CFP: GSA 2020 Panel: Architecture in the Age of Trump: Perspectives from German Cultural History and Aesthetics, Washington, D.C. (12.02.2020)

Aleksandra Prica's picture

Annual Meeting of the German Studies Association, Oct. 1st-4th, 2020, in Washington, DC


Co-Organizers:  Peter Erickson (Colorado State University) and Aleksandra Prica (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)


Deadline: February 12th, 2020



            On February 4th, reports emerged of a draft executive order, being circulated by the White House, that would mandate classical forms of architecture for federal buildings in the United States.  Stating that classical architectural style would henceforth be "the preferred and default style" for new federal buildings, including post offices, federal courthouses, and office buildings, the draft order not only asserted the superior aesthetic value of classical architecture but insisted on its democratic roots in ancient Rome and Athens. 


            The draft prompted an immediate controversy and drew a sharp rebuke from the American Institute of Architects.  While the final status of the order is still pending, and it is not known whether it will ever be implemented, the proposal nevertheless raises interesting questions about the intersection of politics and aesthetics in the present political moment in the United States. 


             For a proposed panel at the annual meeting of the German Studies Association, Oct. 1st-4th, in Washington, DC, the panel organizers seek papers that offer perspectives from German cultural history and aesthetics on these developments.  As critics have pointed out, the plans unwittingly reference a set of ideals embraced by fascist architecture.  More broadly, the plans have emerged in a political context in which the ongoing status of Confederate war memorials is being hotly debated and questions have been raised about the problematic legacy of neoclassicism.  The topics addressed by the panel may include (but are not limited to):


  • Nazi aesthetics and architecture
  • Albert Speer and Ruinenwert
  • Philosophical perspectives on architecture and monumentality
  • Critiques of monumentality in postwar and contemporary German art
  • Architecture and empire
  • Architecture and temporality
  • Controversy surrounding memorial design and placement
  • Neoclassicism and reactionary politics, including the history of racism


            Interested participants are asked to email a brief abstract (250-300 words), a title, and a short bio to both organizers by Wednesday, February 12th: Peter Erickson ( and Aleksandra Prica (

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

Diese Ankündigung wurde von H-GERMANISTIK [Johannes Schmidt] betreut –