Athens, Ga. – A two-day conference in late March will bring eminent and emerging German scholars from around the United States to the University of Georgia to review the state of German studies in American universities and to suggest paths for the field’s future development.
“The Meaning of Culture: German Studies in the 21st Century” will take place March 28-29 and will include lectures, films, author readings and roundtable discussions, according to Martin Kagel, head of the department of Germanic and Slavic studies in UGA’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.
“The conference aims to reassess the state of German studies in the United States through the critical reflection of the concept of culture,” said Kagel. “The scholars attending the conference will speak on a broad range of subjects, from music history to German hip-hop, from the Frankfurt School to contemporary cultural theory, from questions of national identity to transnationalism.”
German film director Andrea Dresen will be on campus as part of the conference and be a special guest of the department for five days. As part of his visit, there will be an Andreas Dresen German Film Festival at Ciné in downtown Athens, and four of his films will be screened there. Other German films will be shown during the conference as well, all in the original German with English subtitles.
Dresen’s films Grill Point, The Policewoman, Night Shapes and Summer in Berlin will be shown at Ciné.
Another special guest for the conference will be Turkish-German author and journalist Dilek Güngör, author of the book Unter uns, published to wide acclaim in Germany in 2004. The book explores the world of families with a Turkish background living in Germany and brought fame to the 35-year-old Güngör. She has a degree in translation studies and is a columnist as well.
The meeting at UGA will, Kagel said, provide a forum for open discussion of controversial ideas, including questions about the future disciplinary identity of the field, the relationship between literature and culture, the function of culture in the study of language and more.
“It is a significant meeting not just for German studies in the United States but for the field of cultural studies as a whole,” said Kagel. “Culture is a critical and highly contested concept in current research in the humanities and in the social and political sciences, whose meaning determines, at least in part, the claim a discipline can lay to its territory.”
Lutz Görgens, the German consul general in Atlanta, will be present on the opening day of the conference, and a number of top scholars from the United States and Canada will be present.
For a complete list of events and speakers as well as times for film showings, see http://www.gsstudies.uga.edu/meaning-of-culture/index.html.