44th Annual WiG Conference

Oct. 17–20, 2019, in Sewanee, Tennessee

More information to come on how to register for the 2019 conference in beautiful Sewanee, Tennessee.

Once registration is open, visit the registration website to sign up for ground transportation, and arrange accommodation.

You can email the organizers with questions at: wigconference@sewanee.edu.

Head over to the WiggieWegWeiser to learn a little about WiG conference culture.

Panels at the 2019 WiG Conference, Oct. 17-20, Sewanee, Tennessee, U.S

Thursday Night Session: Coalitional Feminism in Action
Title IX: Feminist Activism on Campus (Alexandra M. Hill, Ariana Orozco)

In recent years, survivors of sexual assault and their allies have been speaking up to make gender-based violence more visible. Some have chosen web-based activism, such as #Aufschrei and the #MeToo movement. Others protest through Take Back the Night rallies or Slut Walks, or express solidarity through Walk a Mile in Her Shoes events. And yet others, such as noted UK theorist Sara Ahmed who resigned from Goldsmiths, University of London in 2016, have used their positions of visibility and power to draw attention to institutional failure to address sexual harassment and violence. Media coverage and films such as The Hunting Ground have helped make mainstream the contemporary urgency of and failures to address sexual assault. Indeed, many of these efforts intersect with our various roles as members of US college communities, where 1 in 4 women will experience sexual assault. Trans and non-binary community members are also particularly vulnerable.

Introduced in 1972, Title IX of the Education Amendments Act protects against discrimination within federally funded education programs and activities on the basis of sex. Initially meant to address funding discrepancies in men’s and women’s athletics, Title IX has come to stand in for discussion on sexual harassment and assault across US-American college campuses. Under the Obama administration, the United States Department of Education issued the “Dear Colleagues” letter (2011), which clarified and underscored for any educational institution receiving federal funding its legal obligation to support victims of sexual assault. Since the election of President Donald Trump in 2016, Title IX has been weakened, and it remains unclear how policy changes enacted by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will further undermine survivors and efforts to support them.

Given that campus activism is necessary and possible, this panel is interested in considering Title IX as a rallying ground for intersectional feminist practices across college communities. Possible topics could include:

  • Innovative initiatives to combat sex-based discrimination, harassment, and assault
  • Collaboration among groups of students, faculty, staff, and administration
  • How student groups have brought about Title IX policy or practice reform
  • How legal requirements (such as mandated reporting and timely warnings) limit sexual assault activism on campus
  • Ethical responses when Title IX claims are brought against colleagues (or your students)
  • How queer, non-binary, trans-, PoC, and other minority faculty and student groups are included or excluded from Title IX discussions
  • Outcomes and learning opportunities of campus protests
  • Connections made between campus offices and off-campus resources related to supporting victims of sexual assault

The organizers of this panel believe survivors. We will not accept victim blaming in the abstracts, papers, or presentations.

Please send a ca. 350-word abstract to both panel organizers, Alexandra M. Hill (hilla@up.edu) and Ariana Orozco (arorozco@sewanee.edu), by February 1, 2019.

Praxis/Pedagogy/Professional Session
Saving our Sanity: Feminist Strategies for Thriving in the Midst of Mental Health Challenges (Elizabeth Bridges, Wendy Timmons)

At all stages of this profession we experience stressors, from graduate students competing for funding and completing theses to senior faculty considering retirement finances and working with administrative issues. Although often simply ignored or stigmatized, mental illness among faculty is widespread and can lead to discrimination or marginalization, not to mention barriers to accomplishment. According to an August 2018 report by an anonymous author in Inside Higher Ed, “Academics ‘face higher mental health risk’ than other professions.” “Lack of job security, limited support from management and weight of work-related demands on time” are listed among the major risk factors. The fact that this author had to post the article anonymously speaks volumes about the stigma faced by faculty with psychiatric disabilities. Colleagues who struggle with mental health challenges have to develop strategies by which they work with, through, or around their diagnoses in order to achieve the same success as neurotypical colleagues. They often meet with institutional or logistical barriers to receiving needed professional accommodations. 

