About cacostabileheming

I'm a professor of German at the University of North Texas

Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie


Photo by Robert Katzki on Unsplash

On January 11, 2018, the Elbphilharmonie (Elbe Philharmonic Hall), the concert hall located in the HafenCity area of Hamburg, Germany, celebrated its one year anniversary. Though now widely touted for its architectural beauty and near perfect acoustics, the hall also garnered considerable criticism. The cornerstone was laid in 2007, with an anticipated completion date of 2010. It took seven years longer to build than planned, and the price tag exploded from an estimated 77 million Euros to 789 million Euros.


By –Nightflyer (talk) 22:14, 29 August 2016 (UTC) [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons

The concert hall’s popularity has boosted tourist interest in Hamburg, and according to Hamburg Tourismus GmbH, some 6.8 million visitors visited Hamburg in 2017. Indeed, much of this tourist traffic is attributed to the opening of the new philharmonic hall, which attracted world wide attention.



Call for Papers 2019 MLA

The Modern Language Association’s Forum on 20th- and 21st-century German literature is proposing a series of panels for the 2019 conference in Chicago that may be of interest to the readers of this blog. The series is entitled “Monuments and Monumentality. Museums, Media, Memory”.


In 2019, the Humboldt Forum is slated to open as a multiplex museum in the city castle, reconstructed as a monumental marker at the heart of Berlin. By virtue of its scale, this project joins a contested history of museums, monuments and counter-monuments, through which Germany has negotiated questions of patrimony from the nineteenth century to the twenty-first. This series of panels interrogates forms of monumentality across the media of film, literature, museums, and architecture, and asks how these have shaped the discourse on memory in turn.

How have curators, film and visual artists, writers, and architects in German-speaking Europe engaged with, countered, or reinforced monuments, museums, and their histories? How do particular media and genres (re)mediate monuments? How does monumentality negotiate temporal and spatial boundaries? How do the histories of colonialism, fascism, and war challenge contemporary notions of monumentality?

Papers are invited from a variety of disciplinary perspectives: literature, film and media studies, museum studies, art and architecture.

The MLA Forum “Screen Arts and Culture” is co-sponsoring one of the panels of this series.

Please send your abstract of 200 to 300 words to Kerstin Barndt (barndt@umich.edu) on or before March 15, 2018. The MLA will be held in Chicago from January 3-6, 2019.

CFP Workshop: Cultural Landscapes in Central and Eastern Europe after World War II and the Collapse of Communism

Call for Proposals for the Workshop: Cultural Landscapes in Central and Eastern Europe after World War II and the Collapse of Communism

Wrocław, Poland, 19-21 September 2018

The end of World War II saw large parts of Central European countries in ruin. The borders were changed after the Potsdam conference, leading to mass deportations and resettlement of millions of people. Vast areas of multi-ethnic borderlands that had been typical of the pre-World War II Eastern and Central Europe turned in most cases into monoethnic states. Cultural and national diversity, which had been the hallmark of what Hanna Arendt called “the belt of mixed populations”, albeit not without strife or conflict, virtually disappeared in most communist states, with the exception of Romania and the Yugoslavian federation. Landscape, always a palimpsest of human and natural layering in time, held traces of that erased presence of people exterminated during the war or evicted afterwards. The communist states began also the push toward modernization and collectivization, profoundly changing rural and urban landscapes.  At the same time landscape became a crucial ideological arena for the communist state on which the successful story of human command of nature for the common good of the people was to be played out.

As witness and active agent of key historical events such as uprisings, wars, burials and revivals, landscape was the repository of national history and memory, contributing an essential scenery for commemoration practices. Irreversible damage to natural resources done by heavy industry was covered up with the politics of conservationism and ecological responsibility.

After the breakthrough of 1989, landscape was fundamentally transformed again by sweeping changes that affected the economy and created hybrid combinations of industrial and post-industrial urban space. Moreover, government was decentralized and the new freedom was used to construct new collective identities (a turn to regional forms of belonging, transborder solidarities and common histories and, at the same time, a weakening of centralised national affiliations). Likewise, privatization of space commodified landscape, challenging the sense of commonality in the experience of public space, while, on the other hand, civic thinking about ecology and environmental openness gained ground.

