CFP: Workshop, 10 Years of the Nazi Past in German Culture, St Andrews, 27th-28th February 2015
Deadline: December 9, 2014
After Downfall: 10 years of the Nazi Past in German Culture
A workshop co-hosted by the Department of German and the Institute for Contemporary and Comparative Literature (ICCL) at the School of Modern Languages, University of St Andrews, 27th-28th February 2015. In the first decade or so after reunification, critical discourse suggested a shift in German cultural memory towards a more empathetic representation of the Nazi past that was less burdened by the guilt of the perpetrators; a development welcomed by some, but which alarmed many critics. An example of that unease was the controversy surrounding Oliver Hirschbiegel’s film Der Untergang (2004) and its portrayal of the Führer. The film’s apparent attempt to humanise the Nazi leader, as well as to portray the German Volk as collective victims of a tyrannical madman, was interpreted by some as the culmination of that shift. Almost a decade later, the fiction bestseller chart in Germany was dominated by a comic novel, Er ist wieder da, by Timur Vermes, in which the first-person narrator, Hitler, wakes up in 2012 and becomes a media mogul; a film is currently in production. What are the developments in German cultural memory over the last decade that have seen this latter text received with such popularity and relatively unproblematically, while the former was seen to be taboo-breaking? This workshop aims to bring together experienced and emerging researchers to trace these developments in the landscape of German cultural memory. It will investigate these issues and set them in the context of global developments in cultural memory of the digital age that call the concept of a ‘national’ memory into doubt. Questions to address include: • Do trends in contemporary memory demonstrate the completion of a process of ‘normalisation’ of the Nazi past in German culture? • Is the representation of Hitler, the Second World War and the Holocaust now an unburdened, globalized cultural trope?• What is the lasting influence of the ‘Germans as victims’ debates of the late 1990s and early 2000s? • How has generational change affected the national/cultural engagement with the Nazi past? • In the age of Youtube, social media and instant sharing, what is the impact of digital culture on the concept of cultural memory as a national construct? Participants are invited to give informal, open-ended papers of 20 minutes discussing representations of the Nazi past in, for example, literature, film, television, video games, museums and the internet from the last 10 years of German culture and discourse. Please send an abstract of ca. 300 words along with a brief bio to LL38@st-andrews.ac.uk by 9th December 2014. Selected participants will be informed soon after the closing date. For further information, contact: Colette Lawson, LL38@st-andrews.ac.uk, University of St Andrews, School of Modern Languages, Fife, KY16 9PH.