Meanwhile, accommodations for students with psychiatric disabilities have improved over the years, and thus we also have a larger number of students who themselves experience mental illness and disclose it to us via official channels. We may also have students who have unreported mental health struggles. Although as faculty members, we are not equipped to act as mental health professionals, we are often the liaison between our students and the resources they require in order to succeed.

As feminist teacher-scholars, we are acutely aware of intersections, and mental illness is a barrier that itself can lead to discrimination, but combined with other marginalized identity categories can expand into further difficulty for ourselves or our students. The American Psychological Association has termed the particular mental health challenges met by nonwhite people as “minority stress.”

This panel will take the form of a roundtable, and colleagues are encouraged to include personal or institution-specific experiences as they relate to questions such as the following. Ample discussion time will be provided, including a solutions-oriented collection of best practices that will be shared afterwards with conference attendees.

 

  • How does your institution support the needs of faculty and/or students with mental illness? Does it provide accommodations, resources, and/or training related to mental health? (e.g. suicide prevention awareness, support groups, etc.) Has it incorporated ideas put forward in reports such as “Promoting Supportive Academic Environments for Faculty with Mental Illness,” by Margaret Price and Stephanie Kerschbaum?
  • What personal strategies have you developed to navigate the profession while experiencing mental illness? For instance, have you incorporated methods, such as those suggested in The Slow Professor by Maggie Berg and Barbara Seeber or Living a Feminist Life by Sara Ahmed?
  • “Self-care” is a buzzword common in many activist communities as an antidote to mental exhaustion, frequently used to refer to anything from taking a bubble bath to radically altering one’s schedule, everyday habits, or even career. Does this concept offer any strategies for either preserving mental health or combating mental illness?
  • What are some best practices by which we can support the mental health of our students? What methods have you or your institution adopted in order to do this?
  • Nonwhite academics experience mental health issues in a larger proportion compared to their white counterparts due to minority stress. What specific strategies has your institution developed to lessen this effect (e.g. mentorship programs, support groups)?
  • Your great idea here.
Please submit your 250-word proposal to panel organizers Elizabeth Bridges (bridgese@rhodes.edu) and Wendy Timmons (wendy.c.timmons@vanderbilt.edu) by March 15, 2018.

 

Professional Development Workshop (Britt Abel, Corinna Kahnke, Faye Stewart)

This session is pre-organized.

Pre-20th Century Panel
Abolitionists or Advocates? Gender and German Images of Slavery (Obenewaa Oduro-Opuni, Denise Della Rossa)

The history of abolitionism within the wider transnational context highlights the complex relationship between feminism and abolitionism. This panel seeks to explore further individual and collective acts of abolitionism and the correlation between the Euro-American space and German involvement in abolitionist efforts. We invite papers that address authors and artists who examine slavery in a variety of genres such as journalistic writing, fiction, letters, visual imagery, performance etc. that contribute to the transnational abolitionist and feminist discourse.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • How race and gender operate in abolitionist cultural production
  • Affect in abolitionist German writings;
  • Benevolent depiction of Black slaves in German culture production (theater, literature, etc.);
  • Enlightenment Ideals and Abolitionist Sentiments in German territories 
  • Global Citizenship, Anti-Imperialism, Abolitionism and German writers (cultural production);
  • German-language Abolitionist activism;
  • Anti-slavery sentiments in German territories;
  • German-language Abolitionist Poetry;
  • German-American Abolitionists and the 1848ers

Please send abstracts of approx. 250 words in English or German, and a short biographical note to Obenewaa Oduro-Opuni (ooduroop@asu.edu) and Denise Della Rossa (dellarossa.1@nd.edu) by February 10, 2019.

Open Session I
“Funeral Vaults for the Living”: Representations of Age, Bodies, and Gender in German Culture (Lauren Nossett, Marjanne Goozé)

In her 1903 essay, “Die alte Frau,” Hedwig Dohm describes the state of being an old woman as being interred while living, asserting an intersection of age with gender. How does Dohm’s assertion comport with other representations of age and aging in German literature, film, and culture from earliest times to the present? How do cultural expressions of age and aging intersect with all iterations of gender identity (queer, cis, trans, non-binary+) and identifying factors, such as ability, class, ethnicity, nationality, race, religion, or sexual orientation? Topics may include: aging and subjectivity, the aging body, generational conflicts, wisdom and/or mental decline, caregiving, vitality and physical ability, bias and discrimination, renewal, relationships, desire, and sexuality.