We would like to invite scholars in the field of humanities and social sciences who will share their perspectives on the reordering of physical and social space in Central Europe after World War II and after the collapse of communism.

The following points, among others, could provide prompts for our discussions:

  • Landscapes of genocide, border shifts, forced removals and resettlements – spectral landscapes;
  • Rebuilding cityscapes during socialism and after;
  • Environmentalism, nature conservation, exploitation of the natural environment;
  • Heritage, memory, and commemoration: landscape and cultural politics;
  • The solace of cultivated and wild nature: parks, cemeteries, gardens, nature reserves;
  • Commodification, tourism and landscape;
  • (Post)industrial, technical and military landscapes – picking mushrooms after Chernobyl;
  • Struggles over nature: reclaiming wilderness, nature reserves, environmentalism, development, farming;
  • Reclaiming locality after 1989 – environment, habitat, new regionalism;
  • Representing and imagining landscape in literature and visual arts

The conference will be held in Wrocław, Poland, 19-21 September 2018. It is a joint venture between the European Academy of Science / Academia Europaea (Knowledge Hub, Wrocław) and the Faculty of Philology of the University of Wrocław. A selection of papers will be published. The conference is part of a series of symposia, which bring together established scholars with early career researchers, particularly from East Central Europe.

Invited speakers

Jennifer Croft (freelance translator)

Mariusz Czepczyński (Gdańsk University)

Tassilo Herrschel (University of Westminster, London)

Kristin Kopp (University of Missouri)

Roma Sendyka (Jagiellonian University, Kraków)

Gregor Thum (University of Pittsburgh)

Frank Uekotter (University of Birmingham)

Craig Young (Manchester Metropolitan University)

Tomasz Zarycki (University of Warsaw)

APPLICATION: The registration is available at: www.acadeuro.wroclaw.pl. Submit a 300-word proposal, a curriculum vitae with a list of publications by 28 February, 2018. All applicants will be notified about the selection of participants before 30 April, 2018.

REQUIREMENTS: Presenters are required to submit a 3,000-5,000 word description or excerpt (i.e., chapter, article, etc.) to be circulated among participants by 15 August, 2018. All workshop participants are asked to read these submissions prior to the workshop. The paper should be an unpublished one. Presenters who do not meet the submission deadline will not be able to present their work.


FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS: The organizers will cover the conference fee and the costs of accommodation (up to 4 nights), travel (up to a certain maximum: Western Europe – up to 100 EUR; Central and Eastern Europe – up to 150 EUR) and insurance.

Organising Committee

Stanley Bill (University of Cambridge)

Hana Cervinkova (University of Lower Silesia, Wrocław, Poland

Pieter Emmer (History, Leiden & Academia Europaea)

Siegfried Huigen (Dutch and South African Studies, Wrocław & Academia Europaea)

Dorota Kołodziejczyk (Postcolonial Studies Centre, Wrocław)

Katarzyna Majkowska (Academia Europaea)

Tomasz Zarycki (Sociology, Warsaw)

All correspondence, including submission of proposals and final papers, must be addressed to: Katarzyna Majkowska  (majkowska@acadeuro.wroclaw.pl) or via www.acadeuro.wroclaw.pl

CFP: European Association of Urban History (Rome 2018)

Papers are invited for the session “Urban Gardening: a Historical Perspective, c. 1700 – 2000” of the European Association of Urban History’s conference, to be held in Rome between 29 August and 1 September 2018.

