Dear Members of the WiG Community,
In addition to the statement released in WiG’s December 2020 newsletter by the Presidential Team, President Helga Thorson and Vice President Maria Stehle, we, the entire Leadership Team of the Coalition of Women in German want to apologize to all of our members, and particularly to our Black members, for the harm done through the use of racist language during our conference. Such language has no place inside of WiG or within our professional spaces. As the leaders of this organization, we had the power to intervene and we regretfully did not. We should have stepped in right away to address this harm and we failed to do so, thereby normalizing white supremacy and anti-Black racism within the conference and organization.
To our Black members: We are deeply sorry for our inaction during this crucial moment and wish to reiterate how much we value your vital contributions to the organization and profession. We understand that there is nothing we can do to change the hurt caused by this event and that trust can only be earned and healing can only be achieved through continued action. We recognize that we have a lot more work to do in order to be an organization that truly lives up to its own anti-racist, feminist values and are committed to doing and being better in our present and future actions, for which the following community agreement form a point of departure.
Anti-racism, which forms a cornerstone of intersectional feminist activism, requires that all of our members, and especially our white members, join us by committing to do this necessary work within their own spheres of influence.
The WiG Leadership Team
We have set up a slack space with various channels for different mentoring needs. For example, we have channels for alt-ac careers, contingency, administration, advocacy, graduate students, starting the t-t, parenting and care work, and working towards anti-racist future (more can be added as needed).
Please email Maria Stehle at email@example.com if you could like an invite to join the slack space!
The Steering Committee announces the opening of nominations for Vice-President / President-Elect of the Coalition of Women in German. Please consider nominating someone for this position or indicate your own willingness to be a candidate by March 15, 2021 by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a wonderful way for experienced Wiggies to deepen their engagement with WiG and to give back to the organization they value.
Requirements for the office include:
- Current membership in WiG, with previous leadership experience in the organization (for example, as Steering Committee member, member of Newsletter or Yearbook staff, conference organizer, prize committee member, or Web Editor) and attendance at the annual WiG conference within the last five years.
- A secure and stable academic position.
- Institutional support (for travel to conferences, administrative assistant support).
The duties for the position are as follows:
- The Vice President serves for two years in preparation for assuming a two-year term as President.
- The VP supports and advises the President and shares responsibilities for organizing / conducting searches (Treasurer, Yearbook Co-editors, Newsletter Editor(s), Web and Social Media Coordinators etc.); the VP shares other responsibilities as needed, such as facilitating communication between annual conferences and reviewing applications for the Zantop Graduate Travel Award and other prizes.
- The Vice President is expected to attend the pre-conference Steering Committee meeting as well as the entire conference each year of tenure as VP and President.
- Once President, the candidate will guide WiG in the development of its vision and mission for the future; will develop and implement new initiatives as needed (e.g. specific fundraising or website projects); will ensure communication between all organs of the organization; and will represent WiG and network and collaborate with other relevant organizations (attendance at professional conferences of these organizations is strongly encouraged)—all in consultation with the Vice President and other WiG officers.
If you wish to nominate someone, you MUST first contact that person to make sure that your candidate: will accept the nomination, is in a position to fulfill the requisite responsibilities, and is willing and able to attend the requisite pre-conference Steering Committee meetings and conferences.
Once all candidates have been nominated to the Steering Committee (please use email@example.com to send in your nomination), candidates will be asked to prepare a Candidate Statement which will be distributed to the Membership before online voting opens in April.
WiG is searching for a new co-editor for Feminist German Studies to begin in January 2022 for a 3-year term (renewable once).
- Member of WiG with longstanding record of participation and contribution to the organization;
- A secure and stable position, senior rank preferred;
- A strong research/publication record;
- Editing experience;
- Vision to enhance FGS;
- Institutional support ideal (travel funds to attend WiG conference; editorial assistant or other support for managing the flow of manuscripts; course release also desirable).
- Recruit members for Editorial Board as needed to replace outgoing members and to support editorial vision for FGS.
