BUGSC 2013:
Progress and Risk —
Fortschritt und Risiko in German Studies


Keynote Speaker, The Larry Wells Memorial Lecture, and Workshop Leader:
Imke Meyer, Bryn Mawr College

Preliminary Program

Participants and Papers

How do we understand progress in German Studies? The everyday work of German Studies departments usually has little to do with thinking about “progress” and more with the need to ensure the viability and continued existence of the programs themselves. Progress for university administrations usually means numbers and metrics: Enrollments, faculty lines, fundraising efforts, publication lists – the more, the better. But what should our own hopes be for our field? Can we hope for more, for something better, for growth in German Studies that is not only quantitative?

The field of German Studies has come a long way in past decades. Language teaching emancipated itself from literary studies and found its own methodologies and practices. “Landeskunde” became an area of inquiry. Interdisciplinarity became central to an understanding of the field. Work in German Studies influenced and brought about a paradigm shift in Cultural Studies. What we call the “Digital Humanities” was being explored and implemented in the teaching and research of German Studies practitioners well before we knew what to call it. At the same time, new perspectives have opened on what kinds of literary work we want to teach, on our interpretive approaches and teaching strategies. These developments have enriched the field and added to its complexity, but they have also demanded that approaches to our objects of study and to our methodologies provide easy and instantaneous possibilities for appropriation and comprehension, in short, for meaning.

Hans-Ulrich Gumbrecht has characterized the task of the humanities today as “riskantes Denken,”  risky thinking, as the audacity to challenge societies beyond ideologies: BUGSC 2013 seeks to address risk and progress in German Studies and to analyze the outcomes of the trends and the real changes that have occurred in the field. We want to investigate both the “blühende Landschaften” that have allowed us to thrive and those dead-end streets that we have all been down. Responses to these ideas will provide an opportunity to consider our current situation and our future prospects in German Studies.

The broad and particular questions we seek to explore in the 2013 Binghamton University German Studies Colloquium are many. They include topic areas like the following:


Location: Binghamton University is located just outside the city of Binghamton in Vestal, New York along NY route 434 (the Vestal Parkway). The Greater Binghamton Airport is a short drive or taxi ride to/from campus. Both Greyhound and Shortline offer frequent bus service to downtown Binghamton from New York City and other points. The bus trip from New York City takes approximately 3 ½-4 hours (as does the drive). Taxis from the bus station to the Colloquium hotel and the campus are readily available at the bus station. For those travelling to New York City on Saturday after the workshop, the 4:40 p.m. Greyhound Bus or the 4:10 p.m. Shortline Bus are the best options.

The 2013 Colloquium will take place in the conference space “ES 2008” in the new Engineering and Sciences Building, which is part of our growing University’s Innovative Technologies Complex at 85 Murray Hill Road.

Drive or walk: How to get to BUGSC

We will organize car pools and shuttles from the Quality Inn. We will also be in touch with information on parking for those who want to drive.

Accommodations: We have reserved a limited number of rooms for Colloquium participants at the Quality Inn and Suites, located on the Vestal Parkway directly across from the Binghamton University campus at Bunn Hill Road.
The Colloquium room rate is $79.95/night (single or double; mention the “Department of German and Russian Studies” when booking) and is available on Thursday, April 18, Friday, April 19 and Saturday, April 20, 2013 (call 607-729-6371 or 877-424-6423). The block of rooms for the Colloquium will be held until April 8, 2013.

Registration: The registration fee for the 2013 Colloquium is $100 and includes meals and all coffee/tea breaks during the Colloquium and a Friday evening dinner at PS restaurant (cash bar) after the keynote lecture. The Colloquium will end on Saturday afternoon with a workshop led by Imke Meyer. This event is also included in the registration fee. Please send your registration fee of $100. by check made payable to “IFR 900142” to:

Neil Christian Pages
German Studies Colloquium
Department of German and Russian Studies
P.O. Box 6000
Binghamton University SUNY
Binghamton, NY 13902-6000

The deadline for registration is April 1, 2013. Thereafter the registration fee increases to $125.


Information on BUGSC 2012 here