Word from the Director

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by Patrizia C. McBride

Welcome to IGCS! Founded in 1992, Cornell’s Institute for German Cultural Studies fosters rigorous interdisciplinary inquiry in the German intellectual tradition and the humanities more generally. Over the years the Institute’s emphasis on the multifaceted tradition of Critical Theory has made it hospitable to continental and social theory in addition to the essential work of the Frankfurt School. I am proud to continue drawing on this vital intellectual tradition as I rely on colleagues at Cornell and beyond to advance the mandate of IGCS.

I am delighted to draw your attention to the exciting events scheduled for Fall 2019. In September 2019 the Institute will host a two-day international conference, “Re-Imagining the Discipline: German Studies, the Humanities, and the University,” which I am co-organizing with Paul Fleming (Professor of German and Comparative Literature and Taylor Family Director of Cornell’s Society for the Humanities). The conference aims to take stock of contemporary German Studies as a multi-disciplinary and transnational field of investigation, while also using it as a lens for appraising the state of the humanities in the current landscape of higher-education. At stake are the challenges and opportunities created by profound changes in the structure and funding of the university; the technological and institutional developments that have reshaped the ways we teach and conduct research; the diversification and stratification of our student population; and the shrinking support for public education displayed by politicians and the public at large. The conference will bring together scholars affiliated with a wide range of institutions that are home to German Studies in North America.  We especially look forward to the keynote address by Professor Sara Guyer (Director, Center for the Humanities, University of Wisconsin, Madison; President, Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes). Her talk, “The Humanities of Testimony, revisited,” doubles as this year’s “Future of the Humanities Lecture” of Cornell’s Society for the Humanities.

This is just one highlight on the event calendar for this fall. For a complete schedule of our initiatives, including our bi-weekly colloquia and the many events co-sponsored by IGCS, please check our website https://igcs.cornell.edu/. Please contact Keeley Boerman (kse6@cornell.edu) if you would like to receive regular e-mail updates through the IGCS listserv.