Livetweet: WIGS2011

Ingrid Sharp and I are presented with gorgeous orchids for our work in organising the conference


Phew! I think I’ve pretty much recovered from the annual Women in German Conference, held at Leeds last weekend – but the energy of the conference is still buzzing with me. It was a fantastic success, with nearly sixty female Germanists from Ireland and Great Britain present, as well as two brilliant and opinionated crime writers, Sabine Deitmer and Gitta Kloenne. The feminist fictioneers kept us entertained as well as enraged with hilarious and troubling readings from their novels about prostitution, debates about women’s rights and bumping off unnecessary husbands.

The papers were also wonderful, and the extraordinary turnout meant that we could have themed panels covering topics ranging from mediaeval printing to Muslim feminist hip-hop. Not all that wide a leap, indeed – both are very much about means of circulating, marketing and adapting texts! The conference began and ended up with papers given by postgraduates on the ways that the GDR has been represented in the British media and publishing industry. That was an unintended coincidence, but I think it represents what WiGS does best – promote brilliant young postgraduates and talk about the ways in which German culture matters in Ireland and the UK.

I think I’m particularly exhausted post-conference because I also took on the task of live-tweeting all the way through. The results are below! Another post on the trials and benefits of live-tweeting is to follow, but for now, enjoy WiGS in 140 characters or fewer…

@HelenCFinch Last livetweet of #WIGS11 comes from the pub! Would love to know if anyone followed the feed/hashtag and if so, what you thought…

Sat Nov 12 18:00:24 +0000 2011 @HelenCFinch Naming Wolf ‘the’ German feminist excludes not only socialist & pacifist discourses, but also other German feminist writers, in UK #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 17:09:40 +0000 2011 @HelenCFinch Female Germanists canonise Christa Wolf as their own feminist act of resistance against a sexist canon of #GermanLiterature #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 17:02:55 +0000 2011 @HelenCFinch But since Wolf was published by Virago, that led to her reception as a feminist writer in the UK #WIGS11 #GermanLiterature #womenswriting

Sat Nov 12 16:55:58 +0000 2011 @HelenCFinch Christa Wolf herself has never actually collaborated with feminist activism or discourse, seeing herself as a socialist first #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 16:54:56 @HelenCFinch Links to Nicole Sparwasser’s paper yesterday on representation of the GDR in UK media – universalised peace movement #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 16:50:14 @HelenCFinch #Translation of Wolf’s author function to UK context makes her a universalised feminist, not East German Marxist #WIGS11 #GermanLiterature

Sat Nov 12 16:48:06 @HelenCFinch Finally, Caroline Summers talks on Christa Wolf as ‘An East German Virginia Woolf?’ Wolf interpreted as a feminist in the UK #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 16:46:19 +0000 2011 @HelenCFinch The C19 also sees the feminisation of madness in literature, pace ‘Madwoman in the Attic’ #WIGS11 #GermanLiterature

Sat Nov 12 16:29:38 @HelenCFinch Move from literary romanticism to realism is move from subjective to social account of madness, pace #Foucault #WIGS11 #GermanLiterature

Sat Nov 12 16:27:58 @HelenCFinch Now Dagmar Paulus on ‘Remembering Two Mad Women’ in Stifter and Raabe #GermanLiterature #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 16:26:47 @HelenCFinch ‘Knowing too much’ (prob sexual knowledge) opposes heteronormative will to live, futurist orientation. It corrodes family #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 16:25:12 @HelenCFinch Also, tale undermines C19 prescription that wives should see husband as father, give in entirely to maternal instinct, wish to live #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 16:21:23 @HelenCFinch Eg the child in Ellernklipp is NOT innocent, undermining C19 heteronormative sentimentality. #WIGS11 #GermanLiterature

Sat Nov 12 16:18:08 @HelenCFinch Kling talks about how ‘Ellernklipp’ undermines heteronormative values. Edelman definines ‘queer position’ against reproductivity #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 16:11:45 @HelenCFinch Kling thinks irony is a key queer concept – I think Colm Toibin would agree! #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 16:09:18 +0000 2011 @HelenCFinch Jutta Klingon on ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’ – VERY excited about this one! #WIGS11 #GermanLiterature #queermasculinities

