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November 21, 2013

CFP: Watersheds: Poetics and Politics of the Danube River

Deadline: March 1, 2014


Watersheds: Poetics and Politics of the Danube River

Marijeta Bozovic and Matthew Miller, editors

The collected volume Watersheds: Poetics and Politics of the Danube River brings together scholars from diverse disciplinary approaches and across regional fields of study. The Danube, Europe’s second largest river, directly connects ten countries; its watershed covers four more. Yet the river, like much of the region it traverses, has attracted surprisingly little scholarly attention, and what exists too often privileges single disciplinary or national perspectives. We instead see the river as both boundary and border, fluidly connecting multiple nations, and cultural and economic spaces, through legal and illegal flow. It intersects civilizations and nature, physical and imaginary spaces and invites an array of critical approaches.

As both a real geographic feature and a guiding metaphor, the Danube river brings together the scholarship of a number of leading and rising scholars across fields and disciplinary divisions. Our book attempts to synthesize a number of regional studies, methodologies and modes into a collective work of truly interdisciplinary research; at the same time, humanities disciplines and the powerful interpretative strategies they offer serve as our primary anchor. The concepts we use to both metaphorize and actualize the Danube form the linkage between these discussions and vital issues in natural and social science disciplines. We hope that this collaboration and the lasting exchanges it will cultivate can serve as a promising model for genuine, creative, and inspiring interdisciplinary academic work.

1. In an age of tenuous unification, we actively seek to culturally remap Europe by means of the river and river imaginary, thus rectifying Europe’s frequent and erroneous omission from conversations about global engagement and innovative explorations of world culture. The Danube river has been claimed successfully only by one empire: Austria-Hungary, the (spectral) multicultural state par excellence. Today, the complicated cultural imaginaries entrained by the river help us to call into question paradigms of nation and nationality in areas fraught by aggressive discourses on identity, language, the link between people and place, and blood purity. When examined together, the multiethnic, multilingual, and historically intertwined relations of the Danube populations present an opportunity to explore this broadly conceived site as an instantiation of the global present.

2. Our book will critically examine the discourse of Central Europe to undermine autochthonic conceptions of culture. It will challenge the imagined divide between the democratic and Western-leaning “center” and “foreign” Bolshevik ideology coming from the Russian East or the Balkan South. The Danube is haunted by historical tragedy and memories of genocide; by the legacies of Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman, and Soviet empires; and by cultural (mis)appropriations of classical antiquity. We will explore the cultural and economic flows moving downriver and upstream, as well as the mapping of cultural capital through spatial and temporal metaphors: cities such as Vienna, Budapest, and Belgrade serve as regional centers, while margins appear culturally “belated.”

3. Finally, it is the metaphorical and real power of the Danube as artery, lifeline, and locus for circulation and communication that we hope to exploit intellectually and critically as we search for a way to flow between fields and methodologies: from Germanic to Slavic, from the interventions of experimental art to environmental studies of changing physical spaces littered with actual and figurative historical debris. To facilitate cross-disciplinary communication, many of our authors embrace broadly conceived bridge concepts relevant to multiple methodologies, such as “pollution” and “circulation.”

We invite submissions from scholars of literature, cinema, music, architecture and other culture, historians, anthropologists, sociologists, geographers, and others interested in exploring the Danube and its peoples. To complement the work already gathered, we particularly encourage submissions pertaining to the German, Slovakian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Ukrainian river and to its delta.

Submissions due by
March 1, 2014.

Please send your work to marijeta.bozovic@yale.edu and mdmiller1@colgate.edu

Posted by jmkirsch at November 21, 2013 03:12 PM