- Solicit manuscripts, send out for review, make selections, prepare copy of regular issue to meet publisher’s deadline.
- Solicit proposals for annual special issue, work closely with and support guest editors throughout process, send submissions out for review, prepare final manuscript to meet publisher’s guidelines and deadlines.
- Maintain healthy working relationship with press (currently University of Nebraska Press); renegotiate contract as needed.
- Submit annual report to the editorial board and the steering committee in late winter/early spring
- At least one co-editor attends annual SC meeting at conference. Run Editorial Board meeting during the conference. Report to attendees of business meeting during conference weekend.
Please send your application (1-2 page statement of interest and current CV) to the search committee at firstname.lastname@example.org by March 1, 2021.
As a follow-up to our WiG Leadership statement at the end of May 2020 in support of Black Lives Matter, we would like to notify the membership of some initiatives we are undertaking and also to remind you that anti-racist activities involve hard work and difficult, yet necessary, self reflection. This involves addressing the ways in which white supremacy is perpetuated at WiG, in our meetings and communications, as well as by WiG members in our everyday personal and professional lives. As an organization that desires to address its own systemic racism, we know that we can and must do better.
There is a long history of instances of racism at the WiG conference and perpetrated by WiG members. In the past, we have met to discuss these issues as a group during our conferences, but they continue to persist. With this violent and disappointing history in mind, the question becomes: what can we do to make lasting change in our organization? How can we shift the culture of WiG to open up space and provide a sense of community for diverse voices and to dismantle the structural racism that protects white privilege?
At a time when there are a number of events on race, on white fragility, on anti-racist interventions––on our campuses, in our professional lives, and in our home communities––we ask that we, and especially the white members of WiG, take time to educate ourselves, to explore ways to decolonize German Studies curricula, to confront German Studies as a field of research by interrogating the practice of knowledge creation and knowledge transfer within it, to discuss antiracist intersectional feminism in an informed way, to read and listen to experiences of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, and to support, thank, and show our appreciation of WiG members who have been doing this important work for a long time. We acknowledge that as an organization, we are collectively behind where we need to be in terms of knowledge and education on these topics and we encourage everyone in our organization to renew their commitment to the learning that needs to take place before proper and effective action can occur. Well-intentioned but ill-informed intervention can be very damaging.
Moving forward, we would like to build an anti-racist feminist agenda within WiG, one that is centered as a critical priority within our organization. As a next step of what will be an ongoing process, we will be offering a session titled “Visioning Transformative and Antiracist Futures: A Call for Principled Solidarities” as our Thursday Night coalitional feminism-in-action event during the 2020 Virtual WiG conference. We are thrilled that Dr. Xhercis Méndez, Associate Professor in Women and Gender Studies and Queer Studies at California State University Fullerton and transformative justice consultant, will be facilitating this event. Our vision is that this session, as well as a series of optional follow-up workshops, will help us reflect on how anti-Black and other forms of racism have and continue to operate within WiG and explore strategies for dismantling the white supremacy that pervades our organization. Only once we have addressed these injustices within WiG will we be prepared to build the skills needed to effectively and impactfully intervene in and dismantle systems of racism and other interlocking forms of inequity and oppression on our own campuses and in our communities. We recognize that WiG needs to change before we can serve as a model for change in our broader communities. We realize that one session and the follow-up workshop series will neither result in structural change, nor will it dramatically shift the power structures within WiG. However, we hope it will lead us on a path towards a more equitable, inclusive, and anti-racist organization. As an outcome of the session and resulting workshops, we plan to jointly develop ways in which each of us can become more engaged in this process. All WiG members are encouraged to participate in these efforts for the betterment of our organization and the communities we serve in our professional and personal lives.
This will not be easy work. These types of discussions expose vulnerabilities, anxieties, and weaknesses. Yet they are necessary and critical conversations that we believe will help us aspire to become the organization we would like to be: one that has anti-racist feminism at its very core. The time is now to work for a culture of change.
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