45th Annual WiG Conference

Oct. 15–18, 2020, in Sewanee, Tennessee

Please visit the registration website to register for the 2020 conference in beautiful Sewanee, Tennessee.

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 2020 WiG Conference, Oct. 15-18, Sewanee, Tennessee, U.S


Thursday Night Session: (Helga Thorson, Maria Stehle)



Praxis/Pedagogy/Professional Session
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as/and Feminist Pedagogy in the German Curriculum (Ester Gonzalez Martin, Angineh Djavadghazaryans, and Britt Abel)


Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework that builds flexibility into the educational context to accommodate different types of learners. This framework has been built around cognitive and neuroscience insights into how humans learn in order to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all people. UDL assumes that any barrier to learning lies in the design of the environment and not the learner. Much work in UDL centers on the “plus one” approach: building flexibility into the classroom by adding an additional option for assessments, for example, or adding another mode of interacting with or representing course material.

Meanwhile, feminist pedagogical theory focuses on decentering the authority in the classroom and empowering each students to take responsibility for their own learning. Feminist pedagogy operates on the following six fundamental principles: relationship between teacher and student, empowerment, community building, privilege of voice, respect for diverse personal experiences, and challenging traditional learning ideals.

This panel will inverstigate the connections, tensions, and overlaps between UDL and feminist pedagogical practice. Proposals might address the following questions: how can implemementing UDL support feminist pedagogy? In other words, how do the ideas of UDL build inclusivity and equity into the classroom? What does UDL look like in our German courses—from beginning language to graduate courses? How can the ideas of UDL make our classrooms and our course materials more accessible? How might this accessibility be viewed as “feminist”? What alternative forms of assessment might we consider that would both conform to UDL standards and be feminist? Can we move from individual accommodations to a more inclusive idea of universal design—and if so, how?

Please send a 250-400 word abstract to all three panel co-organizers by February 15, 2020: Ester Gonzalez Martin (egonzalezmar@umass.edu), Angineh Djavadghazaryans (djavadghazaryan@oakland.edu), Britt Abel (abel@macalester.edu)


Pre-20th Century Panel
Writing in Drag: (a)gendered Storytelling (Sharon Wailes and Brandy Wilcox)


Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen, a male author of the baroque period, writes as a woman, who dresses in male clothing to pose as a soldier during the Thirty Years’ War. Heinrich von Kleist writes as a female Marquise who is raped an ends up marrying her rapist. Female writers during the 18th and 19th centuries published under male pseudonyms so that their writing would be taken seriously. The Grimm Brothers, though writing under their own names, appropriated stories often told by women (in addition to previously written stories) who are only now being rediscovered as the tellers of these tales.  Even JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter franchise, hid her name and thus her gender in initially publishing her books. Gender-bending storytellers are everywhere, inside and outside of German culture, literature, and history. 

This panel seeks to address questions as to the purpose of gender bending and writing under a ‘pseudogender’ in our field. What can gender-bending writers tell us about the literary, cultural, and historical implications of gender performance, gender fluidity, and non-binary (a)gendering? What can they tell us about gender assumptions and flexibility of gender concepts, or lack thereof, in their respective cultures and times? What is gained or lost when a storyteller chooses to speak under the guise of a sex other than their own? What are the implications for modern-day cultures, and how can we engage with gender-bending storytellers of the past? What sort of implications exist for our intersections with sexual politics, racial politics, colonialism and imperialism?

This panel will respond to some of these questions and generate others as we look at authors who choose to write under the guise of genders with which they don’t necessarily identify.

Please submit abstracts of 200-300 words in length to Sharon Wailes (szw496@psu.edu) and Brandy E. Wilcox (brandy.wilcox@wisc.edu) no later than February 15, 2020.


Open Session I
Beyond “Indianthusiam” – Intersections and Potential Affinities between Indigenous Studies and Feminist German Studies (Emily Frazier-Rath, Lars Richter, and Wendy Timmons)


As feminist German Studies scholars in North America, we live and work on Indigenous land that has been and continues to be shaped by processes of colonization. In addition, working in post-secondary institutions in an inherently Eurocentric discipline like German Studies prompts us to reflect on and come to terms with our role in the continued reproduction of oppressive systems that exclude Indigenous students, and that are built upon and prioritize Western/European ways of knowing.

All of the above gains even more importance because the German infatuation with the Indigenous peoples of North America is such that it even led to its own term, “Indianthusiasm,” defined by Hartmut Lutz as “a yearning for all things Indian” that is essentialist, racialized, historicized, and primarily concerned with an imaginary past (Lutz 2002). Problematically, such an infatuation, which finds expression in everything from hobbyist “Indian Weeks” to the seemingly never-ending fascination with the works of authors like Karl May, precludes Indigenous peoples’ present-day experiences.

