CFP: Binghamton University German Studies Colloquium: "The Present and Future of German Studies in North America", Binghamton, NY (15.1.2020)

Carl Gelderloos's picture


CFP: Foresight 2020 – The Present and Future of German Studies in North America (April 30–May 2, 2020)


A panorama of German Studies in North America today would necessarily include many contradictory vistas and involve many overlapping and entangled crises, pressures, interests, changes, and also perhaps openings and possibilities. As a disciplinary home to a diverse set of research interests, methodologies, teaching practices, and archives, where is German Studies now and where is it—where should it be—heading? What is the relevance of German Studies in North America today, and what are the innovations that could contribute to its relevance in the future? What are major obstructions in the field currently, and how can they be removed or circumvented?


In 2020, the Binghamton University German Studies Colloquium (BUGSC) wants to openly discuss the state and the future of the discipline, of the people involved, and of its institutional framework. BUGSC will be a forum for pragmatics and visionaries to pose and discuss local questions (what should we be teaching in our programs, how should we be teaching it, and why?), as well as more global ones—what resources, for example, does German Studies make available for understanding and improving the status of the humanities within our various institutions?


We hope that this forum will yield an invigorating dialogue, and that participants might gain from each other specific new practices for their repertoires, as well as ideas about how to talk to others—students, administrators, colleagues in other fields, the public—about what we do as Germanists, as teachers, and as humanists.


We invite Germanists in all positions—tenured, tenure-track, non-tenure-track, precarious, graduate students, working in programs of all shapes and sizes —to submit proposals for either 15–20 minute papers or 5-minute contributions for roundtable discussion. We explicitly welcome short remarks on proven new ideas: curricular changes, new courses, mentoring practices, strategies for securing new hires, research and teaching across disciplines and departments, and so on. Please submit an approximately half-page abstract with a brief biographical note or a panel proposal with three abstracts and three biographies by January 15, 2020 to Carl Gelderloos at and Harald Zils at


Questions and topics that might be addressed by participants include (but are not limited to) the following:


Undergraduate Studies

  • How much German language is still needed for German Studies?

  • What happened to the old division of language teaching, literature and Landeskunde? What are the current curricular and disciplinary faultlines or divisions of labor, and how might they be rethought?

  • German Studies: interdisciplinarity in one program?

  • Models of cooperation with other programs and departments

  • Language requirements and other issues of general education

  • Decolonizing and diversifying the German Studies curriculum

  • Teaching literature to the Instagram generation

  • Is the research term paper dead? What are successful alternatives?

  • New directions for study abroad

  • Whatever happened to “Languages across the Curriculum”?

  • One-(or two-)instructor programs

  • Attracting students to German after the age of the heritage language learner—who are our students, and who could they be? Outreach and inclusion as program-building.

  • German Studies vis-à-vis other language departments: competition or cooperation?

  • Considerations about canons: what are the objects of German Studies, and why?

  • Considering and re-considering technology in the classroom

  • Students’ motivation to study German(y)

  • The role of “the other” German-speaking countries

  • Trends in textbooks

  • Online platforms: are they worth it?

  • German Studies building cultural bridges to … where?

  • Status of German at smaller institutions /at the traditional small liberal arts college

  • German Studies and STEM fields

  • What do our students actually do with what they’ve learned?



  • German Studies and disciplinarity: disciplinary pluralism, trans- and interdisciplinarity

  • The latest “turns” in/on German Studies

  • What can North-America-based research on Central Europe achieve — and what can’t it?

  • German Studies as Digital Humanities, Environmental Humanities, and beyond 

  • Uneven representations of topics, groups, areas, eras as a challenge for German Studies.

  • Alternative venues for scholarly communication, and the genre expectations involved in hiring, promotion, and publication


German Studies as a Career

  • The situation of contingent faculty

  • Co-operation with administration

  • They call us “Auslandsgermanisten”: working with institutions in D-A-CH

  • The significance of professional organizations for the field

  • Working with Goethe, DAAD, and other near-government organizations

  • Institutional success stories

  • How to save German Studies programs



  • Room for the Radical: what disruptive change(s) would give German Studies a new meaning for education and/or discourse in society? 

  • What kinds of advocacy, lobbying, or political organizing need to take place outside of our “day jobs” in order to foster the conditions under which the study of language & culture, and the humanities more generally, could thrive and get the resources and respect they warrant?


The Binghamton University German Studies Colloquium (BUGSC), now in its eleventh year, provides a forum for conversation and exchange among scholars, teachers, students, translators, writers, artists and others interested in German Studies. It seeks to foster collaboration across programs, departments, disciplines and institutions. BUGSC will take place on April 30–May 2, 2020 on the Binghamton University campus. Further information on the program, registration and travel arrangements will be found shortly at:




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

Diese Ankündigung wurde von H-GERMANISTIK [Mark-Georg Dehrmann] betreut –

Categories: CFP