"

Convenor: Sarah Pogoda (Bangor);


Hardly any appointment in recent years has been as controversial in Germany as Chris Dercon's appointment as director of the experimental theatre the Volksbühne. Suspicion that Dercon would  make the Volksbühne a more events-driven crowd-pulling house with the concentration on profit-making and an exploitation of the "New Spirit of Capitalism" (Botalski & Chiapello), conflated with furious irritation on the democratic deficit in the process of replacing Dercon’s predecessor Frank Castorf. The proposed panel will re-assess the past, present and future of the Volksbühne Berlin, as an ongoing experimental and transformative place for responses to social and political conflict.



Network Panel: Literature in Divided Germany/Literatur im geteilten Deutschland

Convenors: Anke Jaspers (ETH Zürich/HU Berlin); / Stephan Ehrig (Durham); – please email both convenors with your proposal


The international network Literature in Divided Germany (LIDG) brings together scholars who are not only interested in one of the two literatures in divided Germany, but who conduct research on German-German literary relations, on contacts and cooperations between writers in divided Germany. The panel of the network LIDG (based at HU Berlin) invites papers dealing with topics on the literary relations in the time of the German division between 1949 and 1989. The panel seeks contributions to the growing field of research interested in the varied interrelations and the interconnectedness of authors, writing, literary and publishing circles and literary narratives that transcend the political and ideological borders of the two German post-war states. The conveners particularly invite contributions that correspond to this year's lead panel, 'Anniversary Capital'.


Possible topics could include but are not restricted to:


  • literary reception
  • author networks
  • publishing processes and practices
  • literary prices
  • readings and readers in the 'other' Germany
  • 1968 and connections between West and East Germany
  • anniversary celebrations in both states
  • East/West rivalries and their literary impact



The Politics of the First-Person in German Language Culture

Convenors: Sara Jones (Birmingham); / David Zell (Birmingham); – please email both convenors with your proposal


This panel will focus on how first-person texts in German language culture may have been re-used and re-purposed for political goals. 'Text' here is understood in the broader sense and includes any form of representation with meaning, such as written language, fine art, films, photography, television and radio programmes, advertising and all genres of written, performed and recorded music. Papers could address issues such as the politicised reappraisal of historical narratives relating to cultural and political personalities, the institutionalisation of testimony in relation to traumatic pasts, or the role of the first person in constructing authenticity.



The Austrian Gedenkjahr

Convenor: Katya Krylova (Aberdeen);


2018 marks 100 years since the collapse of the Habsburg Empire and the foundation of the Austrian Republic in 1918, and 80 years since the Anschluss in 1938. These anniversaries will be marked in Austria throughout 2018. This panel invites papers on recent Austrian literary texts, films, and memorials, which reflect upon one or more of these key events of 20th century Austrian history. What do these works tell us about the significance of these historically-freighted dates for Austrian identity today, and about the ways in which they are being remembered? The panel particularly welcomes papers which treat the work of multiple authors, filmmakers or practitioners. It is envisaged that the panel will take the format of shorter papers and a longer discussion involving both presenters and conference participants.

Contact Info: 

Dr Frauke Matthes, conference officer of the Association for German Studies in Great Britain and Ireland

University of Edinburgh, School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures

50 George Square

Edinburgh EH8 9LH

Contact Email: