Sarah Larson's picture
Call for Papers
November 30, 2015
Ohio, United States
Subject Fields: 
German History / Studies, Film and Film History, European History / Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies

2016 Germanic Graduate Student Association Conference

At The Ohio State University

Coined by Sir Thomas More in 1516, the word “utopia” — an amalgam of the ancient Greek οὐ (not), τόπος (place) and the classical Latin suffix –ia — describes, in its eponymous work, an imaginary island with a perfect social, legal, and political system. Despite the island’s perfection, More’s work leaves open the question of whether this non-place is truly ideal.

How is Germany’s identity imagined, both from inside and outside its borders, as a utopia or as its negation, a dystopia? At the same time, how does the notion of utopia help us understand German writers’ and artists’ visions of places beyond their country’s borders? The questionable aspects of utopia may also become visible in cultural contact, contact that prompts alterations of experiences, practices, and worldviews.

Theories of utopia have not been limited to politics, but incorporate ecological, economic, religious, and philosophical discourses. At our conference, we seek to gather perspectives from various fields of study to investigate the possibilities, limitations, and implications that arise when conceptualizing an ideal world. We therefore welcome presentations concerning:

  • (Anti-)fascist views of Germany
    • Totalitarianism
    • Futurism
  • Contemporary issues of the German political state
    • Surveillance / privacy concerns
    • Immigrants / Refugees
  • German – Soviet Relations
  • Science fiction
  • Schlaraffenland
  • Postcoloniality
  • Topics in Race, Gender, and Ethnicity Studies
  • Identity Studies
  • Religious conceptions of Heaven/Valhalla and Armageddon/Ragnarök
  • Cosmography
  • Identity Studies
  • Other relevant topics

Please submit an abstract of 250-300 words to Bill Baker ( by November 30th, 2015. The conference will take place on February 26-27, 2016. Expected presentation length will be 20 minutes. Presentations in English or German are welcome.

Contact Info: 

Sarah Larson

Germanic Graduate Student Association

Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures
The Ohio State University
498 Hagerty Hall
1775 College Rd. South
Columbus, OH 43210
Contact Email: