The Neighbor: Interdisciplinary German Studies Conference 3/11/2011 – 3/15/2011

How do we identify a neighbor or neighborhood in our current age of migration and mobility? Examining the religious, political, and cultural implications of “the neighbor” in the German-speaking world, this interdisciplinary conference seeks to enrich our understanding of not only genocide and violence but also exchange, aid, and co-operation.

The conference will span March 11-13, 2011. We will launch our events on Friday evening with a two-hour screening of a film that highlights the topic of “the neighbor.” This screening will be preceded by a presentation from Jeroen Dewulf, Director of the Dutch Studies program at Berkeley, and it will be followed by a discussion panel and a reception. The conference will convene again for four panels on Saturday (March 12) from 9:00am to 3:30pm and one panel on Sunday (March 13) from 10:00am to 11:00am. Each panel will be introduced by a graduate student at Berkeley who will also provide a brief response, drawing out connections between the presentations and encouraging a critical dialogue between the panelists and the audience. The keynote address will take place on Saturday from 3:45pm to 5:00pm, followed by a reception.

Our keynote speaker, Kenneth Reinhard, will present his current research on our theme with a talk tentatively entitled “The Three Neighbors.” Professor Reinhard, whose research has focused on the history of critical and aesthetic theory, contemporary critical theory, and Jewish Studies, is the Director of the Program in Experimental Critical Theory at the University of California, Los Angeles. His current research focuses on “the political theology of the neighbor,” seeking to transform the binary distinction between the notions of enemy and friend. In his forthcoming book for Princeton University Press he will continue to investigate the possibility of “an ethics of the neighbor.”

Past conferences organized by the Department of German have developed the reputation for providing scholars from the US and abroad with a venue for presenting and discussing their research on cutting-edge topics. The proceedings of several recent conferences, “Rebellion and Revolution” (2008) and “The Threat and Allure of the Magical” (2009), have been published. This year we are inviting submissions from graduate students, advanced undergraduate students, and faculty in a wide range of fields. We look forward to your participation in our conference.

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