CFP: ‘Germany in the World: Intersecting Inequalities in Challenging Times’, DAAD Postgraduate Summer School (24.01.2023)

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Zur Erinnerung: die offizielle Anmeldefrist für die DAAD Sommerschule am King's College London läuft Dienstag (24. Januar) aus. In Ausnahmefällen melden Sie sich bitte per Mail an


DAAD Postgraduate Summer School: King’s College London, 17-21 July 2023 

‘Germany in the World: Intersecting Inequalities in Challenging Times’ 

co-organised by the Centre for British Studies at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the Centre for Irish-German Studies at the University of Limerick  


Thanks to the generous DAAD-funded scheme "Promoting German Studies in the UK and Ireland", King’s College London invites postgraduate applications for a week-long summer school to be held in London from 17-21 July 2023. The interdisciplinary summer school is designed for PhD students and advanced MA students from across the Humanities and Social Sciences in the UK, Germany and Ireland, as well as from the DAAD-funded global network of Centres for German and European Studies. The summer school’s chosen focus on ‘Intersecting Inequalities’ requires participants to consider the urgent implications of recent global challenges and social movements for reassessing the discipline of German Studies in a comparative contemporary perspective. Climate change, international conflicts, forced migration and mass displacement, the rise of populism and associated political upheavals are foremost amongst the global challenges in which Western democracies are deeply implicated. Germany occupies a dual position as the long-time political and economic powerhouse in the EU and the member state whose reluctance to claim international leadership rests on an acute awareness of its own historical status as a perpetrator nation.  


This summer school will focus on Germany as a complex case study for the consideration of intersecting power relations in the modern context. Graduate students will be supported to engage with intersectionality as a qualitative framework for considering how interconnected systems of power create interdependent systems of discrimination (Crenshaw 1989). In the wake of transnational campaigns as ‘Extinction Rebellion’, ‘Fridays for Future’, ‘Last Generation’, ‘#MeToo’, and ‘Black Lives Matter’ students will be encouraged to consider moments of political crisis during which social inequalities come to the fore. The academic panels and talks will be accompanied by a rich cultural programme. We will organise film screenings, topical readings and discussions with contemporary authors and activists, as well as a London history walk around our themes – class, ethnicity, gender, migration – which will allow students to trace transnational and cross-period German intersections in the topography of the city. 


To speak to a wide range of disciplines and interests, contributions will be structured around four broad thematic strands – ‘Class’, ‘Ethnicity’, ‘Gender’ and ‘Migration’ – the ways in which intersecting inequalities connect between and shape experiences of these will form the subject of panels, reading groups, keynote talks, and cultural events. We are especially interested in issues particular to the German context, as well as comparative transnational perspectives that draw out the historical, political, cultural and linguistic specificity of different spaces and moments. We would therefore welcome contributions that focus on intersecting inequalities in Germany, with reference to Ireland and/or the United Kingdom. Students working on any aspect of the following areas – both contemporary and historical – are warmly invited to apply: 



German thinkers like Karl Marx and Max Weber were fundamental in advancing our understanding of socio-economic classes based on work they carried out in the UK, yet the term ‘class’ is hardly used in internal discourses about Germany’s social stratification. However, widening social cleavages, which have been exacerbated during the Covid-19 pandemic, have led to heightening class-consciousness especially in deindustrializing areas across former East and West Germany. Our discussions in this strand will be informed by ongoing debates about the nation’s East-West divide in relation to right-wing populism and its appeal to the white working-class, as well as histories of working-class activism by migrantized subjects in Germany. Perspectives from the Social Sciences and comparisons with the UK context will underpin our engagement with class, economic inequality and (electoral) politics as aspects often downplayed in Humanities debates. 



Following the racist attack in Hanau in February 2020 that saw nine people murdered by a far-right extremist, Chancellor Merkel immediately acknowledged the prevalence of racism within contemporary German society and its role in hate-crimes. This strand will consider racism and Islamophobia in the modern context against the contested legacy of Germany as a hegemonic power that has been slow to reckon with its colonial past. In the context of decolonizing work that has gained traction and visibility through Black Lives Matter, our panels will further examine intersectional activist and artistic interventions and transnational histories, foremost amongst which the modern Black German movement, which has been significantly shaped by feminists committed to opposing racial and gender oppression. 



Germany offers a complex case study for the consideration of gender in the modern context. Defined by such poles as Weimar’s progressive Neue Frau, Nazi conceptualisations of maternal homemakers, and GDR validation of its female workforce, the German situation can appear shifting and contradictory. Contemporary debates also reveal much about prevailing social and discursive constructions of gender and their real-life implications. Germany’s far-right, for example, has linked its ultra-conservative gender agenda to immigration and integration, while migrantized artists such as Lady Bitch Ray draw critical attention to the ways in which their sexuality is racialized. And during 2020, hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people in Germany increased by 36%, with those of non-binary gender identities frequently denied basic legal recognition and protection. The strand will employ gender as a lens to focus on moments of political crisis to better understand the relationship between gender inequalities and prevailing power structures. 



This strand will examine migration through comparative consideration of the modern German, UK and Irish contexts, and shifting perceptions of those nations as countries of immigration. In Germany, post-war phenomena of mass-migration and labour recruitment have given way to a global age of transnational migration and displacement where bounded concepts of the nation are both challenged, on the one hand, and increasingly instrumentalised by populist parties, on the other. This strand will consider key moments in the histories of migrant-led thought, art and activism in both Germanies - whether in the role of Iranian students in the 68 movement, the Italian discourse of operaismo (workerism) adopted in the Kanak Attak movement of the 1990s, or more recent theory and practice emerging from theatre makers under the label of ‘postmigration’. It will bring these histories into dialogue with the contested legacy of the Third Reich in reunified Germany’s preparedness to take in refugees, most notably in Chancellor Merkel’s decision to open borders in late 2015, and in the subsequent rise of the far right, which has accompanied renewed outbreaks of violence against minority groups. Comparative perspectives on post-Brexit Britain will enable clearer understanding of historical connections and salient differences between contemporary migration regimes. 



Thanks to generous DAAD funding, there is no course fee. Lunches and snacks will be provided by us throughout the day, as well as two dinners. We will also cover accommodation costs in a hostel in London. We can pay up to £75 per return train ticket (second-class only) from within the UK; €150 per return flight from Germany and other European countries; and €1000 per return flight from outside of Europe. Any remaining costs will need to be covered by the participants and/or their home institutions. 


Application Process 

Please submit an abstract (300-400 words) for a 15-minute presentation – including name and institution, a one-page CV including key research areas and academic interests, and a letter of motivation. The proposal should be submitted by your supervisor with a brief confirmation of their support to by 24 January 2023. The organisers will let you know by the end of February whether your application has been successful. 


We look forward to hearing from you. 


Dr Isabelle Hertner and Dr Áine McMurtry (King’s College London, Centre for German Transnational Relations), Professor Gesa Stedman (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Centre for British Studies), Dr Marius Guderjan (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Centre for British Studies, and Freie Universität Berlin), and Professor Gisela Holfter (University of Limerick, Centre for Irish-German Studies) 


Redaktion: Constanze Baum – Lukas Büsse – Mark-Georg Dehrmann – Nils Gelker – Markus Malo – Alexander Nebrig – Johannes Schmidt

Diese Ankündigung wurde von H-GERMANISTIK [Nils Gelker] betreut –