Send 500-word abstracts to:

Lauren Nossett at laurennossett@rmc.edu and Marjanne Goozé at mgooze@uga.edu by March 1.

Open Session II
Raging and Resisting: Women’s Anger in German Culture (Claire E. Scott, Brandy E. Wilcox)

Over the past few years we have seen numerous examples of women’s anger becoming a topic of contentious debate. From the development of international women’s marches to Serena Williams’ display of frustration at the US Open and the wave of outrage surrounding the Brett Kavanagh confirmation hearings, the anger of women has been on full display in the United States and beyond. Some of the same factors that are driving this rage in the US are also present in contemporary Germany (the rise of populism, the normalization of racist and anti-immigrant rhetoric etc.). From Kriemhild to Katja (the protagonist of Fatih Akin’s Aus dem Nichts) there is a long history of representing women’s anger in the German context.

In this panel we hope to highlight representations of angry women within German cultural products. We invite papers exploring anger and rage in works from all time periods and media. Possible questions to consider include:

  • How can we theorize and contextualize this current interest and investment in women’s anger?
  • What are some examples of anger being channeled into political action or activism in the German-speaking world?
  • How do displays of anger or frustration relate to intersectional identities (race, gender, sexuality, class etc.)?

Please send an abstract of 200 words and a short bio to panel organizers Claire E. Scott (clairesc@email.unc.edu) and Brandy E. Wilcox (brandy.wilcox@wisc.edu) by March 1, 2019.

Poster Session (Maureen Gallagher, Karolina Hicke)

We invite submissions for the poster session at the Women in German conference in Sewanee, Tennessee, USA (Oct. 17–20, 2019). The poster session allows scholars to employ audiovisual forms to initiate conversations about intersectional feminist issues in their research, teaching, and activism. Submissions have taken the form of traditional posters, PowerPoint presentations, short films, websites, dioramas, installations, interactive experiences, etc. “Posters” can address a variety of topics, such as pedagogy, literature, film, cultural studies, history, and politics. Be creative, discover a new approach to your work, and gain valuable feedback in real time.

Please email an abstract of 250-400 words describing the project’s content, thesis, and form (a description of the layout, design, and materials/technology) and a short biography to wigposter2019@gmail.com by March 1, 2019. Presenters must provide their own materials, equipment, and technology; please consider this in your proposal.

Contact session organizers Maureen Gallagher (mog25@pitt.edu) and Karolina Hicke (khicke@umass.edu) with any questions.

 

