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Back to the Future

Tradition and Innovation in German Studies


Edited By Marc Silberman

In the course of the 1970s, interdisciplinary German studies emerged in North America, breaking with what many in the field saw as a suffocating and politically tainted tradition of canon-based philology by broadening both the corpus of texts and the framing concept of culture. In the meantime the innovative impulses that characterized this response to the legacy of Germanistik have themselves become traditions. The essays in this volume critically examine a selection of those past attempts at renewal to gauge where we are now and how we move into the future: exile and forced migration, race and identity, humanism and utopian thought, solidarity and global inequality. A younger generation of scholars demonstrates how reviving and refining the questions of yore leads to new insights into literary and theatrical texts, fundamental philosophical and political ideas, and the structure of memory in ethnographic performance and photography. Looking back into the future is a self-reflexive gesture that asks how tradition inspires innovation, and it displays compelling evidence for the importance of historically informed cultural research in the field of German studies.

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Bibliographic information published by Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data is available on the Internet at

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Names: Wisconsin Workshop (50th : 2017 Madison, Wisconsin) | Silberman, Marc, 1948- editor.

Title: Back to the future : tradition and innovation in German studies / Marc Silberman.

Description: Oxford ; New York : Peter Lang, 2018. | Series: German life and civilization, ISSN 0899-9899 ; v. 68 | Proceedings of the 50th Wisconsin Workshop held at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, September 14-16, 2017. | Includes bibliographical references and index.

Identifiers: LCCN 2018003196 | ISBN 9781788743037 (alk. paper)

Subjects: LCSH: German philology--Study and teaching (Higher)--United States--Congresses.

Classification: LCC PF3068.U6 W58 2018 | DDC 430.71/173--dc23 LC record available at

Cover design by Peter Lang Ltd.

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