Update on the WiG Conference 2020

Dear WiG members, conference panel organizers, and participants,

At a recent leadership meeting attended by the Steering Committee, the presidential team, the conference organizers, and other officers and former officers of the organization, we voted unanimously to hold a virtual conference in fall 2020 in lieu of our traditional in-person conference. Given that many participants travel great distances to attend the conference; that many of our members have pre-existing health conditions or are caregivers for people with pre-existing health conditions; and that many have lost access to conference funding and/or work or attend universities with significant travel restrictions, we believe this to be the only safe and responsible option. Making this difficult decision now will allow us to plan the best conference possible in this format.

We will be reaching out to panel organizers and participants today to ask for their input on if and how they wish to run their sessions online. We will also be exploring options to host a small in-person component of the conference for local attendees in driving distance of Sewanee, if this is determined to be safe and feasible. Once we have received all feedback, we will then begin creating a revised conference schedule. We plan to have all scheduling information available by the end of July with conference registration to open by August 1.

Although conference registration and WiG membership will be required to attend the majority of conference events, the registration fee will be much reduced from previous years and scaled depending on one’s income level in order to encourage as much participation as possible, particularly from those in precarious or underpaid positions. We also plan to allow members to donate conference registration fees to cover the costs for graduate student and contingent faculty participation. More information regarding fees will be available once we have a better sense of how many participants we will have.

To that end, we are asking everyone who is not presenting on or organizing a panel and who does not hold a leadership position in the organization to please fill out this two-question attendance survey that will help us get a rough estimate of participants and thus allow us to determine registration fees. One positive effect of hosting the conference virtually is that many members who were previously not planning on attending due to cost of travel or prevalence of fall conferences may be able to join us. We welcome all to attend!

If you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Sincerely,

The Ad Hoc Virtual Conference Committee

Liesl Allingham, Regine Schwarzmeier, Maria Stehle, Faye Stewart, Helga Thorson, Didem Uca

Feminist German Studies: Co-Editor Allie Hill’s term renewed

We are writing to share the wonderful news that Allie Hill (University of Portland) has agreed to renew her term as editor of Feminist German Studies for another three years. Allie’s initial term as co-editor of Feminist German Studies (2018-2020), first together with Waltraud Maierhofer and now with Hester Baer, has led to several exciting initiatives, including a name change from Women in German Yearbook to Feminist German Studies in 2018 to the journal’s newest initiative of offering two issues per year starting in 2020.

We are extremely honoured that Allie has agreed to renew her term as the journal’s co-editor for a second and final term (2021-2023) and look forward to seeing the rigorous and innovative feminist scholarship that will emerge in the years ahead.

-The WiG Leadership Team

Call for Proposals: WiG Out Week 2020

Deadline: January 15, 2020

WiG Out Week is an array of WiG-endorsed events happening anywhere and everywhere the week of March 23-28, 2020. Potential ideas include regional symposia, (virtual) lectures, film screenings, book discussions, feminist pedagogy workshops, or local community service or activism initiatives. All events, big and small, are welcome, as long as they are in keeping with the WiG Mission Statement. While we are unable to provide funding, we will promote the events on the website and social media and feature them in a future newsletter. We envision this week as an opportunity to carry on the spirit of WiG throughout the academic year, promote feminist German studies in your communities, and celebrate Women’s History Month.

To submit your event for consideration, please send a brief proposal (~200 words) to the second year Steering Committee members, Didem Uca (duca[at]colgate[.]edu) and Nicole Grewling (ngrewling2[at]washcoll[.]edu), by January 15, 2020. In your proposal, please include a title, date/location, description of the event, names of organizers/participants, and how many WiGgies you hope to have in attendance. All are welcome to submit. Let us know if you have any questions.

We thank you for your time, energy, and commitment to WiG. We look forward to receiving your proposals and WiGging out together next spring!