One important step in mapping out the intersections and potential affinities between Indigenous Studies and German Studies is the publication of the November 2019 issue “Indigenous and German Studies” of Seminar – A Journal of Germanic Studies. In their introduction, the editors of the special volume, Renae Watchman, Carrie Smith and Markus Stock, explore the possibilities of “building transdisciplinary relationships” (309), while Bradley Boovey and Natchee Blu Barnd, in their contribution, suggest thinking about such relationships in terms of “a relational framework based on the notions of affinities” highlighting similar “critical epistemological frameworks and transformative pedagogical approaches” (329).

The purpose of this panel is to go beyond “Indianthusiasm” by rejecting its centrality at the intersection of Indigenous Studies and German Studies. As we continue to do the work of decolonization and reconciliation, can we imagine a present and future engagement between German Studies and Indigenous Studies? What does this look like? Keenly aware of the dangers of the appropriation and commodification of Indigenous knowledges as well as the dangers of objectifying Indigenous peoples, this panel explores the possible meaningful ways that  Indigenous and Feminist German Studies can be in dialogue. As this interdisciplinary conversation continues to develop out of analyses of representation in the arts, we call for more theoretical, methodological, as well as transdisciplinary approaches to the topic. Possible avenues of inquiry could include but are not limited to:

  • How, if at all, are Indigenous peoples represented in contemporary texts by German female/queer/feminist authors? If so, do these authors find ways to go beyond the tokenization and anachronistic fixation of Indigenous peoples? 
  • What efforts are currently underway to Indigenize post-secondary curricula? What are the pedagogical and methodological implications of current efforts to Indigenize post-secondary German Studies?
  • How can intersections between feminist and Indigenous methodologies be delineated and what are reciprocal benefits of transdisciplinary encounters?
  • What are potential contributions of Feminist German Studies to the project of de-colonizing and Indigenizing the curriculum? 
  • What theoretical implications does this constellation of German, Indigenous, and Feminist studies generate in the different contexts of US and Canadian academia? 

Please send a 250-350-word abstract to all three panel organizers, Emily Frazier-Rath (emfrazierrath@davidson.edu), Lars Richter (lars.richter@umanitoba.ca), and Wendy Timmons (wendy.c.timmons@vanderbilt.edu) by February 15, 2020. 


Open Session II
Slutty Sluts Who Slut: Promiscuity through the Ages (Amy Lynne Hill and Faye Stewart)


“I was like, am I gay? Am I straight? And I realized… I’m just slutty. Where’s my parade?” 

–Margaret Cho, I’m the One That I Want

This panel seeks to investigate and interrogate the entwinement of erotic practices, sexual morality, and gendered subjectivity in any century, in any medium, and with subjects of any age. We wish to radically reimagine the category of the “slut,” what it means to be read as “slutty,” and which practices are labeled, denigrated, or celebrated as “slutting.” We invite presentations that explore a range of sexual positionalities and gender embodiments, while complicating classic depictions of purity and/or promiscuity.

There is a wide spectrum of possible topics, including the following: 

  •         from free love to Feuchtgebiete: sexual morality and erotic liberation
  •         from vagina dentata to Kondom des Grauens: embodying pleasure, pain, and punishment
  •         from polyamory to plushies: erotic practices across the pleasure spectrum
  •         from coming of age to aging orgasmically: sexual maturity and silver sexuality
  •         free love through the ages: liberté amoureuse, bohemian lifestyles, utopian socialism
  •         slut shaming and slut pride: gendered behavior expectations, sexual agency, psychological effects of sexual mores, sexual activism, using sexuality as a weapon
  •         bitches and sluts in popular culture: from Maria Braun and Katharina Blum to Lady Bitch Ray and Schwesta Eva
  •         intersections between sexuality and other categories of analysis, including ability, race, class, religion, gender, age, and ethnicity
  •         sexuality and spirituality: mysticism, metaphysics, and sacred eroticism
  •         lyrical eroticism: Minnesang, Mädchenlieder, pornographic prose and poetry
  •         the pathologization of sexuality: nymphomania, masochism, sadism, exhibitionism, voyeurism; ideas about “perversion” and “deviance”
  •         the criminalization of sexuality: prostitution, menstrual rage, lust murders and other crimes of passion 
  •         erotic gratification, fluids, and notions of “excess”: masturbation, multiple orgasms, gender and ejaculation
  •         sexual citizenship: heteronormativity, homonationalism, queer and trans belonging

Please send a 250-word abstract and 100-word bio to both organizers, Amy Lynne Hill (amy.l.hill@vanderbilt.edu) & Faye Stewart (fayestewart@gsu.edu), by Feb. 15, 2020. Panelists will be notified by March 1, 2020.