Recent interdisciplinary historical work on green spaces and food production in a number of different cities has shown that this is a rich and important area worthy of further investigation, not least because of the growing public and academic interest in urban gardening in the modern metropolis and the economically less developed societies of Europe. Today’s economically and culturally-driven urban horticulture has strong historical roots, as in the early modern kitchen gardens, 19th century market gardens of Paris, the vineyards of Vienna and the German Schrebergarten, for example.
This session will seek to compare developments in different kinds of European urban gardens and productive landscapes from the 18th century onwards and to identify ways in which they represent examples of the adaptation and resilience of individuals, associations, communities and municipalities to times of rapid urban expansion and population growth, social and economic change, crisis and hardship and the wartime disruption of food supplies, and concerns about health and food adulteration. To what extent was support for commercial and local enterprises, allotments and public and private gardens an effective strategy for increasing the resilience of urban communities to economic hardship and resource constraints, a means of guaranteeing food security and improving the general health of the population? What role did gardening in its various forms play in shaping and revitalizing urban landscapes and economies and maintaining urban-rural connections? Were there transnational influences at play? To what extent were present-day concerns about physical and mental health, the growth of leisure and tourism, sustainability, urban decay and expansion, and fears about the resilience of individuals and communities in the face of social and economic change and environmental and ecological crises foreshadowed in earlier developments?

Coordinators: Ivaylo Nachev (ivailon@abv.bg), Jill Steward (jill.steward8@gmail.com)

Please submit your paper proposal online to the EAUH2018 website: https://eauh2018.ccmgs.it/users/  

Deadline to submit an abstract is: 31 October, 2017.

Notification of paper acceptance: 1 December, 2017

Session webpage: https://eauh2018.ccmgs.it/users/index.php?pagename=cms&name=sessiontrack…

Historical Archive for Tourism

The Center for Metropolitan Studies at the Technical University in Berlin houses a unique archive on tourism. The Historisches Archiv zum Tourismus is dedicated to collecting historical materials related to travel and tourism for the purpose of promoting interdisciplinary research. It is the world’s largest archival collection of this type. Though the primary focus is on 19th- and 20th-century materials on tourism in middle Europe, there is also information on other periods and geographical areas.

Interested scholars should inquire about using the collection via e-mail and additional information can be found at the archive’s website: http://hist-soz.de/hat/archivtxt-E.html

Upcoming Conference

A conference on tourism and cities will take place in Kitzbuhl, Austria in September. For details on “Fernweh und Stadt.Tourismus als städtisches Phänomen,” visit the following website: http://www.stadtgeschichtsforschung.at/


Fernweh und Stadt. Tourismus als städtisches Phänomen

Kitzbühel, 27.–29. September 2017

Organisation: Ferdinand Opll/Martin Scheutz/Wido Sieberer

Tagungsräumlichkeiten: Rathaus der Stadt Kitzbühel / Saal „Hahnenkamm“ (3. Obergeschoß, Lift vorhanden), Hinterstadt 20, 6370 Kitzbühel

27. September 2017
Begrüßung durch die Tagungsleitung und den Österreichischen Arbeitskreis für Stadtgeschichtsforschung

Tourismusgeschichte. Aufrisse eines Forschungsfeldes
Hasso Spode, Berlin

Sektion 1: Vorformen der Tourismus
Vorsitzender: Andreas Weigl, Wien
Reiseziel Jerusalem. Pilgerfahrt und Tourismus im späten Mittelalter
Folker Reichert, Stuttgart
Kavalierstouren – Die Grand Tour des frühneuzeitlichen Adels
Katrin Keller, Wien
Sommerfrische – Entstehung eines bürgerlichen Rituals als Sehnsucht nach antiurbanen Sinnesreizen
Peter Payer, Wien
11.30–12.00: Gesamtdiskussion der Referate

Mittagspause 12.00–14.00

Sektion 2: Organisationsformen des städtischen Tourismus
Vorsitzender: Ferdinand Opll, Perchtoldsdorf
Der Beginn der organisierten Reise – das Reisebüro als städtische Einrichtung
Martin Scheutz
Urbane Gastronomie als Angebotsfaktor im Tourismus
Andreas Weigl, Wien
Tourismus im Zeichen faschistischer Propaganda
Sascha Howind, Frankfurt/Main
15.30–16.00: Gesamtdiskussion der Referate

Kaffeepause 16.00–16.30

16.30–18.30: Exkursion durch Kitzbühel – Tourismusgeschichte und ihre Realien (Treffpunkt Rathaus Kitzbühel vor dem Saal „Hahnenkamm“)

