24th New Hampshire Symposium

Difference(s) in the East:

East Germany between New Beginnings and Marginalization

June 24 - July 1, 1998

World Fellowship Center

Conway, NH (USA)

The 1998 New Hampshire Symposium will concern itself with the minority experience and marginalization in the new German states. On the one hand, the East German population, with its history, socialization, political culture, life experiences and current socio-economic situation, is different from the West German population, and, as a numerically smaller group, represents a minority within the united Germany. On the other hand, within East Germany itself there are social, economic, ethnic and cultural minorities whose otherness is defined by the East German majority.

Papers are welcome which document the present situation and analyze the causes and consequences of the various forms of difference, both those leading to marginalization and alienation, and those representing new prospects and opportunities. The approach of the conference is multi-disciplinary. Political scientists, sociologists, economists and other social scientists, as well as Germanists, linguists, specialists in the arts and media, and other interested persons, including non-academic practitioners in the various areas are invited to participate. Papers are being solicited for the following seminars:

Theoretical Framework - Wolfgang Bialas (Institut für Philosophie, Universität Potsdam, Postfach 601553, D-14415 Potsdam - Fax: 030 2829109; Margy Gerber (Dept. of German, Russian, E. Asian Languages, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH 43403 - Fax: 419 3722571.

Conceptual approaches to the topics of otherness, minority and marginality, including theoretical discussions from the fields of social philosophy, ethics and psychoanalysis; application of theories to the East German situation (e.g., community/society, identity, redefining of the concept of politics).

East Germans as Political Minority/Minorities - Wolfgang Bergem (FB 1 - Gesellschaftswissenschaften, Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Gaussstr. 20, D-42097 Wuppertal - Fax: 0202 4392429; Laurence McFalls (Departement de science politique, Universite de Montreal, C.P. 6128, succursale Centre-ville, Montreal, Quebec/CN, H3C 3J7 - Fax: 514 3432360.

East Germans as an institutional and cultural minority in the political system of the Federal Republic, their minority status in political parties, organizations and intellectual discourses; the mobilization of minorities by political parties; possibilities of protecting regional interests in German federalism; strategies, institutions and mechanisms for asserting East German interests.

Divided Inequality in United Germany - Michael Hofmann (Institut für Soziologie, TU Dresden, Bergstr. 53, D-01062 Dresden - Fax: 0351 4637113); Gerd Antos (Germanistisches Institut, Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Universitätsring 4, D-06099 Halle - Fax: 0345 5527107; Mike Dennis (School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Wolverhampton, Castle View, Dudley/UK, DY1 3HR - Fax: 1902 323379.

The experience of social differentiation and marginalization, and social and linguistic attempts to cope with the situation; social problem areas (mass unemployment, violence, xenophobia, alcoholism) and their treatment in the media; linguistic and social fostering of East German identity (minority consciousness, "Ostalgie", dialect, rituals and cults); divided participation in German social movements (e.g., women's movement).

The Other Market Economy - Joerg Roesler (Mellenseestr. 5, D-10319 Berlin - Tel. 030 5124906); Jennifer Yoder (Dept. of Government, Colby College, Waterville, ME 04901 - Fax: 207 8723263; Rainer Karlsch (Institut für Wirtschaftsgeschichte, Humboldt-Universität, Spandauer Str. 1, D-10178 Berlin - Fax: 030 20935659.

Wage/salary agreements and practices; polarization of wealth; entrepreneurs in the East; new economic elite; product histories and production (dis)continuity; East German taste and the German market (advertising and marketing).

Literature and the Arts: Minority Voices - Christiane Zehl Romero (Dept. of German, Russian and Asian Languages, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155 - Fax: 617 6273945; Nancy A. Lauckner (Dept. of Germanic and Slavic Languages, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996 - Fax: 423 9747096; Karl-Siegbert Rehberg (Institut für Soziologie, TU Dresden, SFB 537, D-01062 Dresden - Fax: 0351 4637113.

Expressions of East German minority experience in Wende and post-Wende literature and the arts; analyses of new texts and other artistic works; questions of access to markets and media, of new forms of (inner) censorship; collaboration and cooperation of East and West: Ost-Pen/West-Pen, Akademie der Künste, artists' organizations.

Learning from the East? - Margy Gerber (see above, first panel); Roger Woods (Dept. of German, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham/UK, NG7 2RD - Fax: 115 951 5812; ); Lothar Probst (Institut für kulturwissenschaftliche Deutschlandstudien, Universität Bremen, FB 10, Postfach 330440, D-28334 Bremen - Fax: 0421 218-4961

Opportunities of/barriers to learning from the East; majority perceptions of East German minority/minorities; East Germans' experiential advantage in adjusting to the economic, social and political restructuring in the Federal Republic (e.g., Currency Union, EU expansion) and in coping with social and economic uncertainty; East German possibilities of influencing the German majority.

The Other 1968 - Patty Lee Parmalee (211 W. 102 St., #5B, New York, NY 10025 - Fax: 212 6652575; ); Birgit Dahlke (Institut für deutsche Literatur, Humboldt-Universität, Mossezentrum, Schützenstr. 18-25, D-10117 Berlin - Fax: 030 20196690

Prague 1968 as the starting/turning point in the alienation of intellectuals; concepts of a "third way" in East and West; cultural and political consequences (depolitization, radical politization, cultural modernization); significance of the double-coded "1968" for cultural elites; role of intellectuals in building consensus; influence of the 68ers on the generation of 1989.

Conference Details

Papers may be given in either English or German. Their delivery time should not exceed 30 minutes. Detailed proposals (title plus 1-2 pages) must be submitted to appropriate seminar organizers - one copy to each organizer - by December 1, 1997. Completed papers are due April 15, 1998. Each paper must be accompanied by a short summary in the other conference language.

For more information about the program, contact Margy Gerber (see above, first panel).

For information about the Symposium, location, travel arrangements and conference registration, contact W. Christoph Schmauch, World Fellowship Center, Conway, NH 03818 (Tel: 603 356-5208, Fax: 356-5252.

Go to Eastern German Studies Group Newsletter 276.