Guest-related panel: Queer Eye: Black German Visions (Tiffany Florvil, Kevina King, and Vanessa Plumly)


This panel explores the Black German tradition of queering and querying the gaze, knowledge, and ontologies, by examining past, present, and future visions of collective and individual identity. Thus, what we mean by queer eye could also be understood as a queer “I”. The queer eye attends to the multiple focal points of Black German Studies, especially its overlapping and intersecting lenses. Black German ontologies and subjectivities return the critical gaze back onto the exclusionary, normative constructs that (re)produce and mark their non-being and non-belonging and undermine Black fungibility. But they equally envision Black Germans as capable of operating, producing, and being outside of such epistemological paradigms. As Fatima El-Tayeb’s European Others: Queering Ethnicity in Postnational Europe emphasizes the explicit need to queer national contexts, she points to Black German agents who complicate notions of belonging through queer time, space, performance, and self-making. Moreover, in the context of the Black German women’s movement Peggy Piesche and Tiffany Florvil have highlighted the significance of queer positionalities within the community as well as its “queered” publications from Farbe bekennen to afro look that incorporate various modes of story-telling and embody the spacetime (Wright) dimension of their archive, content, and meaning. In their cultural productions, Black Germans continuously blur the boundaries of genre and form by producing aesthetics beyond the constraints of traditional Western norms of categorization and bending and twisting frames, molding them anew to better serve their complex narratives and lives. 

Papers in this panel will therefore address the queerness and queering of Black German visions.  By tackling literary, filmic, musical, theoretical, autobiographical, poetic, philosophical and/or dramatic forms of Black German aesthetic and political expression, the papers will demonstrate how diasporic agents produced new ways of seeing, knowing, feeling, and existing, instantiating and reimagining the Black German Diaspora in the process. 

We find this panel to be particularly relevant given the invitation extended to Sheri Hagen for WiG 2020 and her own body of work.

Please send inquiries and proposals of 200-300 words to all organizers by January 1, 2020: Tiffany Florvil (tflorvil@unm.edu), Vanessa Plumly (plumlyv@lawrence.edu), and Kevina King (kevina@german.umass.edu).


Poster Session (Maureen Gallagher, Benjamin Brand, and Corinna Kahnke)


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 postersession@womeningerman.org by March 1, 2020. Presenters must provide their own materials, equipment, and technology; please consider this in your proposal.

Questions can be directed to poster session organizers Benjamin Brand, Maureen Gallagher and Corinna Kahnke at postersession@womeningerman.org.

WiG Annual Conference: History

2019 Conference: Oct. 17-20, 2019, at The Sewanee Inn, Sewanee, Tennessee

2018 Conference: Oct. 18-21, 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



Feminist Pedagogies and Study Abroad: Theory, Models, and Case Studies (Teresa Sanislo and Regine Schwarzmeier)


This session will provide transformative feminist strategies and practices for designing inclusive, engaging and challenging German study abroad programs. It will explore how to apply feminist practices used to foster inclusive classrooms to teaching and learning abroad. It will focus on the importance of addressing diverse backgrounds and experiences of both American students traveling to Germany and the communities that they will engage with abroad. The panel invites contributions that discuss inclusivity and diversity in preparing students of all levels for travel, interacting with partner institutions and communities, and planning visits to historic and cultural sites.

Please, send an abstract of 250 words to both organizers: Teresa Sanislo SANISLTM@uwec.edu and Regine Schwarzmeier regine.schwarzmeier@belmont.edu by January 3, 2020.



German Studies Association 2020 

Alternative Families in German-language Women’s Writing (Sarah Reed and Margaret Reif)


The middle class nuclear family has often been held up as a standard model for families since its emergence in the German-speaking worlds in the 19th century. This model of family is associated with strict gender roles, with the father supporting the family through his participation in the public sphere and the mother managing the household through affective power. Although socially constructed, it has been essentialized and naturalized as an ahistorical phenomenon. 

This panel seeks to explore how German-language women’s writing presents alternatives to this model. Among other questions, we are interested not only in how women’s writing problematizes the idea of the middle class family, but how women’s writing imagines other possibilities. How does German-language women’s writing imagine alternative families moving beyond a heteronormative construct? An alternative family could entail emphasizing matrilineal genealogies, reversing or deconstructing male and female spheres in the household and public spaces, rejecting marriage as the foundation of a family, choosing a partner who would be deemed socially unsuitable (due to gender, religion, race, class, nationality, ability, etc.), or challenging the emphasis on reproduction and motherhood within the family. Even as detractors may call them communes, love nests, or terrorist cells, alternative families can threaten legal, political, and economic hegemonies. 

We welcome papers addressing materials from all German-speaking contexts and all time periods.

Send 350-word abstracts by January 17, 2020 to both organizers: Sarah Reed (Sarah_Reed@byu.edu) and Margaret Reif (Margaret.Reif@duke.edu). This panel is sponsored by the Coalition of Women in German.


Modern Language Association 2020 

Intersectional Approaches to Girlhood (Didem Uca and Mareike Herrmann)

This panel invites submissions that examine portrayals of girlhood across a variety of media, cultural traditions, and historical periods. We encourage papers considering intersecting factors of identity, including race, gender identity, sexuality, religion, and ability.


Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences/CAUTG Annual Meeting 2020

Due to COVID-19, the annual meeting of Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences (London, Ontario) was canceled. 


*Note: Submissions to this panel were due on November 30, 2019*

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