31st Annual Berkeley Interdisciplinary German Studies Conference

“Fictions of Reproduction”
Date: 02/24/2023 – 02/25/2023
Time: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: Zoom click here
In a 1926 article for the Berliner Tageblatt, the journalist Gabriele Tergit wrote of a court case in which four people were charged with violating the Weimar Republic’s laws prohibiting abortion. She called her story “A Modern Gretchen Tragedy”—an invocation of Goethe’s heroine Margarete, incarcerated for infanticide following an unwanted pregnancy. Tergit’s piece, of chilling relevance in our current moment, is a reminder that cultural discourse on controlling reproduction is inextricable from fictional traditions. In the wake of the Dobbs decision, and the crop of authoritarian fictions it has generated on the nature of personhood and reproduction, we thus find ourselves drawn to asking questions about reproduction—human and not—in works of print and audiovisual fiction produced, set in, or somehow involving the German-speaking world. Reproduction, and the control thereof, are particularly salient given Germany’s past as a fascist and colonial power, its (contested) present as a nation of migrants, and its status as a site of vehement opposition to nuclear energy. The anxieties that surround reproduction—about race, national identity, citizenship, fertility, and health—are relevant to all these discourses.
In addition, we are interested in narratives of non-biological reproduction in the relationship of artwork to automation. As the creator-effacing power of artificial intelligence upholds and shatters existing categories of genesis, we invite submissions that negotiate the nature of artistic (re)production, and help to continue a conversation as old as any medium itself.
For more information about the Conference, please use the calendar below and click on the date of the Conference.
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