CfP: War, Violence, and Urban Life - Panel Series. 44th German Studies Association Conference

Call for papers, deadline 20 January 2020
German Studies Interdisciplinary Network “War and Violence Network”;
Organizers: Katherine Aaslestad, Professor of History, West Virginia University; Kathrin Maurer, Associate Professor of German Studies, University of Southern Denmark
01.10.2020 - 04.10.2020

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

Please note two important GSA rules: All panel participants, including the commentator and moderator, must be registered GSA members by February 10, 2020. No individual at the GSA Conference may give more than one paper/participate in a seminar or participate in more than two separate capacities (see the webpage


Please send 350-500 word abstracts, a brief c.v., and if applicable, AV requests, by Jan. 20, 2020 to both network coordinators Katherine Aaslestad ( and Kathrin Maurer ( who will review paper proposals. All applicants will be informed of the status of their submission by late January. This allows proposals that cannot be included in the network panels to be submitted directly to the GSA by the overall deadline of February 15 2020.