On February 23-24, The University of Alabama and the Department of History hosted the 15th annual Southeastern German Studies Conference.
The event, held in cooperation with The University of Alabama at Birmingham, The University of Alabama at Huntsville, and Spring Hill College, brought together scholars and students from across the Southeast in all disciplines who share interest in the language, literature, history, culture, music, film, and political structures of the German-speaking lands.
The workshop focused on three large themes: “The Holy Roman Empire: History and Legacies”; “Visions of the Future in German Culture and History”; and “Germans in the South: Migrations, Science, Manufacturing, and Culture.” At each panel, instead of listening to formal presentations, participants engaged in extended discussion of short, pre-circulated position papers.
The event also included a plenary address by Jonathan Wiesen of The University of Alabama at Birmingham, “US Racial Violence in the Modern German Imaginary,” delivered in the stately environment of Smith Hall’s Alabama Museum of Natural History.
Dr. Dan Riches, who led a team of colleagues in charge of the local planning efforts for the event, praised its diversity and vibrant exchange of ideas. “Our discussions stretched from the medieval period to the present day across the breadth of the history, literature, and culture of German-speaking Europe as well as Germans in the American South,” Riches noted. He also suggested that the great strength of the conference is its unusual form, a “free-flowing discussion” that “pays no heed to distinctions between disciplines and academic rank. Our participants ranged from distinguished senior professors to advanced undergraduates, and all were able to participate on an equal footing.”
Alabama will host the conference again in 2024 as well, so we can look forward to another great exchange of ideas about all things German on our campus!