Re-Imagining the Nation? Transformations of German Cultural Identity since 1989

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Date: 22 - 24 October

Venue: 22 October - UCD Humanities Institute, Belfield; 23 October - Newman House, St Stephen's Green; 24 October - Goethe Institute, Merrion Square

This conference is a joint initiative by UCD's Schools of Languages & Literatures (Professor Anne Fuchs), Art History & Cultural Policy (Professor Kathleen James-Chakraborty) and Architecture (Professor Hugh Campbell)

The 20th anniversary of the Fall of the Wall in 2009 is a significant historical moment that deserves to be marked by a major conference, debating the continuities and shifts in German cultural identity since 1989 and its effects on Europe. Analyzing German nationhood today as a case study requires an interdicsiplinary approach that brings together architectural and cultural historians, scholars on German films, literature and memory politics, as well as a few practitioners.

While controversies about the legacy of the GDR regularly erupt in the public comain, the capital Berlin and many East German cities, including Dresden and Leipzig, have undergone major programmes of reconstruction that are indicative of a conscious reshaping of German cultural identity. The 'Regierungsviertel' in Berlin with the nearby Holocaust memorial as a landmark demonstrates a cosmopolitan German identity, based on a recognition of the memory of the past.

Althought this architectural reshaping of unified Germany has been carried out with a new confidence, German identity debates remain shadowed by deep-seated rifts between East and West. The country also faces other issues that affect most post-industrialized nations, namely the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic make up of society, the conflicting identity politics associated with these interest groups and the attendant debate on integration. These are the issues that our conference addresses fromn a variety of interlocking perspectives.

For a copy of the full programme in all three venues please click here