Roundtable on “Students as Agents: Reenvisioning BIPOC German Studies at Minority Serving Institutions”

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Maria Grewe, Northeast Modern Languages Association Annual Convention
contact email: 

Roundtable: Students as Agents: Reenvisioning BIPOC German Studies at Minority Serving Institutions

What does it mean to teach German studies at Minority Serving Institutions (such as HBCUs, HSIs, TCUs, AAPISIs) in keeping with the unique missions and programming of these institutions of higher education? German studies, when presented and practiced as unmarked whiteness in the cannon, curricula, and programs, and where diversity is peripheral, reproduces existing power structures and excludes the voices and experiences of our students. This lack of representation and identification leads to underrepresentation of Students of Color in German studies.

Drawing on the rich work of scholars and activists to decolonize and diversify German studies, this roundtable seeks to further develop ways to not only facilitate an increased interest in German studies at MSIs, but to mobilize BIPOC students as agents in investigating and critically reflecting on their own positionalities as well as in dismantling white, colonial and ethnonationalist power structures in a transnational context.

We invite scholars, teachers, and activists across disciplines to share, examine, and critique ways in which we radically re-imagine BIPOC German studies in classrooms that serve primarily BIPOC students. Topics could include (but are not limited to):

  • Who are our students, and what communities of students do our institutions serve?
  • How do the voices and experiences of our students shape our curriculum design, pedagogy, and praxis so they are relevant to and transformational for our students?
  • How can the curriculum encourage our students to draw generative connections to and engage in critical inquiry and activism domestically and transnationally?
  • What challenges are unique to the English- and German-language classrooms?
  • How do our own positionalities, perhaps as queer scholars and activists of color, function as signifiers for our students as we explore the lived experiences and cultural representations of being “other”?
  • How do we support faculty, including contingent faculty, at MSIs in sharing and developing BIPOC German studies materials and programming that center student voices and experiences, and that mobilize students to take an active role in this investigation?

Please submit abstracts of up to 300 words by September 30, 2021 through the NeMLA portal:

For questions, please contact the roundtable organizer, Maria S. Grewe (