CfP for GSA Seminar: Beyond Umweltschutz: Narrative and Visual Responses to Environmental Threats

Kathryn Julian's picture
Call for Papers
January 26, 2020
Subject Fields: 
Environmental History / Studies, European History / Studies, German History / Studies

CfP for GSA Seminar: Beyond Umweltschutz: Narrative and Visual Responses to Environmental Threats
The German Studies Association: Forty-fourth Annual Conference in Washington DC (Crystal City), October 1 to 4, 2020

Deadline for Submissions: January 26, 2020


Germany has a long and controversial history of environmental engagement. As the global dangers of climate change become more apparent, the question of how to communicate environmental threats is ever more pressing. How do we connect past challenges and solutions to present-day ones? Should we convey doomsday messages or stories of hope?  Will scientific evidence carry the day or do we need stories that engage the emotions?  How do terms such as Anthropocene impact the conversation? How does a German perspective fit into international debates?


We invite contributions that address responses to and communication about environmental crises from a variety of disciplinary angles as well as contemporary and historical perspectives. We are especially interested in papers that think through narrative and visual representations in stories about environmental threats. Papers might focus on cross-cultural exchange, genre and theoretical approaches, or how different political, religious, scientific, and social actors shape the narrative.


Seminar Format: Participants submit 4000-word papers by August 15 to all members of the seminar.  At the GSA, we will engage in extensive discussion based on the papers and brief presentations. Each day will be organized according to thematic panels. The conveners will offer a daily summary.


Please send a 300-word abstract in English or German and a brief bio by January 26, 2020 to all three organizers, Julie Ault (; Katharina Gerstenberger (, and Kathryn Julian (


To be a seminar participant, presenters must become members of the German Studies Association before 15 February 2020.