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

Apr 07, 2021

Panel 3: Art, Visual Cultures and Truth | 11am – 12:30pm PT | Virtual Workshop | Conveners: Sheer Ganor (Pacific Regional Office of the German Historical Institute Washington), Isabel Richter (UC Berkeley)


Panel III: Art, Visual Cultures and Truth

Moderator: Isabel Richter (University of California, Berkeley)

  • Rebekka Grossmann (Hebrew University Jerusalem): On the Truth of Visual Fictions. Hans Kohn Between Propaganda and Politics
  • Ana Cristina de Souza Pedroso (University of California, Santa Cruz): Avant-Garde Happenings as Truth Happenings: Adorno’s Concept of Enigmaticalness as a Response to Bürger  

Full Program


February 10 | 11am – 1pm PT

Panel I: State Making and Public Perception

Moderator: Sheer Ganor

  • Roii Ball (UCLA): Prussia in the World: Continental Empire-making, Decolonization, and the Long Shadows of Settler Colonialism Inside Europe

  • James McSpadden (University of Nevada, Reno): Enemies in Public, Friends Behind the Scenes: Public Perceptions of Weimar’s Political Culture


March 10 | 11am – 12:30pm PT

Panel II: The Spread of Misinformation

Moderator: Sören Urbansky (Pacific Regional Office of the German Historical Institute Washington)

  • Erin Maynes (Los Angeles County Museum of Art): From Subtext to Text: Anti-Semitism, Money, and the Politics of Inflationary Propaganda after 1923

  • Jeffrey K. Wilson (California State University Sacramento): Delving into the Himmelsbach Affair: Making Sense of a Weimar-Era Scandal


April  7 | 11am – 12:30pm PT

Panel III: Art, Visual Cultures and Truth

Moderator: Isabel Richter (University of California, Berkeley)

  • Rebekka Grossmann (Hebrew University Jerusalem): On the Truth of Visual Fictions. Hans Kohn Between Propaganda and Politics

  • Ana Cristina de Souza Pedroso (University of California, Santa Cruz): Avant-Garde Happenings as Truth Happenings: Adorno’s Concept of Enigmaticalness as a Response to Bürger  


May 5 | 11am – 12:30pm PT

Panel IV: Epistemologies of the Self: The Power of Naming and Claiming

Moderator: Lila Ballint (University of California, Berkeley)

  • Jason Lustig (University of Texas, Austin): Fake News and Fake Jews: Contested Epistemologies of Jewishness

  • Natalie Cincotta (University of Texas, Austin): ‘Darüber spricht man nicht:’ Discussing and Picturing Sexuality in Twen, 1959-1971

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 (friedman@ghi-dc.org) if you have problems with submitting your information online. For further information on the conference please contact Isabel Richter (isabel.richter@berkeley.edu) or Sheer Ganor (sheerganor@berkeley.edu). 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.