Postgraduate Forum (PGF) of the German Association for American Studies (DGfA), 4.-6. 2011
From November 4 to November 6 the 2011 Postgraduate Forum (PGF) of the German Association for American Studies (DGfA) was hosted by the Department of English and the International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture (GCSC) at Justus Liebig University Giessen, organized by Andreas Hübner, Ottilie P. Klein and Daniel Holder. The Giessen PGF was kindly supported by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Amerikastudien (DGfA), the Gießener Hochschulgesellschaft, the International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture (GCSC), as well as the Department of English at Justus Liebig University Giessen.
The DGfA’s PGF was initiated more than twenty years ago by early career researchers within the German Association of American Studies, reacting to pressing theoretical developments in (transnational) American Studies, as well as the study of literature and culture more generally during that time. Since then the PGF has been organized annually by different organizational teams at different universities within Germany and has become one – if not the most important – forum for young scholars in the field of American Studies to present and discuss current work-in-progress during their doctoral and post-doctoral qualification phases as well as meet and connect to fellow scholars in the respective field. Before this year’s PGF in Giessen, the conference, for instance, was held in Leipzig, Munich and Münster.
Up to sixty young German as well as international researchers pursuing their doctorate and post-doctorate degrees in American Studies met in Giessen to discuss current work-in-progress and participate in eight thematic panels from fields as interdisciplinary as American culture, literature, history, and politics.
The papers of the eight thematic panels concentrated on a broad variety of topics, such as for instance on “Musical Training and Early Jazz in New Orleans’ Black Institutions of Education” (Will Buckingham; New Orleans, LA), “Picturing Poverty in the 1960s: The War on Poverty” (Katharina Fackler, Regensburg), or “Event(u)al Disruptions: Alain Badiou and Critical Theory” (Sebastian Huber, Munich). The papers offered different theoretical and methodological, as well as decisively interdisciplinary approaches to U.S. and transnational American cultural production in fields such as literature and literary history, art history, film and new media or cultural history, thus presenting a wide-range of current doctoral and post-doctoral work in contemporary American Studies.
As a follow-up to this conference, the PGF will organize the Young Scholars Forum as well as the PGF-Workshop at the DGfA’s annual convention in 2012. Next year’s PGF will be hosted at the University of Marburg.
A detailed conference report will shortly be published @ KULT_online.
Text: Daniel A. Holder
Fotos: Christoforos Mechanezidis