We are looking for papers to be presented at the GSA in Milwaukee, WI (Oct. 4-7, 2012) that discuss the notion of Heimat and its ongoing modifications in times of globalization.
Recent Expressions of Heimat in Theory, Literature and Film
The concept of Heimat is vital for the self-understanding of Germans and their identity construction and has been the focus of continuous research over many decades. Heimat, so the saying goes, does not find its equivalent in any other language and therefore cannot be understood by a non-German speaker. Heimat seems to defy any attempt to precisely spell out its genuine meaning, since its multilayered connotations simply withstand a comprehensive definition. Ever since its emergence in the Middle Ages, the word Heimat has come to describe the epitome of Germanness, which encompasses, among other things, a place of comfort, unspoiled nature, one’s mother tongue, blood relations, and familiar traditions and customs. Thus, Heimat has served as the justification for dividing and uniting the German people, has been worshipped and despised, has caused unbelievable sorrow as well as feelings of utter comfort, security, and belonging, but has never, not even after the shameless blood-and-soil propaganda during the Nazi era, ceased to influence and infiltrate the minds and souls of countless Germans.
Yet, in a world of constant political change and the ubiquitous presence of global markets, the notion of Heimat has undergone, and is still undergoing, significant transformations regarding its suitability for a people reunited more than twenty years ago and subsequently engaged in a struggle to become a single German nation. The fall of the Berlin Wall has to be viewed as the starting point for a slow but steady re-evaluation of Heimat, a re-evaluation that is of crucial importance for the understanding of Germany’s national identity as well as of its relationship with the world.
Topics might include, but are not limited to:
• Heimat and location
• Heimat and literature
• Heimat and cinema
• The current Heimatfilm
• Heimat and migration
• Heimat in the 21st century
• Heimat and globalization
• Heimat Europe
Please send abstracts (150-200 words) to Gabriele Eichmanns (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Yvonne Franke (email@example.com). The deadline for submissions is February 1, 2012.
Department of Modern Languages
Carnegie Mellon University
Phone: (412) 268-4783
Fax: (412) 268-1328
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