The Neighbor (March 11-13, 2011; University of California, Berkeley)

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Department of German, University of California at Berkeley
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Call for Papers


Interdisciplinary German Studies Conference
University of California, Berkeley
March 11-13, 2011

Keynote Speaker: Kenneth Reinhard
Departments of English and Comparative Literature
Director, Program in Experimental Critical Theory
University of California, Los Angeles

The image of "the neighbor" evokes both nearness and distance, familiarity and foreignness, belonging and isolation. Pregnant with implications for kinship, community, and affiliation particular to the
German-speaking world, the concept of "the neighbor" has engendered numerous meditations on hospitality and love by thinkers from Luther and Kant to Freud, Schmitt, and Rosenzweig. At the same time, the presence of neighbors has often served as the basis for ostracism and
exclusion, as an incitement to war, or as fuel for fantasies about local and global neighborhoods. How do we identify a "neighbor" or "neighborhood" in our current age of increased migration and mobility?
How might an examination of these themes enrich our understanding of not only genocide and violence but also exchange, aid, and co-operation?

For the conference, we are encouraging a comparative approach by seeking perspectives on "neighbors" and "neighborhoods" from scholars working in literature, history, linguistics, film, media studies, anthropology, and the social sciences. Possible topics include but are not limited to:

• The Notion of Neighbors Inside and Outside the European Union
• Reactions in Theology, Philosophy, or Ethics to the Imperative "Love
Your Neighbor"
• The Role of the Neighbor in Identity Formation and Identity Politics
• The Status of Friends, Enemies, and Neighbors in Geographical and
Territorial Disputes
• Rivalries and Diplomacy between Neighbors on a Local, Regional, or
National Scale
• The Construction of Dialects vis-à-vis Neighbors
• Linguistic Interaction between Neighboring Regions
• Community, Isolation, or Gentrification in Urban Neighborhoods
• The Kiez in Berlin, Grätzl in Vienna, or Veedel in Cologne
• Images of Neighborhoods in Suburban and Rural Settings
• The Subjection of Neighbors to Suspicion and Surveillance
• Cohabitation, Intimacy and Proximity in Collective Memory
• The Status of the Neighbor Before and After die Wende
• Media and Neighbors in the Global Village

Please send a 250-word abstract in English or German with a separate
cover sheet indicating the proposed title, author's name, affiliation,
and e-mail address to Yael Almog and Erik Born at