WiG Annual Conference: History

2018 Conference: Oct. 17-21, 2018, at The Sewanee Inn, Sewanee, Tennessee

2017 Conference: Oct. 26-29, 2017, at the Banff Centre, Banff, Alberta

2016 Conference: Oct. 13-16, 2015, at the Banff Centre, Banff, Alberta

2015 Conference: Oct. 22-25, 2015, at the Banff Centre, Banff, Alberta

2014 Conference: Oct. 23-26, 2014, at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort, Shawnee on Delaware, PA

2013 Conference: Oct. 24-27, 2013, at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort, Shawnee on Delaware, PA

2012 Conference: Oct. 25-28, 2012, at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort, Shawnee on Delaware, PA

2011 Conference: Oct. 20-23, 2011, at Yarrow Golf and Conference Center, Augusta, MI

2010 Conference: Oct. 21-24, 2010, at Yarrow Golf and Conference Center, Augusta, MI

2009 Conference: Oct. 22-25, 2009, at Brook Lodge, Augusta, MI

2008 Conference: Oct. 23-26, 2008, at Snowbird Resort, Snowbird, UT

2007 Conference: Oct. 18-21, 2007, at Snowbird Resort, Snowbird, UT

2006 Conference: Oct. 19-22, 2006, at Snowbird Resort, Snowbird, UT

2005 Conference: Oct. 16-19, 2003, at General Butler State Resort Park, Carrollton, KY

2004 Conference: Oct. 16-19, 2003, at General Butler State Resort Park, Carrollton, KY

2003 Conference: Oct. 16-19, 2003, at General Butler State Resort Park, Carrollton, KY

2002 Conference: Oct. 17-20, 2002, at Rio Rico Resort, Rio Rico, AZ

2001 Conference: Oct. 18-21, 2001, at Rio Rico Resort, Rio Rico, AZ

2000 Conference: Oct. 19-22, 2000, at Rio Rico Resort, Rio Rico, AZ

1999 Conference: Oct. 28-31, 1999, at Monte Toyon Retreat, Aptos, CA

1998 Conference: Oct. 29-Nov. 1, 1998, at Monte Toyon Retreat, Aptos, CA

1997 Conference: Oct. 30-Nov. 1, 1997, at Monte Toyon Retreat, Aptos, CA

1996 Conference: Oct. 31-Nov. 3, 1996, in St. Augustine, FL

1995 Conference: Oct. 19-22, 1995, in St. Augustine, FL

1994 Conference: St. Augustine, FL

1991-1993 Conferences: Great Barrington, MA

1988-1990 Conferences: St. Croix, MN

1985-1987 Conferences: Portland, OR

1982-1984 Conferences: Thompson’s Island, Boston Harbor, MA

1979-1981 Conferences: Racine, WI

1976-1978 Conferences: Miami University, Oxford, OH

WiG-Sponsored Panels at other Conferences, 2019-2020

AATG/ACTFL 2019

Amplifying Grenzenlos Deutsch: Inclusivity through Feminist Pedagogy (Regine Schwarzmeier)

Our German language classroom has become increasingly diverse. This requires not only rethinking and adjusting our curriculum to ensure that it is relevant to and reflects today’s world but also adapting our modes of teaching. This session will provide feminist strategies and practices for fostering inclusion in the German language classroom, making Deutsch grenzenlos. It will show how an inclusive classroom and curriculum builds on the students’ individual differences, various backgrounds and experiences to avoid feelings of exclusion, lack of motivation and very often also anxiety. Furthermore, such a learning environment will also promote diversity of thought and perspective. The participants in this panel will contribute to Grenzenlos Deutsch by suggesting ideas and providing examples for teaching and learning that include, engage, and challenge all learners, such as creating an environment of inclusion that dismantles ableist strategies and instead encourages a growth mindset; using language inclusive of all genders and sexual identities; or delivering equality of access to instruction and instructional materials.

Please, send an abstract of 150-200 words to Regine Schwarzmeier regine.schwarzmeier@belmont.edu by December 31, 2018

 

German Studies Association 2019

Dis/ability in German-Language Culture (Alexandra M. Hill, Didem Uca)

As Michael Bérubé writes in the foreword to Robert McRuer’s influential Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability (2006), “disability (in its mutability, its potential invisibility, its potential relation to temporality, and its sheer variety) is a particularly elusive element to introduce into any conjunctural analysis, not because it is so distinct from sexuality, class, race, gender, and age but because it is always already so complexly intertwined with everything else.” In recent years, scholars and activists have responded to this challenge by beginning a rigorous engagement with the topic of disability and the ways in which assumptions of ability shape the world around us, such as Jennifer C. James and Cynthia Wu’s MELUS special issue on “Race, Ethnicity, Disability, and Literature: Intersections and Interventions” (2006), Kim Q. Hall’s edited collection Feminist Disability Studies (2011), and Sunaura Taylor’s Beasts of Burden (2017), bringing disability studies into conversation with critical race theory, feminist theory, and animal rights activism, respectively. Significant German-language contributions include Claudia Franziska Bruner’s KörperSpuren. Zur Dekonstruktion von Körper und Behinderung in biographischen Erzählungen von Frauen (2005), Marcus Dederich’s Körper, Kultur und Behinderung. Eine Einführung in die Disability Studies (2007) and Anne Waldschmidt and Werner Schneider’s edited volume Disability Studies, Kultursoziologie und Soziologie der Behinderung. Erkundungen in einem neuen Forschungsfeld (2007).

