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Annual Berkeley Interdisciplinary German Studies Conference

The Department of German at Berkeley has been a pioneering force in establishing interdisciplinary German studies. In 1985 and 1986, Professors Hinrich C. Seeba and Fritz Tubach organized the first two Interdisciplinary Summer Seminars in German Studies on “National Identity,” sponsored by the DAAD. These two DAAD Seminars in 1985 and 1986, which featured Gesine Schwan, Hans Jürgen Syberberg and other invited international speakers, were seminal for the creation of three ‘Centers of Excellence’ in the U.S., with Berkeley being the first, later renamed ‘Center for German and European Studies’ (with Richard Buxbaum and Gerald Feldman as first directors).

Since 1993, a rotating team of graduate students in the Department has organized the annual Berkeley Interdisciplinary German Studies Conference (BIGSC). In 2019, the 27th edition of this conference is being planned. In a massive collaborative effort, students conceptualize a topic, write and advertise a call for papers, select contributions, compose the program, invite a keynote speaker, raise funds, find a venue, and host about twenty to thirty speakers and guests from the US and abroad. Students find this an exhilarating learning experience to be involved in all aspects of organizing an international conference.  

27th BIGSC, Affective Realism, 2019

26th BIGSC, Elemental Media, 2018

25th BIGSC, Syncing… Subject, Media, Society, 2017

24th BIGSC, Distraction, 2016

23rd BIGSC, Barriers: Confronting Obstacles in Language, Media, Politics and Culture, 2015 (fed into the Special Topic “Barriers” in TRANSIT, Volume 10, Issue 1, 2015)

22nd BIGSC, Linguistic Varieties and Variation, 2014

21st BIGSC, Laughter, 2013

20th BIGSC, The World Elsewhere, 2012

19th BIGSC, The Neighbor, 2011 (published as a book: Yale Almog and Erik Born, eds.  Neighbors and Neighborhoods: Living Together in the German-Speaking World. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012) 

18th BIGSC, The Uses of History, 2010 

17th BIGSC, The Threat and Allure of the Magical in Literature, Language, Philosophy, History, and the Arts, 2009 (published as a book: Ashwin Manthripragada, Emina Mušanović and Dagmar Theison, eds., The Threat and Allure of the Magical. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013)

16th BIGSC, Rebellion and Revolution: Defiance in German Language, History, and Art, 2008 (published as a book: Priscilla Layne and Mellisa Etzler, eds. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010)

15th BIGSC, Dialects and Dialogs, 2007

14th BIGSC, Ossi Wessi, 2006

13th BIGSC, Finding the Foreign, 2005 (published as a book: Robert Schechtman and Suin Roberts, eds. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009)

12th BIGSC, Germany and the Imagined East, 2004 

11th BIGSC, Speaking Between: Language and Intersubjectivity, 2003 

10th BIGSC, Finite Subjects: Morality and Culture in Germany, 2002

9th BIGSC, Self-Made Germans: Authenticity, Authority and Self-Fashioning, 2001 

8th BIGSC, The German Soldier, 2000

7th BIGSC, Reading Turn-of-the-Century Culture at the Turn of the Century, 1999 

6th BIGSC, Building Memory: City Space and Urban Experience, 1998

5th BIGSC, Conquering Women: Gender and War, 1997

4th BIGSC, Vagabondage: The Poetics and Politics of Movement, (Proceedings published with Berkeley Academic Press, 1996)

3rd BIGSC, Issues of Performance in Politics and the Arts (Proceedings published with Berkeley Academic Press, 1995)