Sat Nov 12 16:08:06 @HelenCFinch Final panel! Somewhat wired but looking forward to ‘Literature from the C19 to the C20’ – or ‘reading against the grain’ #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 16:07:05 @HelenCFinch Always knew I was more dangerous and subversive than I looked! #WIGS11 #dangerousHelens #GermanLiterature

Sat Nov 12 15:14:02 @HelenCFinch Hegemann’s queer sensibility undermines constructs of her as good/bad girl OR wild young German artist a la Handke #WIGS11 #GermanLiterature

Sat Nov 12 15:09:28 @HelenCFinch Hegemann named as symptom of Germany’s increasingly infantilised culture. Misogynist obsession w her appearance in German media #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 15:08:02 @HelenCFinch Emily Jeremiah talks about Helene Hegemann’s Axolotl Roadkill, & the controversy around youth & possible plagiarism of the author #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 15:06:35 @HelenCFinch So things can blur boundary btwn present & past, human & non-human, materiality & entropy. And that’s just an East German sofa! #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 15:01:22 @HelenCFinch Jenny Erpenbeck’s texts are deeply informed by things & impact of their disappearance, which destroys cultural practices & memories #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 14:49:07 @HelenCFinch Fall of the Wall coincided with rise of Internet & globalised capitalism. GDR material things disappeared in favour of global brands #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 14:47:11 @HelenCFinch How do things function in literary narratives to create sense of belonging in an immaterial world driven by consumer capitalism? #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 14:45:20 @HelenCFinch Gillian Pye on belongings: materials and identity in German women’s writing #WIGS11 #GermanLiterature

Sat Nov 12 14:44:01 @HelenCFinch Love elegant, lucid analyses of short texts. V unfashionable in these days of grandiose funding bids, but true heart of scholarship #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 14:31:48 @HelenCFinch Multiple metaphoricities of the sea in Hermann – feminine, Heimat, destruction, lust, death #WIGS11 #GermanLiterature

Sat Nov 12 14:28:40 @HelenCFinch Hermann also links to fairy tale tradition – connects to feminist tradition of ‘writing back’ to the canon #WIGS11 #GermanLiterature

Sat Nov 12 14:25:49 @HelenCFinch Short story Rote Korallen is not just about the Holocaust, generational memory, but also uses intertexts of Undine & Effi Briest #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 14:24:16 @HelenCFinch Now Claudia Gremler on The Intertextual Depth in Judith Hermann #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 14:21:49 @HelenCFinch (That’s my clever & beautiful colleague Ingrid Sharp next to me in the photo) #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 14:20:56 @HelenCFinch Aww, got given beautiful orchid as thanks for organising #WIGS11! Even matches my outfit!

Sat Nov 12 14:18:35 @Entropa Enjoying following #WIGS11. Wish I was there!

Sat Nov 12 13:55:29 @HelenCFinch Is hiphop more socially & culturally inclusive than bourgeois institution of literature? Or relies on flawed idea of ‘authenticity’? #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 12:35:57 @HelenCFinch How can women produce Muslim hip-hop if Muslim traditions exclude women from preaching & hip-hop culture doesn’t train girls to MC? #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 12:10:21 @HelenCFinch How is hip-hop used as a vehicle for women to ‘come out’ as Muslims and even act as preachers? Eg Berlin artist Sahira #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 12:06:47 @HelenCFinch Seidel Arpaci is fascinating on debates on hiphop & identity. Is there a ‘Muslim’ hiphop, or is hiphop beyond politics & religion? #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 12:00:20 @HelenCFinch Or can hip-hop act as a form of positive Muslim preaching? And then where do female Muslim rappers fit in? #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 11:55:21 @HelenCFinch Or does American rap lead the youth astray and send them on the road to jail, as Muslim hip hoppers might claim? #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 11:53:35 @HelenCFinch Oh noes! Apparently converted gangsters are trying to convert young German men to anti-democratic Islamism via Islamic gangsta rap #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 11:51:51 @HelenCFinch Now Annette Seidel Arpaci on ‘Don’t believe the hype!’ Gender and ‘Islam’ in Germany and hip-hop #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 11:50:30 @HelenCFinch More for the reading list -Julya Rabinowich’s Spaltkopf, tr. as Splithead, on Russian-Jewish-Austrian identity #WIGS11 #AustrianLiterature

