Barriers Conference

This past weekend marked the 23rd annual Interdisciplinary German Studies Conference. This year’s topic, Barriers, attracted a diverse crowd of scholars from across the globe, including speakers from Egypt, Russia, Slovakia, Germany, Austria, the UK, Ireland, Canada and the United States. Topics ranged from the theoretical to the concrete, from contemporary European migration to medieval depictions of race relations and war. Through the media of literature, film, language and material culture, conference attendees challenged us to reimagine barriers as catalysts for social and political change, examining the role of theory and scholarship for evoking real transformation in an increasingly globalized world. Guest speaker and visiting professor Dr. Clemens Ruthner concluded Saturday’s panels with a presentation on the roles of liminality and monstrosity in popular culture, while Sunday’s panel concluded with a presentation by Professor Claire Kramsch which placed the last 50 years of second-language learning pedagogy into dialogue with Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish, challenging us to reassess the future of foreign language acquisition as both students and teachers. Thank you to our many participants, sponsors, organizers and volunteers!

Organizers from left: Jon Cho-Polizzi, Alicia Roy, Cara Tovey, and Stephanie Peltner
Organizers from left: Jon Cho-Polizzi, Alicia Roy, Cara Tovey, and Stephanie Peltner