Panel Series at the 44th German Studies Association Conference
The call of papers from the “War and Violence” network for the forty-fourth German Studies Association Conference to be held in Washington, D.C., from October 1-4, 2020 invites contributions related to German studies and German Central Europe that address the theme “War, Violence and Urban Life.”
Cities, war and violence have a long shared history. In pre-modern times, cities were both the agents and targets of war, and early modern siege warfare transformed the design and space of German cities with their immense walls and bastions, geometric and grid patterns, and parade grounds. The specter of besieged and bombarded cities, destroyed buildings and infrastructure, homeless and desperate residents, and heroic efforts to rebuild urban life reveals aspects of modern warfare. Modern industrial cities provided the material and work force to sustain the violence and destruction of total war, yet these same vulnerable industrial cities emerged as victims of selective destruction in mass bombing raids. Paradoxically, war and its violence also brought new challenges and opportunities to urban social structures and city governance.
The theme War, Violence and Urban Life includes aesthetic representation --film, literature, and visual art--and its practices across history. The network supports a broad understanding of urban life to include infrastructure and architecture, social and political groups, commercial and industrial sectors, civil society, and urban populations. Papers can also explore the consequences of war and violence on urban life from medieval era to recent times.
Possible Approaches to War, Violence and Urban Life:
- Representations of urban wartime destruction or revival in visual culture, literature and museums
- use or manipulation of cities for wartime or post-war propaganda—from Magdeburg 1631 to Berlin 1961
- political, social or economic consequences of war on urban societies and governance
- experiences of military occupation, requisitioning, quartering, or de-housing on urban societies
- wartime population displacement, epidemic disease, or refugees in urban life and spaces
- intersection of war, violence and gender, race or age in urban spaces
- humanitarian critiques of urban warfare as uncivilized and illegitimate