Sat Nov 12 11:41:33 @HelenCFinch Austrian publishing house Edition Exil awards prize based not on poetic merit, but on migrant background. Genetics v poetics again! #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 11:36:54 @HelenCFinch Silke Schwaiger now talking about authors of second migrant generation in Austria challenging the literary canon #WIGS11 #AustrianLiterature

Sat Nov 12 11:28:11 @HelenCFinch Fascinating account of literary attempts to move beyond genetic definition of Jewish identity towards a poetic, dialogic model #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 11:26:30 @HelenCFinch In general: read Rabinovici’s ‘Andernorts’ & Stein’s ‘Die Leinwand’ for complex explorations of German-Austrian-Jewish identity #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 11:20:16 @HelenCFinch Twitter is kind of rubbish for communicating complex/ controversial theoretical concepts, isn’t it? May abandon attempt #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 11:08:06 @HelenCFinch Revalorisation of Jewish diasporic identity in last 10 years – reconfiguration of deterritorialised Jewish identities #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 11:07:14 @HelenCFinch Has the foundation of the state of Israel reconfigured the duality of Jewish diasporic identity? (Answer: no…) #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 11:05:39 @HelenCFinch Of course Doppelgangers are always racialised – cf Heine’s poem on the thwarted Jewish love for German culture #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 11:03:45 @HelenCFinch Cathy Gelbin talking about German and Austrian narratives of contemporary Israel #WIGS11 – with multiple Doppelgangers in both

Sat Nov 12 11:02:56 @HelenCFinch Parallel panels now on hybridities in German culture – so you only get half of #WIGS11 for this session!

Sat Nov 12 11:00:34 @HelenCFinch Absolutely! RT @hfnuala: work never seems to be seen as enough on its own merits. #WIGS11 #womenswriting

Sat Nov 12 10:27:05 @HelenCFinch Marketers emphasise women’s personal biographies to shift their books, whether they are mediaeval saints or feminist crime writers #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 10:19:49 @HelenCFinch Printing is an invention of God to spread His word, say Low German publishers. Not sure they would say the same about Twitter… #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 10:15:07 @HelenCFinch Books distributed across the Hanseatic League from Luebeck up to Sweden, Russia & beyond #WIGS11 #mediaevalglobalisation #mediaevalinternet

Sat Nov 12 10:11:05 @HelenCFinch …but mediaeval translators were there first with vigorous vernacular versions! #WIGS11 #translation

Sat Nov 12 10:08:33 @HelenCFinch Latin sacred writings translated into high AND low German. Modern translators think they are hip with e.g. ‘textspeak’ Bibles… #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 10:07:43 @HelenCFinch Achievements of Birgitta of Sweden emphasised. Mediaeval saints & nuns make me feel incredibly lazy & unaccomplished by comparison #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 10:01:56 @HelenCFinch Love hearing middle high & low German read out confidently and beautifully – makes me miss my mediaeval German readings as student #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 10:00:10 @HelenCFinch Next Elizabeth Andersen talks about printing and distributing low German devotional writing. Adaptation of Latin writings into Platt #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 09:58:42 @HelenCFinch Physical and spiritual wellbeing of the convent went together – v. practical approach. Spices seem to be good for both #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 09:54: @HelenCFinch Simon analyses way that mediaeval nun Lemmel weaves together spiritual identity and identity as member of powerful family #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 09:50:17 @HelenCFinch Simon’s paper is on Katerina Lemmel, nun, spice trader and viticulturalist – good to see healthy link between booze and religion #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 09:43:36 @HelenCFinch Sadly Anne Simon couldn’t be here for first paper, but instead Henrike Laehnemann is reading her paper on ‘Writing the World’ #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 09:34:55 @HelenCFinch Fantastic turnout for #WIGS11, easily over 40 for the first mediaeval panel. So great to be able to have themed panels with so many speakers

Sat Nov 12 09:32:43 @Mrs_Pea68 @HelenCFinch Hope you all have an excellent #WIGS11 (will be following your tweets with interest) x

Sat Nov 12 08:49:01 @HelenCFinch Deitmer and Kloenne’s readings were fantastic – engaged, unabashedly feminist and very funny #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 08:31:22 @HelenCFinch All three panelists agreed that academic discourse ignores folk or low-culture representations -wrongly. #WIGS11

Sat Nov 12 08:27:03 @HelenCFinch Fantastic opening panel at #WIGS11 yesterday! Representations of GDR in UK press, expulsion memorials and expulsion literature

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