CFP: Barriers — Confronting Obstacles in Language, Media, Politics and Culture (Berkeley, 28.2.-1.3.2015)

The Department of German at the University of California, Berkeley, welcomes submissions from all disciplinary backgrounds on the topic of barriers, their establishment, presentation, and utilization in the present, past and future.

UC Berkeley German Department’s Interdisciplinary German Studies Conference 2015:
BARRIERS: Confronting Obstacles in Language, Media, Politics and Culture (February 28th – March 1st 2015)

Barriers are an intrinsic element of society, and the ability to negotiate them forms the basis for progress, conflict or stagnation. In the German context, the barrier often evokes images of institutionalized violence: from the trenches of the First World War to the concentration camps of World War Two and the Iron Curtain which divided Europe in its wake. But barriers are more than politics, nationality or ideology. In contrast to borders which establish a fixed partition between two or more objects, the barrier exists in a state of multiplicity and flux: the negotiation of a single barrier simply reveals the existence of further barriers to come. The purpose of this conference is to reevaluate the barrier in its plurality, identify new and historical points of contention and question the traditional view that obstacles exist to be overcome. Rather than simply obstacles, barriers can be construed as catalysts, initiating a myriad of possible reactions and interactions. The barrier need not remain impregnable, but may function as a semi-permeable membrane: controlling the mobility of objects through diffusion and osmosis. How do we define barriers and what are their many purposes? How does the synergy of the barrier and its subjects shape our perception of barriers and their functions?

Deadline: 14 November 2014
Scholars wishing to participate should send an abstract in English or German, no longer than 300 words, and a CV or brief biographical statement to: Presentations should not exceed 20 minutes.

Find the full CFP here.


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