News & Events

Call for Papers

28th Annual Interdisciplinary German Studies Conference
February 22, 2020 at the University of California, Berkeley

Keynote Speaker: TBA

Schul(d)en: Guilt, Debt, Education

Stretching across 200,000 square feet in the heart of Berlin, The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe was inaugurated in 2005, sixty years after the European conclusion of World War II. The monument, funded by the German federal government at a cost of approximately €27 million, is a site of both remembrance and education for many, including students who receive tours and participate in workshops.

This year’s conference finds inspiration in the German word Schuld and its connotations of both ‘guilt’ and ‘debt’ in English, and further seeks to connect Schuld to education, and its role in recognizing, atoning for, or disregarding guilt and debt. This might include the economic realities of gaining an education; language used to educate about or obscure tragedies, victims, or survivors; curricula that center the experiences of trauma survivors; art, design, and architecture related to memory and guilt or debt – such as Stolpersteine – and their use in pedagogy; Denkmal and memory, etc. To this end, we ask: What are the goals of schooling with regards to guilt, debt, and historical trauma? Is gaining knowledge of debt and guilt itself a form of accountability, and if so, what role do educators play in addressing atrocities? What is owed to future generations, and who bears the burden of ensuring they receive it? Further, how are students affected by the guilt or debt they inherit as a result of their education, whether morally or financially?

We invite abstract submissions, up to 300 words, for a 20-minute presentation in English. Please send abstracts with all identifying information (author’s name, email address, and institutional affiliation) either as a separate cover sheet or in the body of your email. Send submissions via email, as .doc or .pdf files by December 31st 2019, to

While our conference is inspired by the German language, we welcome submissions from all fields of study, including but not limited to literary studies, education, history, art history and practice, music, architecture, language pedagogy, linguistics, film and media studies, theater and performance studies, geography, philosophy, translation, critical theory, and anthropology. Papers might address, but are by no means limited to, the following topics:

  • practices of memory and memorializing
  • the role of education in memorializing, recognizing, or disregarding Schuld 
  • Erbschuld – how to teach the past, especially moments of extreme prejudice 
  • historical notions of education – ex. Bildung und Bürgertum 
  • the role of guilt and debt in artistic expression and memorialization 
  • literary and artistic portrayals of guilt and debt, and their role in education

27th Annual Interdisciplinary German Studies Conference
February 22-23, 2019 at the University of California, Berkeley


In a 1930 manifesto for the New Objectivity, Cologne journalist Frank Matze denounced nineteenth- century realism not for sobriety or reactionary politics, but for sentimentality: the poetic realist mixed affects with objects, filtered things through his “soul’s domain of feeling,” and replaced their coldness with the “warmth of his own heart.” The new art, Matze proclaimed, should be sachlich: objective but also sober, free of the contaminating tepidness of feeling. Today, our feelings about “objectivity” are more mixed. We often think of realism as a reactionary gesture, circumscribing all that is possible within the limits of the status quo. But recent developments in critical theory, philosophy, and literary studies have mobilized affect and reality in surprising new configurations. Scholars such as Eve Kosofsky-Sedgwick, Brian Massumi, Sarah Ahmed, Jane Bennett, and Mel Y. Chen have figured affect as something very “real” in itself, a non-subjective force that gives form to bodies at once material, social, and political. As contemporary theorists return to the question of realism after the linguistic turn, affect is never far away.

For the 2019 Interdisciplinary German Studies Conference, we invite submissions from a wide range of fields that attend to the relation between affects and realisms or the real. What historical configurations has this relation taken? In what formal structures (genres, modes, linguistic forms) do affective realisms manifest themselves in texts and other cultural objects? How can we take up recent work in gender and queer theory, feminist and postcolonial studies and critical race theory in order to investigate the roles affective realisms play in systems of oppression or movements of emancipation? What are the promises and dangers of affect and realism in a scholarly atmosphere situated between aspirations toward post- human philosophies and the threat of a post-truth public sphere?


Please send 300-word abstracts and a brief bio to  by December 15th, 2018. We welcome proposals that engage these questions from different disciplinary backgrounds and theoretical traditions, including but not limited to literary studies, art history, music, architecture, language pedagogy, history, linguistics, film and media studies, theater and performance studies, geography, philosophy, translation, critical theory, and anthropology.

Papers might address, but are by no means limited to, the following topics:

  • Marxisms (reification, alienation, Frankfurt School, Freudomarxisms)
  • Genres and modes such as melodrama, lyric, tragedy, satire, or romance
  • Affect in late capitalism (emotional labor, the “waning of affect”)
  • Periods and movements (the early modern, Sturm und Drang, Romanticism, bourgeois realism, Expressionism, Bauhaus, Neorealisms and New Waves, “hysterical realism”)
  • Performance studies (embodiment, dance, oral traditions)
  • Mass culture (popular art forms, Proletkult, political propaganda)
  • Media theory (the spectator, the index) and old or new media forms (video games, Netflix, social media)

CFP TRANSIT Journal: Volume 12

Landscapes of Migration

It is clear that crises of the environment and migration affect one another. As the world arounds us changes both physically and ideologically, it grows ever more urgent to consider the human relationship to landscapes and how our actions, perspectives, and interventions shape them. Within the interrelated discourses on climate, politics, and [migratory] spaces, the term “landscape” can have a variety of implications beyond the conventional connotation of fixed outdoor environment. Rather than affirm ‘natural,’ immutable characteristics, “landscape” can reflect the changing assemblage of geographical, physical, and imaginary entities. For instance, Georg Simmel intuits that to perceive a particular landscape is a creative and constitutive act that actualizes a viewer’s subjective expression. Alternatively, “landscape” can take on a metaphorical dimension to describe the composition of a group or set of practices such as cultural landscapes, media landscapes, and, for our purposes, migration landscapes.

In this issue of TRANSIT, we hope to address the following questions: How do different understandings of landscape interact and in turn shape each other? How might a landscape of migration affect the ecological landscape, and vice-versa? How does one represent changes in the environment, especially in light of the unprecedented magnitude, speed and intricacy of transnational movement and global- environmental transformation? How can we strive to make patterns of migration more intelligible and what are the limits of that intelligibility? What are the roles of the scholar and the artist in these discourses? Can the language we use to discuss matters of extinction, biodiversity, and geographical environment serve us in rethinking our notions of social diversity in Germany and matters of so-called integration and its implications?

With notions of progress and change pitted against nostalgic calls for preservation and restoration to times past in the German-speaking world, German Studies has a responsibility to question the discourses surrounding landscapes of migration and its own status as an academic field. What are the implications for German Studies of analyzing global phenomena that call into question the very idea of national borders? What does the changing human landscape of the German-speaking world mean for the discipline? How do concepts of nation persist or dissolve in the wake of so-called “refugee crises” or climate change? How should the field position itself in the face of these questions?

This CFP encourages contributions from a range of disciplines including literary studies, language pedagogy, history, film and media studies, performance studies, geography, philosophy, translation, critical theory, and anthropology. Please see the contents of our previous issue on the reverse side. English- or German-language papers or projects are due for editorial review by August 1, 2018. Email CC (Michael Sandberg and Molly Krueger, Co-managing editors)