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Graduate Student Conference

Each year, the graduate students of the German Department organize a conference on a topic relevant to German Studies. Graduate students and scholars from across the U.S. and Germany attend these conferences and present their work.  

The 2015 Conference, Economic Hi$tories, will be held on April 24-25, 2015. The keynote address will be given by Prof. Fritz Breithaupt, Chair of the Department of Germanic Studies at the University of Indiana, Bloomington. Prof. Henry Sussman, Charlotte M. Craig Distinguished Visiting Professor at Rutgers University and professor of German at Yale University, will deliver a guest lecture.

Groundbreaking work by provocative economists of recent decades, including Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, Kenneth Rogoff, and Robert Skidelsky, continues to stress the importance of historical analysis. Amidst the catastrophic effects engendered by the 2008 financial crisis on the global economy, we similarly wish to reconsider the value of conventional approaches to market behavior and economic forecasting.

Such a shift from quantitative to more qualitative modes of thinking about economics indeed represents both a call and a challenge to the humanities. Money has historically preoccupied artists and scholars in the humanities, from bourgeois dramas of the Enlightenment to the elusiveness of money in the romantic cultural imaginary, to the hustle and bustle of the Weimar film industry, to most recently a panel on "money" at the 2010 German Studies Association conference. Nevertheless, economic praxis and work being done in the humanities today remains divisive.

Topics could include, but are not limited to:

  • Pierre Bourdieu and the sociology of taste
  • debt and morality in the philosophies of Friedrich Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger
  • Homo Economics, or how the self became tied up with money around 1800
  • John Locke's theory of ownership and its consequences for modernity
  • Marxism today
  • exchange value and psychoanalysis
  • money and bourgeois dramas of the Enlightenment
  • naturalism and economics in the Romantic imaginary
  • technologies and economics of literary distribution from 1450 to present
  • the Weimar film industry and allegories of the German collective unconscious

Papers that discuss the following texts are especially encouraged:

  • Fritz Breithaupt's Der Ich-Effekt des Geldes: Zur Geschichte einer Legitimationsfigur (2008)
  • Daniel Fulda's Schau-Spiele des Geldes (2012)
  • Richard Gray's Money Matters: Economics and the German Cultural Imagination (2008)
  • Joseph Vogl's Kalkül und Leidenschaft (2004)

Please send your 250 word abstracts for a 20-30 minute presentation to both organizers Stefanie Populorum ( and Carlos Gasperi ( directly with the subject heading "2015 Rutgers Economic Histories." 

The pdf 2014 Conference (1.67 MB) , Intermediality and Intermedial Narratives in the German-Speaking World, was held on Friday, April 18, 2014 and coordinated by Damianos Grammatikopoulos and Sascha Hosters. Professor Henry Sussman from Yale University was the keynote speaker.

The 2013 Conference, Representing Women in the Cinema of Josef von Sternberg, was held on Friday, May 3, 2013 and coordinated by Christina Mandt and Susan Doose. Professor Barbara Kosta from the University of Arizona, Tucson, spoke, and the event was supported by the Botstiber Institute for Austrian-American Studies.

The pdf 2012 Conference (347 KB) , A Quiet Powerful Presence: Multidisciplinary Approaches to the Role of Silence In and Beyond Literature, Art and Film, was held on March 30, 2012. It was coordinated by Sascha Hosters and Veronika Jeltsch.

The 2011 Conference, Die Stadt: The Writing of Urban Spaces in the German Speaking Context, was held on Sunday, April 10, 2011 at 10:00 am at German House. It was coordinated by Katrin Polak-Springer and Simona Sivkoff.

The 2009 Conference, Minority – Identity: Selfhood and Nationhood in the Hapsburg Empire and Beyond was held on Friday, February 27, 2009. It was coordinated by Devin O'Neal and Rebecca Steele.

The 2008 Forum, (Un)ruly Pleasures in German Culture, was held on Friday, March 28, 2008. It was coordinated by Christophe Kone, Mareen Fuchs and Shambhavi Prakash.

The 2007 Conference was entitled Violence: A Necessary Evil? Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Means and Ends of Violence in German Film, Literature, and Fine Arts. It was coordinated by Juljana Gjata and Katrin Polak-Springer.

The 2006 Conference, entitled Heimat: Utopia or Reality? Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Search for Heimat and National Identity was held on March 3, 2006. It was coordinated by Rebecca Steele and Julia Feldhaus.

The  document 2005 Conference (50 KB) was a bit different. Members of the German Studies community from Rutgers and other universities gathered for a multidisciplinary conference entitled Ostalgie: Commemorating the Past or Evading the Present? Cultural Representations of Post-Communist Europe and The Politics of Remembering the Good Old East. The conference opened with a presentation by Professor McFalls of the University of Montreal and also featured guest writer Ingo Schramm, who read one of his stories and spoke about his experiences in divided Germany. Graduate students and scholars from Rutgers and other universities in the U.S. and Germany took part in three panel discussions. The commentators for the panels were Rutgers Professors Fatima Naqvi, Belinda Davis, and Stephen Bronner. Federica Franze, a Rutgers graduate student in German, was the conference coordinator.

The image 2004 Conference (81 KB) was entitled "Beyond Oedipus: Multidisciplinary Approaches to the Father," and coordinated by graduate student Kai Diers.

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