EVENT Mar 26
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Colonies and Critique: Reassessing German-Language Representations of Empire (9/30/22; NeMLA; March 26-28 2023) (Northeastern Modern Language Association)

Niagara Falls, NY
Organization: Northeastern Modern Language Association
Event: Northeastern Modern Language Association
Categories: Postcolonial, Hispanic & Latino, German, World Literatures, African & African Diasporas, Asian & Asian Diasporas, Australian Literature, Canadian Literature, Caribbean & Caribbean Diasporas, Indian Subcontinent, Eastern European, Mediterranean, Middle East, Native American, Scandinavian, Pacific Literature
Event Date: 2023-03-26 to 2023-03-28 Abstract Due: 2022-09-30

CFP: Colonies and Critique: Reassessing German-Language Representations of Empire

 (9/30/22; NeMLA; March 26-28 2023)


To be held at the 2023 Northeastern Modern Language Association (NeMLA) convention in Niagara Falls.


German-language writings on imperialism are of key interest not only in order to fundamentally understand historical power relations, but also in order to inform current discussions of social justice, language revitalization, land acknowledgment, environmental preservation, and other movements.


Undertaking a close examination of how authors and artists represent agency in colonial relationships, this panel is informed by such diverse recent works as Birgit Tautz’s Translating the World (2017), Bernhard Gissibl’s The Nature of German Imperialism: Conservation and the Politics of Wildlife in Colonial East Africa (2016), Paul Edwards’s 2021 German Studies Review article on the “Paradox of German Anticolonialism,” and new primary-source publications, including the oldest German letters from South America dating from 1546 (published in 2021 by Susanne Gujer-Bertschinger). 


As Berlin re-names streets that once glorified colonial generals, contemporary authors such as Ferdinun Zaimoglu and Emine Sevgi Özdamar radically question the German canon, German leaders increasingly acknowledge acts of genocide in Namibia, and scholarly studies continue to de-center imperial structures, Germany and German Studies continue to grapple not only with Germany’s own colonial past, but also with the dynamics of other countries’ colonial presence around the world.


This panel is interested in highlighting voices that engage with colonial influence in its broadest sense. Topics might include, but are not limited to:

-              New readings of historical and / or literary works from Germany’s colonial period strictly speaking (1885-1914).

-              Analyses of works that address other nations’ colonial presence, such as Humboldt’s comments on Spanish colonialism in Latin America.

-              Assessments of contemporary works or developments addressing colonial legacy.

-              Discussions of visual art, media projects, or other initiatives re-framing colonialism in German-speaking countries.


Please submit abstracts of 150-300 words, including the submitter’s biographical information through the NeMLA website:



Submission deadline: September 30, 2022

For inquiries about the panel, contact:

Pascale LaFountain, Associate Professor of German and French, Montclair State University (lafountainp@montclair.edu)



Pascale LaFountain