German Literature & Culture

Primary tabs

Call for papers: 

German Culture Area PCA  

Note: Although there is a specific panel on Intersectional German Studies proposed below, all presenters are encouraged to consider their work in intersectional ways as much as they can. We also encourage papers that deal with German Studies topics, theories, and themes, but do not adhere to the topics proposed below.

I. Intersectional German Studies? Or German Studies and Intersectionality

What would it take for German Studies, by definition, to be intersectional, that is, as an essential component of the field, in a way that is much stronger than ever before? What does such a shift in the field mean for German Studies, what can it help German Studies achieve on the societal level? Why is this shift essential to the field? Topics that deal with any subject of German Studies from an intersectional viewpoint are the goal of this panel, but all presenters in German are asked to consider incorporating intersectionality in their work as much as possible.

II. German Politics and Social Policies: Proposals on any topics dealing with the subject, including the cultural debates about Agenda 2000 and Hartz IV and German Election Culture

With Agenda 2000, there are officially many fewer unemployed, but the changes to unemployment have created great controversy. Hartz IV was introduced in 2003 and has also led to controversy. What are the controversies caused by these political decisions in the world of work and welfare? How are they represented culturally? Is the story of those struggling to make ends meet a new phenomena, or simply a revisitation of earlier social ills in a somewhat changed form? Are they leading to the creation of a new ethos of community in Germany, or eroding the sense of community in Germany, or even the political system? What does culture do in response to such policies? What is the political culture of Germany, what do elections say about it, how does it avoid outside tampering, or not? Particularly in light of the recent European elections.  

III. German Film and Video Culture

What is the direction, the model for German films as cultural products? What do German films translate into abroad, and where? What are the tropes of German film in North America? What are the issues in German sub-genres in film? Does Weimar cinema again reign supreme, or has video and film, fiction and manga re-territorialized or de-territorialized Weimar?

IV. ‘Leitkultur’ and Pegida: Acceptance, Assimilation, Racism in Germany

With Robin Diangelo’s White Fragility (2018) reaching the New York Times’ bestseller list, and laying out how this plays a part in the racism that creates and maintains privilege (along with class, gender, sexual identity, etc.), what do the struggles between arguments for acceptance and/or assimilation, and the racism at the heart of some political movements, say about Germany? What are the cultures of German identity, and their social and political goals? How many are using, or abusing, the country’s narrative on the Shoah?

V. German Literature and Culture

As literature is culture, why, or does Germany still avoid the culture in literature? Where do literature and other cultural forms intersect; what to make of German “Kultur Radio”; what does it say about German culture? What does it leave unsaid?

V. The Environment and the “Energiewende”: Going Green, Going it Alone?

What is to be made of Germany’s Energiewende, the term used for a transition in Germany’s energy policy, shifting from coal to renewable resources? What does film, and propaganda of many shapes and sizes, do to this debate? What is the culture of the youth that have been leaving schools to protest inaction on climate change? Is German going it alone in some ways, but in other ways just ahead, or behind the curve? What to make of the exhibition at the Berliner Museum, where the chart tracking German’s exit from atom energy and coal, with a green line tracking sustainable energy production going in the opposite direction, makes no mention of the job situation? Is how to deal with displaced workers the Energiewende’s greatest challenge, and is it the one it is least prepared for?

Note: Papers not focused on these topics, but which are dealing with other areas or aspects of German Literature and Culture (particularly film and popular culture), are also welcome for submission.

Submission information: Please submit your 200-300 word abstract/proposal through the PCA database, http://ncp.pcaaca.org/ (which does not open until AUGUST 1st) to the German Literature and Culture area. PCA requires pro­posals be submitted to only one subject area at a time. You must include your name, email address, and (if applicable) your academic affiliation on the site. Otherwise we might not be able to contact you.

Note: Deadline: The deadline for paper/presentation proposals is November 24, 2019.

Conference date and location: As indicated above, the conference takes place from April 15-18, 2020, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Thinking of presenting/attending, and wanting to be on an email list? Send your email to claude.desmarais@ubc.ca, and state the sort of updates you would like (i.e. Reminders [when database opens, a month and two weeks before the deadline, etc.); Updates on Finalized Panels; Meetings Updates [other German Studies conferences; meetings at the conference outside of panels]; Future PCA/ACA cfps). A full list of conference dates is provided below.

Claude Desmarais

German Literature and Culture Area Chair




2020 Conference Dates and Deadlines


August 1, 2019                Submission Page Goes Live
October 7, 2019               Early Bird Registration Rate Opens
November 24, 2019        Deadline for Paper Proposals and Endowment  Grants
December 13, 2019           Early Bird Registration Rate Ends
January 1, 2020               Regular Registration Rate Ends
January 2, 2020               Late Registration Rate Begins
January 5, 2020               Brigman and Jones Awards Deadline
January 20, 2020             Preliminary Schedule Available

February 1, 2020             Presenter Late Registration Deadline at 11:59pm – participants who have not registered are removed from the program.

February 2, 2020              Non-presenters and retiree non-presenters registration continues
April 15-18, 2020              National Conference

All presenters must be current, paid members of the PCA and fully  registered for the conference.

Refund requests must be submitted in writing. Full or partial refunds will be processed according to the following schedule:
Requested by Jan. 1: 100% refund
Requested by Jan. 15: 75% refund
Requested by Jan. 25: 50% refund
Requested by Feb. 1: 25% refund
After Feb. 1: 0% refund

Membership fees are not refundable.

Area chairs

Claude Desmarais