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European Arts in National and Ethnic Contexts
Bergen, August 2000


European Arts in National and Ethnic Contexts

Current scholarship focusing on nationalism, ethnicity, post-colonialism
and the construction and re-construction of identities so far has only
begun to investigate artistic participation in community-building.  The
multiple historical and political intersections among the individual and
his or her national, ethnic, and cultural contexts, however, manifest
themselves quite perceivably in the creative output of artists, writers,
musicians, and others.  Of course, critical accounts of the individual
artists' works have explored possible linkages to a political, social, or
cultural agenda.  But how are these agendas generated and carried out and
by whom?  Supposing that artistic production originates from a specific
context, it is not always the artist who promotes this context or who
interprets and imagines its past or future.  Following the breakdown of
the communist states in Eastern Europe in conjunction with increased
demands by the economically advanced nations to clarify the implications
of multi-cultural societies - troubled, even bewildered, at conflicts such
as Yugoslavia - we continue to face repeated inquiries into who we are and
what holds us together or tears us apart. The arts may provide us with
answers to as of yet unasked questions. 

This workshop proposes to place works of art, including architecture, the
visual arts, music, literature, crafts, etc., at the center of their
European national and/or ethnic contexts to explore the collaborative
political, social, or cultural endeavors in which they have engaged or
which they have rejected.  Encouraged are interdisciplinary contributions
that involve political agendas such as right-wing extremism or "racial"
purity and the constructs of homogeneity; subnational minorities and
hybridity; gender; comparative approaches to groups and societies;
theoretical investigations of ideology and art(s). 

Questions to be addressed in this workshop include:  
 How do the arts express and symbolize national and/or ethnic identity,
  cultural affiliation, and territorial propriety?  
 What elements contribute to the emergence of (a) national and/or ethnic
 Are there conflicts and/or commonalities between the nation and/or ethnic
  group as political entities and art as a cultural one?  If so, what are
 What art(s) have certain political and/or ethnic groups identified with
  and why?  
 Ultimately, given globalized economic structures and shifting population
  demographics at the turn of the millenium, what role(s) will the arts play
  in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and democratic Europe? 

Please send proposals (ca. 500 words) to the address below. 
Deadline: December 1, 1999

Anke Finger, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of German and Comparative Literature
Department of Modern and Classical Languages
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 77843
+1-(409) 845-4742
+1-(409) 845-6421 (fax)