Academic journal article German Quarterly

Forum: Austrian Studies

Academic journal article German Quarterly

Forum: Austrian Studies

Article excerpt

the focus of this issue of the The German Quarterly is on austrian studies. the five preceding essays, each illustrating different approaches to the study of austria's literatures and cultures, were not solicited specifically for this issue, but were submitted through the regular channels and underwent a double-blind peer review process. in order to gain more insight into scholarly developments in the field, however, we decided to also create space in this issue for a more deliberate reflection on what it means to do austrian studies. the editors of this forum asked a number of scholars (most of them working in the Us, but also one representative from the Uk and one from austria) for their views on the state of austrian studies today. We were interested specifically in developments in scholarship on austrian literature and culture since the year 2000. We asked our contributors to illustrate what they see as important accomplishments, the challenges and dilemmas they perceive as specific to austrian studies, problems and issues that remain underexamined, and promising trends and developments.

Below you will find the results. the development of the field of austrian studies certainly has been driven by institutional structures: organizations, journals, and curricula. But scholarship also developed its own dynamics that often remained implicit. research in literary and cultural studies clearly moves in certain directions without an explicit master plan (and maybe this is not such a bad thing). the following short essays attempt to trace those dynamics. Most of the contributions reveal a concern about canonization and a narrowing of the field. they also acknowledge that the canon of austrian culture has not only shifted over time, but is also highly dependent on one's own position and investments. Media studies and a concern about cultural diversity have clearly had an impact on the study of austrian literature and culture, and the field is still deliberating on how exactly to incorporate them. the relations between austrian and German studies are complex and not without tension; this too is reflected in the contributions to our forum.

We hope that the following forum will offer some orientation for those active-in whatever capacity: as a scholar, teacher, or simply as someone interested in literary and cultural history-in austrian studies, but also may be of value to those whose main areas of expertise are located elsewhere. in some respects, austrian studies offers an interesting case study on the relevance and problems of the nation-state paradigm when practicing cultural analysis and on the question of how the area studies model functions in academia today.

elizaBetH loeNtz & Carl Niekerk

A Once and Future Austrian Studies

Contemporary austrian studies in the United states has a specific (re)birth date: the year 2000. Until then, austrian literary studies in the Us had been in the hands of the international Arthur Schnitzler Research Association, which had published its Journal (in mimeo form) from 1961 to 1968. the journal then became Modern Austrian Literature (MAL), eventually ending up under Donald Daviau at the University of California at riverside, who hosted a yearly conference there between 1971 and 1999. and then things changed again: the 2000 conference was announced and then cancelled, when Daviau lost his traditional venue (the faculty club was demolished) and shifted his focus. the journal lapsed, and a small east Coast austrian studies association that had held its own conferences soldiered on to replace what was lost (starting at allegheny College in 1994, with subsequent conferences at the University of Delaware, Bowling Green state University, Dickinson College, lafayette College [in 1999 and 2001, with the latter cancelled due to 9/11], and the University of Pennsylvania in 2002). through their help, austrian studies in the Us regrouped, first by finding new editors who edited and published all the missing issues of MAL and brought it forward, as a new board structure was put into place for what became the Modern Austrian Literature and Culture Association in spring 2000. …

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