CFP: (German Studies Association Conference Seminar) Noncitizenship and Artistic Practice, Arlington, VA (26.01.2020)

Ela Gezen's picture

German Studies Association Conference

Crystal City, VA

October 1-4, 2020

Call for Seminar Applications


Seminar: Noncitizenship and Artistic Practice



Ela Gezen (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

Damani Partridge (University of Michigan Ann Arbor)

Beverly Weber (University of Colorado Boulder)


Abstract: This seminar will examine the possibilities and limits of artistic production and participation for noncitizens, both historically and in the present, in Germany and beyond. What does it mean to be a noncitizen? What does it mean to be an artist without a state? How might legal conceptualizations of citizenship be shifted through noncitizens’ artistic practices? And how might citizenship be enacted through art? To what extent does art represent an opportunity for political practice and participation? To what extent do artistic practices exceed the limits of citizenship, providing new possibilities of participation and care? What does it mean to be an artist without institutionalized care? Our seminar will think through these questions as articulated by German exiles abroad, post-war Turkish immigrants, Palestinian refugees, African migrants, Black German artists, those fleeing war and persecution in Yugoslavia, Romania, and Iran throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and contemporary artists in refuge.


Format: Participants will write five-page position papers in response to the above questions, by also engaging with a short list of assigned texts on key concepts central to the seminar theme. We will circulate these papers in advance of the seminar and focus on discussion when we meet. For the discussion, we will group the papers on the basis of focus, theme, and methodology. The co-conveners will introduce each day with brief comments addressing the shared themes, as well as intersections and points of tension, in that day’s papers. 


Goals: In this seminar, we seek to collaboratively examine the possibilities for artistic practice from the position of noncitizens. This will entail a critical engagement with the concept of citizenship beyond its legal applications and institutional dimensions, to consider cultural practices as “acts of citizenship,” and also as acts beyond citizenship. Furthermore, in the face of differential exposure to death and violence, we will examine what kinds of artistic practices emerge. As scholars and practitioners from a range of disciplines, we will look at artistic practices that include the everyday, literary, performative, and filmic. We will think through their institutional, professional, state-sponsored, transnationally supported, and/or local dimensions as well as attending to their historic and socio-political contexts. We will consider artistic responses to processes and moments of immigration, asylum, and refuge and investigate how art enacts some forms of citizenship. This will allow us to examine references to existing traditions, topoi, and narratives and also to consider the medium-specific ways in which noncitizen artists address and comment on their experiences in and beyond Germany. 


Applications: The GSA submission website will open on January 6, 2020 with a seminar application deadline set for January 26, 2020. You will be asked to submit a brief abstract (500 words) and a short C.V. (500-1,000 words). For further information on the GSA conference, please visit the GSA website: For questions regarding this seminar, feel free to contact the co-convenors. 

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 –