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Germany and Exile - Post-World War II Migrations of Culture, Art and Thought
Department of German and Scandinavian
University of Oregon, Eugene
Dates: 25 February 2011 – 27 February 2011
Keynote Speaker: Jules Simon, Ph.D. Department of Philosophy, University of New
Mexico at El Paso
This conference will approach the issue of exile from two different angles.
On one hand, it will explore literature, film, art, music and thought by and about
immigrants to, and “foreigners” in, the German-speaking lands, and the hyphenated
identities they have developed and experienced since World War II: Turkish-Germans,
Afro-Germans, Japanese-Germans, Italian-Germans, Polish-Germans, Jewish-Germans,
Germans of Sinti and Roma culture and so on.
On the other hand, the conference will strive to analyze “German” thought and
culture that has been developed outside of German speaking countries, e.g., by writers,
thinkers and artists who left these lands, voluntarily or otherwise, but held on to or are
holding on to their German identity. How do these writers and thinkers deal with their
exile, and how does it influence their relation toward “Germanness” and a German
cultural identity? How has it helped shape the way others view German culture and
The focus of the conference will be not only on cultural response to recent
immigration and population movements—brought about earlier by the guest-worker
policies of the Cold-War era West Germany (from the mid-1950s on), and then by the
dissolution of stringent borders around the development of German thought outside of
Germany—but also on notions of “Germanness” independent of the country of origin or
Both perspectives provide a framework for the question of what defines
We invite graduate students from all disciplines to submit proposals for 20-minute
papers. Possible topics include:
German intellectuals in exile
Being in exile in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Lichtenstein
Ideas and images of migration in German culture
Language as a unifying force
The legacy of German thought and culture in exile
Definitions of “Germanness”
The German image or images of Germany
Images of exile in or from Germany
Cultural trends and influences, such as new cultures in Germany
The “other” within—religious-cultural questions, e.g., Judaism or Islam in
Walls in our heads: German unification and the question of Leitkultur —German
Real and imaginary borders in Germany
Concepts of “Vaterland,” “Muttersprache,” “Heimat”