Annual Conference of the German Studies Association GSA - Family and Kinship Network

Annual Conference of the German Studies Association GSA - Family and Kinship Network

Family and Kinship Network
Pittsburgh, PA
United States
Vom - Bis
27.09.2018 - 30.09.2018
Margareth Lanzinger

The GSA Family and Kinship Network is organizing panels for the 2018 Annual Conference of the German Studies Association, September 27-30 in Pittsburgh, PA. We invite proposals for individual papers and pre-formed panels (normally consisting of three papers) on the following topics:

The Family in Motion
Family and kinship units have traditionally been rooted in a specific location: a household, an ancestral estate, a region. Family and kinship groups can then expand their membership and influence by making alliances with other groups attached to different locations. How do family and kinship constellations change when these units or their individual members are dispersed and cannot gather in a common domestic space, or the home/domestic space is destroyed or displaced as a result of war, economic circumstances, or other situations? How might the status of “refugee” complicate notions of biological or affective kinship? Papers focusing on the family in motion from historical, literary, filmic or artistic perspectives, as well as papers exploring the intersection of these discourses, are welcome.

Family and Wissenschaft
The concept of “family” intersects with, reflects, and shapes numerous concepts belonging to the field of Wissenschaft across historical periods. These interactions take place both in ‘scientific’ writings/debates and in dynamic engagements between historical and creative (literary, filmic) media. This panel solicits papers that explore how different scientific discourses shape discourses on the family in different periods, and how the family as an institution (or ideal) is seen as contributing to disciplines like economics, political science, population control, etc. This could include, e.g., the preformation-vs-epigenesis debates around 1800, Nazi eugenics programs, or twenty-first century family planning initiatives. We welcome papers that explore the family and Wissenschaft in any of these specific disciplines and/or in combination with specific works of literature or film from any historical period.

Family, Kinship – Cultures of Relatedness through Objects
Historically, the inventory of houses and households has looked different depending on the social milieu: it has been comprised of items needed and used on a daily basis, tools and other working implements, objects representing social class and status, things that belonged to women or to men, things that were inherited, gifted, or bought, and memorabilia that lent presence to ancestors or referred to other social relationships or past experiences. Some objects possessed a special legal status or were attributed to one sex or the other, some were necessary in the economic sense, and others were invested with symbolic meaning. Family membership and kinship could be expressed via objects and repeatedly updated to reflect new circumstances. We learn about such objects in wills, letters, inventory lists, deeds of donation and other documents, and even in novels and stories. And such documents could themselves be objects— such as when they were used as pieces of evidence in cases of dispute, or when novels became heirlooms or gifts. The objective of the planned panel is to ask as to various forms and contexts of familial and relational cultures of relatedness organised around objects.

Please note: The GSA requires that panelists have a current membership by the time full panels are submitted. Please be ready to renew your membership—or join—when you receive notice that your abstract has been accepted.

Deadline: January 28, 2018

Send 250-word abstracts or panel proposals to:
Eleanor ter Horst
Sarah Eldridge
Margareth Lanzinger



Margareth Lanzinger

Institut für Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte, Universität Wien, Universitätsring 1, 1010 Wien

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