GDGSA Conference

German and Dutch Graduate Student Association Conference


The 19th Annual Conference of the German and Dutch Graduate Student Association

at the University of Wisconsin–Madison


On the Move:

Rethinking Migration in German- and Dutch-Speaking Contexts


November 3­–4, 2017

Keynote Speaker: Julie K. Allen, Brigham Young University


Call for Papers


The UN’s International Organization for Migration defines migration as: “The movement of a person or a group of persons, either across an international border, or within a State” ( The massive migration in the EU in the last two years has not only attracted the world’s attention, but also polarized society around this topic. This has not only led populist parties to rise and gain traction in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, but also liberal movements to face the limits of integration, with, for instance, Angela Merkel declaring multiculturalism a failed enterprise.

However, migration is conceived too narrowly as only the physical movement of people, since it is clear that this “group of persons” brings with it distinct dialects, religious and political ideas, customs, stories, and cultural artifacts. We are seeking papers that explore and complicate migration in its physical sense as well as in a more metaphorical understanding throughout history in German- and Dutch-speaking areas as places of origin or arrival. Contributions from diverse fields are welcome and may, but are not required to, touch on the following questions and keywords:


Cultural Studies and Literature

  • How does public discourse define and shape our representations of migrants, and what are the consequences of these processes?
  • How and why do not only humans, but also ideas, sexuality, books, narratives, linguistic features, etc. cross borders? What are these borders and who defines, creates, or shapes them?
  • How can we move beyond discussions of migrants which revolve around the binary idea that migrants either relinquish or retain traits and practices from their home culture?
  • What can academics—or even non-academics—do to spread empirical knowledge over “alternative” facts regarding migration and its consequences?


Linguistics and SLA:

  • How do migrations—of humans or of ideas—in and from German- and Dutch- speaking areas impel language change?
  • What is the relationship between the heritage and minority languages with respect to the dominant language? What identities emerge out of multilingualism?
  • How can German and Dutch language instruction be more inclusive toward students with a minority language background?
  • What is the current state of German and Dutch language instruction in the German- and Dutch-speaking world with the influx of migrants, refugees, or individuals coming from former colonies?


Abstracts for single- or multi-authored 20-minute presentations should be no more than 300 words and are due by June 15, 2017. Submissions in English and German are welcome. Abstracts should not include the presenter’s name. Please include the following as a separate attachment: name, title of paper, department and university affiliation, and email address. Please submit your abstracts to Brandy E. Wilcox at For further details on the conference, keynote speaker, and accommodations (including the option to stay with UW-Madison students), please see our conference website: