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"Ich will anders sein": Difference in Contemporary Germany
Nottingham, July 2002

Call for papers

'Ich will anders sein'
Difference in Contemporary Germany

A Conference at the Nottingham Trent University

4th - 6th July 2002

Following our successful conference in September 2000 - see the conference report
as published in Deutschland Archiv 1/2001 - which explored areas of intersection
between the arts and other disciplines such as politics and history, the German
section at NTU plans a second multi- and interdisciplinary conference focusing
this time on aspects of difference in contemporary Germany. Contributions are
welcomed from literary and film studies, cultural studies, politics, history,
linguistics or any other relevant discipline.

Starting point

Difference is constructed in the interests of hegemonies: groups or individuals
are marginalized and branded as 'other' in order to curtail their possible
influence. Yet difference can also be a positive marker of identity, with
individuals and groups asserting their separateness in the face of attempts to
eliminate difference. Clearly, norms can both exclude and level: on the one hand,
difference can be imposed; on the other, it can be defended in the face of

Difference is therefore deeply ambivalent. It can be instrument of power. The
ability to establish the normal and the different privileges certain groups over
others. Yet difference can be a means of resisting power, and ensuring the
existence and maintenance of a pluralist society.

Possible areas of investigation

We invite papers which explore aspects of difference, either its 'negative' or
'positive' aspects, or both of these. We particularly welcome papers which set
their exploration within the following framework:

How and in whose interests is difference mobilised?
In which context?
What mechanisms produce the normal, and how do they function?
What is normal?
How and why are norms maintained?
What is the value and function of difference?

Examples of possible fields/topics

Concepts of Germanness and non-Germanness (Leitkultur debate,
The role played within these concepts by views on Volksdeutsche and migrants
	to Germany from Turkey and elsewhere.
The 'marginalization' of the East German experience, East German identity
	and East German interest groups.
More particularly, the deconstruction and stigmatization of anti-fascism in
	a 'west'-dominated united Germany.
The mainstreaming of the Greens; struggle for political acceptance on the
	part of the PDS.
'Normalization' debate in Germany, particularly with regard to the Nazi past.
Regional identities and regional difference.
Linguistic and ethnographic representations of difference.
Mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion enforced by 'canonization' (e.g.
	literary canon).
Recent campaign against 'political literature' (Literaturdebatte).
Normality/alternative lifestyles.
Gender difference.
Concepts of class.
Mainstream/alternative or oppositional film.
Social mechanisms which underpin difference, e.g. citizenship law.

Proposals - in either English or German - should be between 150 and 200 words in
length. Closing date for receipt of proposals is 15th August 2001.

Please send your proposals in the first instance to either Bill Niven or Jim
Jordan at the following address:

Department of Modern Languages
Faculty of Humanities
The Nottingham Trent University
Clifton Campus
Clifton Lane

Alternatively, proposals can be sent by email to: or

Finally, proposals can also be sent by fax to: (0044) (0) 115 848 6668

Please note that publication of papers, or of a selection of these, is planned.

Bill Niven, Jim Jordan, 5th April 2001