The Neighbor

How do we identify a neighbor or neighborhood in our current age of migration and mobility? Examining the religious, political, and cultural implications of “the neighbor” in the German-speaking world, this interdisciplinary conference seeks to enrich our understanding of not only genocide and violence but also exchange, aid, and co-operation.

The conference will span March 11-13, 2011. We will launch our events on Friday evening with a screening of “Siamo Italiani” (“The Italians”) in Dwinelle 142. This screening will be preceded by a presentation from Jeroen Dewulf, Director of the Dutch Studies program at Berkeley, and it will be followed by a discussion panel and a reception. The conference will convene again in Dwinelle 370 for three panels on Saturday (March 12) from 9:00am to 6:30pm and three panels on Sunday (March 13) from 9:00am to 1:00pm. Each panel will be introduced and moderated by a graduate student at Berkeley. There will be two keynote addresses: David Frick (UC Berkeley) on Saturday 9:00am-10:00am; and Kenneth Reinhard (UCLA) on Saturday from 5:00pm-6:30pm.

Our first keynote speaker, David Frick, will present a talk entitled “Kith, Kin, and Neighbors in Seventeeth Century Wilno.” Professor Frick teaches Polish literature, language, and history, and Medieval Slavic, language, and history at the University of California, Berkeley. His research interests include Church reforms in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Enlightenment Poland, cities, and Vilnius/Wilno. His current research is on neighborhoods and networks in the interfaith community of seventeenth-century Vilnius.

Our second keynote speaker, Kenneth Reinhard, will present his current research on our theme with a talk tentatively entitled “The Three Neighbors.” Professor Reinhard, whose research has focused on the history of critical and aesthetic theory, contemporary critical theory, and Jewish Studies, is the Director of the Program in Experimental Critical Theory at the University of California, Los Angeles. His current research focuses on “the political theology of the neighbor,” seeking to transform the binary distinction between the notions of enemy and friend. In his forthcoming book for Princeton University Press he will continue to investigate the possibility of “an ethics of the neighbor.”

Past conferences organized by the Department of German have developed the reputation for providing scholars from the US and abroad with a venue for presenting and discussing their research on cutting-edge topics. The proceedings of several recent conferences, “Rebellion and Revolution” (2008) and “The Threat and Allure of the Magical” (2009), have been published. This year we are inviting submissions from graduate students, advanced undergraduate students, and faculty in a wide range of fields. We look forward to your participation in our conference.