UA Hosts 16th Annual Southeastern German Studies Conference

Attendees at the Southeastern German Studies Conference standing on the steps of Gorgas Library.

On February 22-23, The University of Alabama and the Department of History hosted the 16th Annual Southeastern German Studies Conference.

The event, held in cooperation with UAB and UAH, brought together scholars and students in all disciplines who share interest in the language, literature, history, and culture of the German-speaking lands. Attendees hailed not only from the Southeast but from Georgetown, Stanford, and Illinois in the US, and Mexico and the United Kingdom internationally.

The workshop focused on three large themes: “Periodization and its (Dis)contents,” “Catastrophe and its Aftermath in German History and Culture,” and “Space and Direction in German Studies.” Each panel hosted lengthy, open discussions of nearly thirty pre-circulated position papers.

The event also included a plenary address by Dr. Kiera Thurman, Associate Professor of History, German Studies, and Musicology at the University of Michigan. Dr. Thurman spoke on “Singing Like Germans: Black Musicians in the Land of Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms,” exploring the central themes of her award-winning book.

Dr. Daniel Riches, who led the team in charge of the local planning efforts, praised its diversity and vibrant exchange of ideas, noting that the conference’s unique format, was “an ideal set-up to encourage productive interaction between scholars of various disciplines and ranks.” Dr. Riches also praised Thurman’s public keynote address as “fascinating,” and noted that it “attracted a healthy crowd of faculty and students beyond those attending the conference itself.”

Having hosted the conference in 2023 as well as 2024, Alabama now passes the torch to colleagues at the University of Arkansas, led by Lawrence Hare.

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