To look through court records – topics, methods, challenges

45th annual GSA Conference 2021, Indianapolis

The German Studies Association
United States
Vom - Bis
30.09.2021 - 03.10.2021
Gabriele Hackl (Institut für Zeitgeschichte, Universität Wien); Christian Rabl (Zeithistorisches Zentrum Melk)

45th annual GSA Conference 2021, Indianapolis

A vast range of research projects routinely draws on court records as a source of juridical, social and historical information. However, the topics discussed, and the methods used may vary heavily from project to project and may come with different challenges. The seminar seeks to bring together scholars from various fields and foster discussion about these challenges, may they be of theoretical or practical nature. We invite participants to critically reflect on the sources and methods they use. We seek proposals for short presentations (15-20 min) of papers from scholars that engage with court records from the 19th and 20th century, from history to social and cultural studies, literature studies, media studies and (critical) legal sciences. We particularly invite researchers who work in younger fields, like disability studies or queer studies, or use newer, i.e. digital tools to handle court records. We particularly encourage submissions from young, BIPOC and LGBTQIA* scholars.

Seminar-Design: After seminar participants have been chosen, we will circulate at least three core texts that are to be read before the seminar (participants are welcome to suggest texts). Participants are also required to circulate their paper (approx. 30,000 characters) by July 2021, giving insight in their projects and their presentation. The core texts and papers will be the basis of discussion. Every participant will also be a designated respondent for one of the papers, meaning that (s)he will prepare a short comment and a few questions for the group discussion.

Please send your abstracts (approx. 250 words) and a short CV in English to or The deadline for submissions is 22nd January 2021.

To participate you must be a GSA member. Young scholars who need financial assistance with the membership fee contact


Gabriele Hackl (Institut für Zeitgeschichte, Universität Wien):

Christian Rabl (Zeithistorisches Zentrum Melk):