CFP: [20th] The Fall of the Berlin Wall, Twenty Years After

full name / name of organization: 
Jennifer Glaser
contact email: 


''November 9, 1989'':

The Fall of the Berlin Wall, Twenty Years After


November 8-9, 2009 / University of Cincinnati / Cincinnati, Ohio


Sponsored by the Charles Phelps Taft Memorial Fund, the University Research

and the Faculty Development Council at the University of Cincinnati


On November 9, 1989, the East German party functionary Günter Schabowski
announced the official “opening” of the Berlin Wall for travel purposes;
one day later, on November 10, East Berliners ventured out en masse into
West Berlin. As an historic event, the fall of the Wall marked the
presumed “end” of the Cold War and “death” of communism. In its wake the
world witnessed the dissolution of the USSR; a shift in Soviet policy
toward glasnost’ (openness) and perestroika (economic restructuring); the
so-called Autumn Revolutions of 1989 throughout Poland, Czechoslovakia,
Hungary, and Bulgaria; the reunification of East and West Germany one year
later in 1990; and rapid geopolitical and global capitalist restructuring.
Our conference will examine the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989
and the subsequent international political, economic, geographic, and
cultural transformations over the past twenty years.


Keynote Speakers:

Sander L. Gilman (Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies, Emory
University); Josef Joffe (Founding editor and publisher of Die Zeit,
Hamburg; Political Science, Stanford University); Saskia Sassen (Sociology,
Columbia University); James Sheehan (History, Stanford University)


We seek scholarly explorations of the following topics and are interested
in papers from specialists in a range of disciplines (anthropology,
cultural/film/literary studies, politics, political science, gender and
sexuality studies, international relations, geography, history, economics,
and sociology):


 Cartographic and Geopolitical Realignments in Europe as a Consequence of
the Fall of the Wall


· Did the fall of the Wall mark the opening of bordersâ€"those of
trade, finance, capital, technology, production, information, environmental
and social justice activism, and human movementâ€"as celebrated under the
tags of transnationalism and postnationalism? Or did some borders become
more rigid, even as others became more porous?

· How did the fall of the Wall lead to metaphoric and symbolic
revaluations of “borders” and “borderlands” within the visual arts, music,
popular culture, film, and comparative literatures, as well as in
theoretical approaches to the humanities?


Implications for the Humanities: Literary, Artistic, Architectural, Filmic,
Televisual, and Digital Representations of Cultural Identities after 1989


· How have artists, writers, directors, architects, musicians, and
performers captured the contradictions and conflicts of the post-Wall and
post-Cold War period in realistic or documentary forms?

· How have these cultural producers created experimental or
postmodernist texts and art forms that engage the events of 1989 and the
post-1989 period?

· What are the European cultural shifts since 1989? What are the
major global cultural shifts post-Cold War? And how have these shifts
impacted arts and humanities?

· How have artists, writers, and performers, both from migrant
communities and from homelands whose socioeconomic structures were impacted
by the fall of the Wall, sought to translate the lived experiences of this
monumental event and its fallout?


Implications for International Relations: Across the Globe


· How does the post-Berlin Wall era of Germany and Europe relate to
new wall construction, most notably in the Middle East (Gaza and the West
Bank) and in North America (specifically along the US-Mexico border)?

· How have artists, writers, film makers, and performers actively
and imaginatively contested the erections of walls and the rigidification
of borders through translational and transnational arts of resistance?


Implications for International Relations: Creation of a European Identity
in Terms of Culture, Education, Currency, Trade, Foreign Policy, Law, and


· How has the post-Wall era in Europe facilitated the emergence of
a new Europe, a European community, and a European Union (EU)?

· How have cultural producers and humanities scholars engaged and
contested this idea of a “New Europe” in arts, literatures, letters, and
other forms?


Consolidation of the European Union and Changes in International Migratory
Patterns within and into Europe


· How has the fall of the Wall shaped migratory patterns within
Europe and beyond its still malleable borders?

· How have migrant artists, writers, film directors, musicians, and
performers challenged Cold War and post-Cold War configurations of
homeland, nation-state, and Europe?


The Shift in Policies from First-Second-Third Worlds to International

Financial Restructuring Post-1989 across the Globe


· What micro- and macro-level impacts has the 1989 fall of the
Berlin Wall had on national, regional, and local economies?

· What were the immediate and sustained impacts of the collapse of
the Wall on the Third World (Africa, Latin America and Asia)?

· How have African, Asian, and American hemispheric (including
South American, Central American, Caribbean, and Canadian) artists,
writers, film directors, musicians, and performers reflected, contested,
engaged, and resisted these global shifts in their arts?

Altered Relations between the United States and the European Union


· How do “cold warrior” legacies shape current US-European

· What are the consequences of 9/11 and the subsequent “global war
on terror”?

· And again, what role have artists, writers, directors, musicians,
and performers, as well as public humanities scholars, played in defining
and translating post-Cold War legacies and the altered relations between
the US and Europe?


Historical Revenants in the Event of the “Fall”


· What are the cultural, historical, and political significances of
“November 9” as a recurrent anniversary date in Germany history for other
“events,” notably the 1918 abdication of the Kaiser and the subsequent
declaration of the Weimar Republic, and Hitler’s 1923 Beer Hall Putsch, and
the devastating, anti-Semitic destructions of Kristallnacht in 1938?

· How, if at all, has the fall of the Wall impacted the new Europe
and its present-day confrontation with the destructive legacies and
recurrences of anti-Semitism, as well as its grappling with historical
violences, pogroms, and the Holocaust?


By the deadline of January 31, 2009, please send 250 word abstracts,
abbreviated c.v. (or short biographical note) to both Katharina
Gerstenberger ( and to Jana Evans Braziel

 From the Literary Calls for Papers Mailing List
             more information at
Received on Sat Nov 29 2008 - 18:37:26 EST