42nd Annual Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
April 7-10, 2011
New Brunswick, NJ – Hyatt New Brunswick
Host Institution: Rutgers University
The panel seeks to expand the current focus on GDR and post-unification narratives of Stasi surveillance to narratives from other socialist and post-socialist states.
The 2010 NeMLA convention evidenced much interest in GDR and post-unification narratives on Stasi surveillance, with a number of panels dealing with Hans-Joachim and Susanne Schädlich, Stefan Heym and Thomas Brussig. This panel seeks to build on these insights by extending the focus to socialist and post-socialist cultures as a whole, examining both German narratives of surveillance in the non-German context as well embracing writers from other literatures who provide interesting parallels with the GDR. Authors that might be considered include Herta Müller, Carmen Francesca Banciu and György Dalos. This broader approach is necessary for a number of reasons. Firstly, while the GDR presents a unique situation with regard to the extent of surveillance, the cultural contact with West Germany provided equally unique relief. Secondly, East German writers were profoundly influenced by initiatives promoting transcultural contact with ‘sozialistische Bruderländer’, often through a translational approach. Furthermore, transnational contact between writers was bound up with surveillance – for instance, Wolf Biermann was allowed travel to the USSR on the basis that anti-Soviet agitation would entail a longer prison sentence. Ultimately, the work of writers from the other socialist states provides an important perspective on the ‘Opfer-Täter’ debate: in the non-GDR context, the politics of publishing are not dominated by a West German fascination with perpetrators and guilt. The trans-socialist context thus allows a more differentiated understanding of the problems examined by surveillance narratives.
Importantly, by combining other literatures with those of the GDR and post-unification Germany in a translational and transcultural approach, a platform is created for discussion of works that would otherwise receive less attention both abroad and at home; the panel seeks to encourage the reception of works from post-socialist states in which surveillance discourses are still suppressed both in the literary and academic contexts.
The panel hopes to provoke investigation into how cultural and political circumstances allow for different surveillance discourses and how a transcultural approach enhances understanding of the problem, both as a universal phenomenon and in the GDR context.
The panel welcomes contributions on the problem of surveillance and its legacy in German or other literatures. Please submit abstracts in English or German to: John Heath, firstname.lastname@example.org or Reinhard Zachau, email@example.com
Deadline: September 30, 2010
Please include with your abstract:
Name and Affiliation
A/V requirements (if any; $10 handling fee with registration)
The 42nd Annual Convention will feature approximately 360 sessions, as well as pre-conference workshops, dynamic speakers and cultural events. Details and the complete Call for Papers for the 2011 Convention will be posted in June: www.nemla.org.
Interested participants may submit abstracts to more than one NeMLA session; however panelists can only present one paper (panel or seminar). Convention participants may present a paper at a panel and also present at a creative session or participate in a roundtable. Do not accept a slot if you may cancel to present on another session.
Institut für Germanistik
AUSTRIA Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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