Working across and beyond Academic Communities
Edited by: Simone Pfleger (University of Alberta) and Carrie Smith (University of Alberta)
In January 2019, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported on the radical decline in language programs across colleges and universities in the United States since 2013; such trends have been charted across the anglophone world. Beginning from the thought experiment that maybe our discipline should “dismantle itself altogether” despite warnings to the contrary (Norbert 13), the proposed volume uses “German Studies” as a litmus test for what might be possible when the value and conduct of research is located already from the outset beyond disciplinary specificities and histories. Thus “German Studies”—unmoored from the confines of disciplines and departments proper and considered instead through feminist, queer, anti-racist, and decolonial academic practices and commitments—becomes a knot tying together scholars interested in the unsettling of disciplinary-based academic structures, including also work with industries, community-based work, research-creation, and scholar-activism.
We are seeking theoretical essays (6,000–6,500 words in length) that are future-oriented and address such topics as (though not limited to):
- rethinking of key concepts such as disciplinarity, interdisciplinarity, and transdisciplinarity
- reshaping of disciplines and disciplinarity as political projects
- valuing disciplinary legacies while also accessing feminist, queer, antiracist, decolonial agendas
- cooption mechanisms that target concepts such as intersectionality and decolonization
- dialogues with feminist, gender, queer, critical race, or ethnic studies as discipline redefining two-way streets
- alternatives to current institutional structures, assessment categories for funding, and performance evaluation to push back against normative progress narratives (success, career goals, and employment)
- the emergence of epistemological and ontological questions/concepts when (inter)national communities and/or local contexts are taken into account
- new modes of working for language and area studies in a neoliberal, capitalist, settler-colonial context, particularly when digital worlds open up avenues while at the same time policing and reaffirming geopolitical and national boundaries more tightly than ever before
- academic and activist work in conversation with industry, government, and NGOs
- different ways of creating impact and reaching audiences through such avenues as research creation and maker cultures
- forging of alliances and coalitional partners locally and (inter)nationally
- professional bodies and their potential facilitation of multi-institutional transformation
We are also seeking personal stories and diagnostic testimonies (around 2,000 words in length) that assess the current state of the academy from different positionalities.
Please send an abstract (200 words) and a brief bio (no more than 150 words) for either format to Simone Pfleger (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Carrie Smith (email@example.com) by August 15, 2019. Full contributions will be due January 15, 2020.