CfP as shareable Google Doc

Coalition of Women in German Leadership Statement on Halle

In recognition of the intertwined histories and present manifestations of antisemitism, anti-Black racism, xenophobia, heteropatriarchy and white supremacy

and as feminist scholars within German studies committed to intersectional understandings of social justice,

we condemn the violence that has again come to a head in the last week. We are sorrowed by the attacks against a synagogue and kebab shop in Halle and the resulting deaths on Yom Kippur. Once again, a violent attack has made painfully visible the ways in which white supremacy and heteropatriarchy continue to wield power in our society. The attacks, and the livestream that accompanied them, demonstrate the entanglements of gendered antisemitism, anti-immigrant racism, and misogyny. 

We express our solidarity with Jewish and immigrant communities in Germany. We note that our feminist solidarity with the targets of antisemitic and xenophobic racism must include a commitment to fighting racism and misogyny in all its forms.

We note as well that the calls for more police protection will not solve the problems of white supremacy and racism that create a culture promoting racist violence. Yes, racist violence is a security issue: as are all forms of precarity that expose groups to the threat of violence and death. This is a question of human safety and security. All too often racist thought has proven to inform police action, and police action has so often resulted in targeting communities of color. Ending the violence of white supremacist heteropatriarchy is a task that requires our broad interventions through our daily actions and interactions; through education; through the speech and discourse we normalize in our culture, whether through art, literature, social media, news media; and through our organized activism.

As a feminist organization, we are committed to teaching and scholarship that challenges interlocking systems of oppression and power. Feminist goals must include the end of racism and white supremacy. The systems that promote and rely on racism; sexism; homophobia; transphobia; ableism; colonialism; and other forms of exploitation, hatred, and exclusion are interlinked and often support one another. We express our solidarity with all groups who fight these systems of oppression.

This continues to be a painful time for our members, students, and colleagues who are targeted directly, often daily, by racist, antisemitic, xenophobic, and misogynist violence – whether as physical threat or verbal aggression. We express our solidarity with all of you. 

Individual acts respond to a social context, one in which hate speech enables and promotes violent actions. We call on our members, as teachers, scholars, and leaders, to name and challenge white supremacy and heteropatriarchy wherever it is manifest, whether in everyday speech, social media, political discourse, or elsewhere. We cannot allow violent speech to seem “normal.” We cannot allow an atmosphere that enables such horrific violence to continue.

Dr. Maria Stehle Elected Vice President/President-Elect

The Coalition of Women in German Steering Committee is thrilled to announce that Dr. Maria Stehle, Associate Professor in the German Program at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, has been elected by the membership to serve as Vice President/President-Elect. Dr. Stehle has been an active WiGgie since her graduate school days and has contributed to the organization by co-editing the newsletter, organizing panels and WiG-sponsored sessions, publishing in the Women in German Yearbook, and winning the best article prize and subsequently serving on the best article committee, among countless other activities. In her candidate statement, she wrote:

Through WiG, I have experienced feminist mentorship and encouragement, I have found a community that I know has my back, and I connected with a group of scholars who work towards common goals; I am still mentored at WiG but I have also become a mentor. If WiG continues to facilitate this kind of feminist mentoring, our work is transformative.

My research is interdisciplinary, collaborative, and intersectional. The community I built through WiG has given me the courage to move forward with my projects even if, at times, I felt I had to advocate for my work to be accepted as academic and rigorous. Because we organize, exchange ideas, and share our challenges with each other, we have influenced discussions at other professional organizations, have brought issues of equity, injustice, and inequality to our home institutions—be they public research universities, small liberal art colleges, community colleges, in red or in blue states—, and have advocated for each other. As an organization, we connect and intersect with networks at the GSA, with the Decolonizing German Studies groups, and with activists and organizers at our home institutions. If WiG members do this kind of outreach and advocacy work, at our meetings and conferences, in our communications, at our institutions, nationally, and internationally, our work is transformative.

In addition to her vibrant scholarship, in which she regularly collaborates with other WiGgies, Dr. Stehle is a co-editor of the open access web publication “Digital Feminist Collective” and book review editor for the journal German Studies Review. At her home institution she serves as Graduate Coordinator for German, Chair for the Interdisciplinary Program in Cinema Studies, and Steering Committee Member for the Interdisciplinary Program in Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies.

We are overjoyed to have such a powerful advocate of intersectional and interdisciplinary feminist German Studies on our leadership team!