This panel invites contributors to examine German-language cultural products from all eras and of all kinds––literature, film, art, performance––that investigate disability, chronic illness, or ableism, that trouble assumptions of normative bodies, and/or that reframe disability as a question of diversity. We especially encourage analyses grounded in intersectional feminist theoretical approaches. This is a guaranteed panel sponsored by the Coalition of Women in German.

Possible topics could include, but are not limited to:

  • Illness and blindness in the work of medieval mystics, such as Hildegard von Bingen and Mechthild von Magdeburg
  • ‘Madness’ in Romantic literary texts
  • Hermaphroditism, gender assignment, and the pathologization of the non-normative body in Karl M. Baer’s Aus eines Mannes Mädchenjahren (1907)
  • The portrayal of ableist policies and the persecution of chronically ill and disabled people in the Third Reich, such as in Ich Klage an, dir. Wolfgang Liebeneiner (1941)
  • The figure of Oskar in Günter Grass’ Die Blechtrommel (1959)
  • The figure of Theo in Max Frisch’s Mein Name sei Gantenbein (1964)
  • The portrayal of deaf culture in Jenseits der Stille, Caroline Link (1996)
  • The figure of Klaus in Maria Knissel’s Drei Worte auf einmal (2012)
  • Alexander Görsdorf’s autobiographical Taube Nuss. Nichtgehörtes aus dem Leben eines Schwerhörigen (2013)
  • The disabled community of Neuerkerode in Mikael Ross’ Der Unfall (2018)

Please send a 350-word abstract to both panel organizers, Alexandra M. Hill (hilla@up.edu) and Didem Uca (uca@sas.upenn.edu), by January 10, 2019.

 

Modern Language Association 2020

Vegetal Imaginations: Plants in German Literature and Culture (Joela Jacobs, Lauren Nossett)

This panel will explore the role of plants in the German literary and cultural imagination, with a special focus on questions of gender, sexuality, and ecofeminism. Please send 300-word abstracts and a short bio or CV by 1 March 2019 to Joela Jacobs (joelajacobs@email.arizona.edu) and Lauren Nossett (laurennossett@rmc.edu). 

 

Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences/CAUTG Annual Meeting 2019

“‘Good’ Queers and Hated Others: Integration, Expulsion, and Disavowal of Subjects in Contemporary German-language Society and Culture” (Simone Pfleger, Carrie Smith)

*Note: Submissions to this panel were due on November 28, 2018*

Joint panel between two associations: Canadian Association of University Teachers of German (CAUTG) and The Coalition of Women in German (WiG)

“‘Good’ Queers and Hated Others: Integration, Expulsion, and Disavowal of Subjects in Contemporary German-language Society and Culture”

With the change of society’s attitude toward contemporary queer identities and the cooptation of concepts such as intersectionality and feminism, particular non-normative bodies have been instrumentalized as signposts of hegemonic cultural changes. Mobilized for the advancement of neoliberalism, gentrification, global tourism, mass consumerism, and capitalist expansion, certain individuals and social groups are deemed “regenerative queer” (Haritaworn) forces and circulated as paragons of socio-political progress. This selective humanization of some bodies comes at the expense of many others who failed to perpetuate normative ideals and ideologies. For example, many European countries are witness to the rise of the popular right while inviting the presence of certain queer bodies, culminating in the recent passage of gay marriage in various Western European countries such as Ireland, Germany, and Austria.

Inspired by scholars such as Jin Haritaworn, Robert McRuer, Mark Rifkin, and Jasbir K. Puar, this panel seeks to challenge this particular progression by revealing the stakes of linking discourses of sexuality to racial, indigenous, disabled, and religious otherness in the German-language context. As such, this panel hopes to provide an exciting engagement with how the pervasive neoliberal and colonial power structures working against those individuals considered as “others” shapes the contours of subjectivity and how these supposedly humanizing forces uphold white capitalism and white humanism while also relying on the erasure of certain bodies.

We invite proposals that may include the following approaches to German-language texts and culture:

  • critical interrogations of normative concepts of identities via intersectional approaches
  • interrogations of homo and crip nationalism
  • considerations of queer temporalities and queer spaces
  • questions of political subjectivity
  • examinations of affective landscapes of non-normative bodies navigating social structures