German Studies Association of Ireland Annual Conference

15 Nov 2017

This year's GSAI Annual Conference will take place at University College Cork, Ireland on 24th and 25th November 2017. The papers will focus on the topic "Self-reflection". See details in our Programme.

Self-reflection is inherent to the pursuance of a more profound understanding of ourselves as human beings and finds expression in all manner of research areas within the discipline of German Studies, from literary studies to Applied Linguistics.

We can see the development of German-language literary and philosophical culture as a variety of responses to modern man’s confrontation with himself, from Lessing, Goethe, Kant and Schiller, through Romanticism, German Idealism, and Post-Romanticism, to Psychoanalysis, Existential Philosophy and Post-Structuralism. The role of self-reflection is also evident in the aesthetic sphere where postmodernist fiction and digital media in particular exploit a creative spectrum of metafictional, metanarrative and intertextual elements to explore the potentials and limits of language, art and storytelling. While self-reflexivity has often been interpreted as undermining realistic effects and revealing the text’s constructed nature, it can also aim at opposite effects, stressing the authenticity of the world portrayed and creating a lifelike illusion. These types of processes can also be observed in film which has been self-reflexively occupied with its own history and technology since its early beginnings, often incorporating references to other films and genres, and producing an ever increasing number of remakes and adaptations. Film can also be read both as a reflection of and a reflection on the culture of its production which sheds light on unconscious attitudes and society’s concerns.

In the field of intercultural communication, the development of intercultural communicative competences and sensitivities are made possible through engaging with the other in combination with a critical reflection on one’s own culturally bound biases. In language teaching and learning, since the emergence of the concepts of learner autonomy and learner-centred teaching, the learner has been viewed not as a passive object of teaching but as an active agent in language education, capable of reflecting on her own learning through processes such as goal setting, self- and peer-assessment, and self-directed learning. Similarly, educators may reflect on their teaching processes and engage with, for example, participatory action research, with the aim of improving their own practices within educational institutions. Furthermore, when we consider the current global, European and national contexts, the position of German Studies as a discipline within the Irish education system is of prime importance. As academics and educators our contribution to intellectual life in Ireland and beyond as well as the maintenance and expansion of our discipline are in need of constant reflection.
In the various fields of enquiry that comprise the discipline of German Studies in Ireland, a thread of self-reflection runs throughout. The annual GSAI conference 2017 hopes to bring together Germanists to exchange ideas on the objectives, processes, expression and outcomes of self-reflection across these sub-disciplinary boundaries to create a stimulating and fruitful forum for discussion.

Areas of interest for proposals include, but are not limited to topics of self-reflection in:
 Literature and literary theory
 Film and media studies
 Identity, alterity and migration
 Intercultural communication
 The teaching and learning of language, literature and culture
 The discipline of German Studies in Ireland

Department of German


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