GSA Seminar - Transnational Germans: Local Actors and Global Spaces, Global Actors and Local Spaces (deadline: January 20)

Cristian Cercel's picture

Seminar - Transnational Germans: Local Actors and Global Spaces, Global Actors and Local Spaces


The 45th German Studies Association Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, from September 30 to October 4, 2021 will host a series of seminars in addition to conference sessions and roundtables (for general conference information see **).


Seminars meet for all three days of the conference during the first or second morning slot to foster extended discussion, rigorous intellectual exchange, and intensified networking. They are led by two to four conveners and consist of 10 to 20 participants, at least some of whom should be graduate students. In order to reach the goal of extended discussion, seminar organizers and participants are required to participate in all three installments of the seminar.


Cristian Cercel,
James Koranyi, 


The seminar "Transnational Germans: Local Actors and Global Spaces, Global Actors and Local Spaces" will explore the theoretical, methodological, and empirical aspects and challenges that come with the transnational turn in German historiography and German studies. In particular, it will examine the significance of that transnational turn for the study of ‘German’ migrants and ‘German’ minorities. While shifting notions of ‘Germanness’ form a focal point in scholarship, we seek a far broader approach to this topic by bringing together scholars who work on different case studies and address issues related to ‘German’ migrants and ‘German’ minorities from decidedly transnational perspectives. We encourage a strongly comparative discussion that bridges any divisions between German ‘economic’ migrants, political émigrés, the ‘German’ historical diaspora in Central and Eastern Europe, ‘German expellees’ and others. The project conducted at the Ruhr University Bochum on postwar Danube Swabian ‘expellee’ migrations to France and Brazil, out of which this proposal emerged, provides just one example of the entangled and shifting character of ‘German’ identifications beyond the German nation-state. By foregrounding transnational comparative approaches, with examples from different geographies and in different timeframes, the seminar will illuminate both specific case studies and broader issues of transnational German identifications.




The seminar will be based around the discussion of both theoretical and empirical papers. The participants will have to engage with a pre-circulated position paper, either by critically commenting on it or by integrating its framework/approach within an empirical case study draft paper. 

The convenors aim to pre-circulate one – jointly written – position paper by June 1. The participants will then have to send their reactions to the paper by September 15. The convenors will also send one or two case study papers by the same date. These contributions will then constitute the backbone of the seminar discussions, debates, and break-out groups, where the issues discussed will be disassembled and then reassembled through a particular lens (e.g. the individual, gender, race, networks, economics, migration stories etc.).


The seminar also aims to develop a small network of scholars that will constitute the core authors of a subsequent edited collection. To this end, the participants will be carefully selected to reflect different approaches to the seminar’s topic. The convenors will pay particular attention in the selection process to issues of equality, diversity, and inclusion.




Please send a short biography/CV as well as a short description of your current research project/research interests by January 20, showing how they tie in with the seminar's focus, to and Graduate students are encouraged to apply.