Die Technische Universität Dresden lädt zur Konferenz vom 18. bis 20. Juli ein und bittet ab sofort um Themenvorschläge für die Vorträge.

Informationen zum „Call for Papers“:

Eastern Europe was strongly affected by the multilingualism and multiethnicity of its inhabitants. The empires that ruled the region until the end of the Great War organised the various languages and ethnic group on their territories in hierarchical orders: they tried to centralise power and included socially and ethnically heterogenous elites into their ruling class.[1] Their successor states – both alleged nation states and the Soviet Union- launched attempts to change these modes of elite recruitment and established their new capitals as economic, cultural and political centres. The totalitarian regimes in Berlin and Moscow destroyed these new states in East Central Europe. Deprivation of rights, forced deportation and genocides were part of the occupation policy of Nazi Germany which involved local ethnic groups into murder and robbery. With the collapse of Hitler’s Empire and the expansion of Stalin’s sphere of influence, a new chapter of national statehood within impe rial strucures began. In vast parts of Eastern Europe linguistic and ethnic plurality seemed to have come to an end.

Germans and German-speaking individuals and groups in Eastern Europe were significantly caught by these developments and took action to shape their fate. Shifts in status and changing assumptions associated with the use of German as well as altering options of agency of German speakers open doors to a better understanding of the history of Eastern Europe in its entanglement with German nationalism and imperialism. Cosmopolitan networks that altered in composition and range offer access for the study of the transformation of everyday life under the impact of regimes during imperial, post-imperial and war times. In particular, a comparing view on German-speaking nobility and German-speaking Jewry promise new perspectives.[2] Unlike more static models of the group or the nation, the structural and phenomenological network theory [3] emphasizes the dynamics and openness of community building and reveals the multiple involvement of individuals in different social, economic, and po litical contexts. At the same time, networks always communicate values and ideas of self-identification and their members tend to distinguish themselves from the outside world. Changes in German-language networks can be used to identify shifts in the criteria of affiliation and the related changes in status or the significance of nationalism in everyday life. In particular cosmopolitan, geographically far-reaching networks map cultural, economic and social change as well as social and spatial mobility depending on language and its connection with ethnic assignment and political loyalty.

The following questions (among others) should be discussed during the conference:

Where and when was the use of the German language an attractive instrument of advancement and integration into international networks? How did the fringes of networks relate to the borders of empires, or later nation states? When did cross-border interactions become problematic or particularly significant? To what extent did attributions to the German nation and an increasingly exclusionary German nationalism affect the integration into German-speaking networks? How did (cosmopolitan) networks observe and react (or avoid) a nationalizing world? To what extent did networks create alternative social spaces? How did networks react towards ideas of a „German mission in the East“ and how did they act during the occupations in the World Wars?

We are looking for contributions on all kinds of networks which communicated significantly (also) in German and can provide information on the influence of imperial and national politics on multi-ethnic coexistence in Eastern Europe. In particular, supra-regional and international family-, economic-, professional-, religious-, academic-, political-, military- and artistic networks are of interest.

Conference languages are German and English. The conference contributions will be published in a bilingual volume. The text drafts of no more than 20 pages will circulate among the participants before the conference commences and will serve as a basis for discussion during the panels.

MIRJAM ZADOFF (Bloomington) and WILLARD SUNDERLAND (Cincinnatti) will deliver key-note speeches.

Accomodation and catering will be provided, travel costs can be reimbursed if necessary.

Please send a short proposal and a cv until February 20, 2018 to tim.buchen@tu-dresden.de Participants will be informed by March 1.

Tim Buchen
BKM-Assistant Professor Social and Economic Networks of Germans in Modern Eastern Europe.

1. Charles S. Maier, Among Empires: America’s Ascendancy and its Predecessors, Cambridge 2006.

2. Cathy Gilber and Sander Gilman, Cosmopolitanisms and the Jews, Ann Arbor 2017. 3. Jan Fuhse, Gibt es eine Phänomenologische Netzwerktheorie? Geschichte, Netzwerk und Identität, in: Soziale Welt, 59/1 (2008), 31-52.