The graduate students in German and Scandinavian Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass Amherst) are hosting an interdisciplinary graduate conference on February 2012 entitled “Sensing Senses:  Interdisciplinary Studies in Sensory Perception.” The conference will be an opportunity for graduate students in diverse disciplines from around the world to present engaging and innovative research and to meet their future colleagues in the fields of German Studies and Scandinavian Studies.

The 2012 conference follows four successful graduate student conferences hosted by the University of Massachusetts Amherst: “Falling Walls, Changing Borders in German and Scandinavian Cultures” held in February 2010; “MYTH: A Graduate Conference in German & Scandinavian Studies,” held in February 2008; “Experimentations: German & Scandinavian Studies,” held in February 2006; and “(Re)Visions: New Ideas in German and European Studies,” held in March 2004.  “(Re)Visions” was an interdisciplinary conference that established connections between students working in diverse fields such as literary criticism, film criticism, history, sociology, and women’s studies, while “Experimentations” pushed the envelope further by incorporating the two intersecting fields of German Studies and Scandinavian Studies. The 2008 “MYTH” conference continued the trend of creating a forum for an international and interdisciplinary group of upcoming scholars to present their work and exchange ideas. Finally, the 2010 “Falling Walls, Changing Borders” conference coincided with the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, but successfully expanded on the notion of walls and borders—both real and abstract—through the scholarship of an international group of graduate students whose topics ranged from medieval to contemporary topics in both German and Scandinavian cultures.

The 2012 conference will use the idea of “sensing senses” as a starting point for a dialogue about perception, meaning and experience. We anticipate papers from a diverse group of scholars specializing in literature, film, history, political science, sociology and women’s studies, among other disciplines, which will discuss the act of sensing and the apparatuses of the senses as discursive constructs in their historical, material, and cultural incarnations throughout German and Scandinavian history.

“Sensing Senses” will be a two-day conference (Saturday-Sunday, 17-19 February 2012) with a public reception and artistic performance on Friday evening. In addition to the performance, the conference will consist of two days of graduate student papers, a keynote address and a roundtable discussion. Faculty speakers, discussants, and commentators will come from the distinguished faculty of the German and Scandinavian Studies program at UMass Amherst and affiliated faculty.



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