28. September 2017
Sektion 3: Wissensvermittlung und Werbung für Reiseziele
Vorsitzender: Martin Scheutz, Wien
Im Schatten der Metropole: Salzburg und Graz in Reiseführern des 19. Jahrhunderts
Harald Tersch, Wien
Das Reiseziel auf der Litfass-Säule: Plakate als Werbeträger
Bernhard Denscher, Wien
Reisen im Kopf. Stadtansichten und Panoramen als Medien von Information und Vergnügen
Ferdinand Opll, Perchtoldsdorf
10.30–11.00: Gesamtdiskussion der Referate

Kaffeepause 11.00–11.30

Mittagspause (bis 15.00)

Sektion 4: Maßnahmen zur Attraktivitätssteigerung im Bereich des städtischen Tourismus
Vorsitzender: Nikolaus Reisinger, Graz
Die Festivalstadt
Jan Hein Furnee, Nimwegen
Die Stadt als Schauplatz großer Sportereignisse
Noyan Dinçkal, Siegen
(Selbst-)Bildnisse der Stadt Linz – Ansichtskarten für den Tourismus
Walter Schuster, Linz
16.30–17.00: Gesamtdiskussion der Referate

18.00: Abendvortrag mit Empfang der Stadt
Vorsitzender: Andreas Weigl, Wien
Die politisch-wirtschaftliche Bedeutung des Tourismus für die österreichischen Städte
Thomas Weninger, Wien, Österreichischer Städtebund
Meran und der Tourismus: Chancen und Gefahren durch eine Massenbewegung
Paul Rösch, Meran
mit anschließender Diskussion

29. September 2017

Sektion 5: Tourismus und dessen wirtschaftsgeschichtliche Bedeutung für die Städte
Vorsitzender: Lukas Morscher, Innsbruck
Der Tourismus als wichtiges Element der wirtschaftlichen Bilanz von Städten?
Peter Eigner, Wien
Die Messestadt – die Messe als Tourismusfaktor
Heidrun Homburg, Freiburg/Br.
Natur und Kur – Bad Orb und Bad Homburg und der Frankfurter Tourismus vor dem ersten Weltkrieg/vor 1914
Holger Gräf/Andrea Pühringer, Grünberg
Die Gams und die Stadt in den Alpen – Stadt und Tourismus am Beispiel von Kitzbühel
Wido Sieberer, Kitzbühel
Gesamtdiskussion 11.00–11.30

Kaffeepause 11.30–12.00

12.00–13.00: Schlussdiskussion mit einem Impulsreferat von Dieter Kramer (Wien)

Eine Anmeldung zur Tagung ist nicht erforderlich.

Musings on travel and terrorism

Summer is the time for vacations. For academics, especially those of us in language, cultural and area studies, it’s a time to reconnect with our objects of study. For me, that means Germany, most specifically Berlin. I’ve lived there multiple times since 1990, that tumultuous year when East and West Berlin started relearning how to be one city.

Berlin always feels unfinished, an attribute that even art historian Karl Scheffler noted back in 1910. It’s that edginess, that constant change, the unexpected surprise around the corner. I feel at home in Berlin, which is an odd statement, since every time I visit, I first have to reorient myself, for given its transitional nature, there is always some kind of change since my last visit. Since I spend the majority of my time in the historic center, still being (re)constructed, this is no surprise.

But there are also parts of Berlin that have undergone fewer changes in the last decades. Here I think of the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedaechtniskirche (Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church) and the Breitscheidplatz, the public space that was rocked by terror last December, when a truck plowed into pedestrians enjoying the Christmas market there. How will this space have changed? How are such acts of terrorism changing public spaces in London, Nice, Paris, Brussels…..? And how do the consequences of these acts affect our relationship to these spaces?

For now, I don’t have any answers. Stay tuned, for my next installment in July….from Berlin!

Works cited:

Scheffler, Karl. 1910. Berlin. Ein Stadtschicksal. 2nd ed. Berlin: Erich Reiss Verlag.