Third Annual West Coast Germanists' Workshop: Facts, Fakes, and Representations

Feb 05, 2021 - Feb 06, 2021

Workshop at University of California, Berkeley | Conveners: Sheer Ganor (Pacific Regional Office of the German Historical Institute Washington), Isabel Richter (UC Berkeley)

Call for Papers

The Pacific Regional Office of the German Historical Institute is inviting proposals for papers to be presented at the third West Coast Germanists’ Workshop to take place at the University of California, Berkeley on April 24 & 25, 2020. The workshop seeks to provide a forum for discussing key conceptual, methodological and historiographic issues in the research of German history and culture in different time periods. We invite proposals from graduate students, postdocs and junior faculty in the Western United States and Western Provinces of Canada.

This year’s theme, “Facts, Fakes and Representations,” invites reflection on current debates surrounding the causes and effects of, as well as the responses to the notions of “fake news,” “post truths” and “deep fakes.” Papers may address questions including but not limited to:

  •  How do these tendencies inspire and challenge us in our work as scholars involved in the study of German history, German Studies or German-speaking societies?
  • How have struggles over the power to determine facts from falsehoods shaped political culture?The processes by which knowledge and narrative are constructed as truth.
  • The different roles played by various historical agents in cementing or dismantling public perception of truths and fictions. 
  • Literature, art and counterculture as forces that subvert hegemonic structures of knowledge and representations.
  • The role of technological developments in the circulation of ideas and formation of representations.
  • What distinguishes agenda from propaganda?
  • How is public trust created or shattered?
  • Pedagogy in a post-truth world: How can teachers work with students to effectively foster critical thought and informed engagement? Does scholars in the fields of German history or German Studies have a unique role in creating a pedagogy that tackles these challenges?

We ask participants to reflect on these and other questions from the perspective of their own research. In other words, rather than discussing these issues in general terms, we wish to explore how these topics are reflected in specific research agendas in various scholarly fields, as well as how they shape the framing and the presentation of projects and methodological choices that we all make. We aim to discuss these questions in a cross-disciplinary manner and welcome proposals in the fields of German history, philosophy, political science, sociology, literature, media studies, religious studies, music and others.

Interested participants should use our online portal to pre-register for the workshop by December 20, 2019. Individuals interested in presenting a paper should also include a one-paragraph proposal (up to 350 words) and a brief CV. Please contact Heike Friedman ( if you have problems with submitting your information online. For further information on the conference please contact Isabel Richter ( or Sheer Ganor ( Papers will be pre-circulated in advance of the meeting. Thanks to the support of the German Historical Institute and the Townsend Center for the Humanities at UC Berkeley, we will be able to provide travel and accommodation funding for paper presenters.