13th ANNUAL CONFERENCE

Saturday 10th November 2001
Hinsley Hall, Headingly, Leeds

[Conference report] [Programme]

Conference report from the secretary:

The WIGS one-day conference 2001 was a hugely successful event, for which its organiser, Ingrid Sharp, must be warmly congratulated. Forty-five WIGS members participated, and heard nine stimulating papers on a broad range of themes in a very comfortable venue.

In the first panel, Petra Bagley, Corinna Heipcke and Annette Haberstock gave papers on women's fiction from the late 1990s and 2000, which fitted together thematically in ways which had not been anticipated, and made for an exciting panel. The novels under discussion (including Ich sehe was, was Du nicht siehst, Regenroman, Gier, and Animal Triste) were linked through themes such as male and female sexuality, ways of seeing the world/society, and the relationships of the protagonists to nature. Many participants left this session with new ideas for vacation reading!

The approaches of the second panel to exile studies and National Socialism were more expectedly harmonious. Andrea Hammel set the scene for the other two papers by examining recent approaches to exile studies, and ways in which the particularities of women's experiences are frequently underestimated. Ursula Hudson-Wiedenmann delighted participants with an array of slides demonstrating the constraints placed on the ceramic art of Grete Heymann-Loebenstein once she exchanged Berlin for the workshops of northern England. Stephanie Thompson was unfortunately not able to be present, but her supervisor Caroline Bland presented Stephanie's paper analysing fascinating oral history accounts of female elite education in Nazi Germany.

Although not everyone was able to stay for the afternoon panel, it was still very well attended, and those who left missed out on very interesting papers on the theme of autobiography. Katja Brunkhorst's and Joanne Sayner's papers on twentieth-century themes encouraged us to think about the way in which women's lives are represented, and misrepresented through (auto-)biography; and Jo Tudor encouraged participants to go and seek out late eighteenth-century German Stammbücher by women for themselves, since the quality of embroidery and other art work in them is impossible to reproduce.

The WIGS AGM marked the end of Gisela Shaw's term of office as Chair, and she was thanked for all her hard work on behalf of WIGS. Lesley Sharpe (Professor of German at Bristol University) was nominated and unanimously elected as her replacement, and thanked and congratulated for taking the post on! Ursula Hudson-Wiedenmann stood down as Part-timer representative. She too was thanked for all her hard work. No nominations were received to replace her and the post has been left vacant - it may be that there is no longer any call for it.

A report was received from Alison Phipps with news that a manuscript containing papers from the Edinburgh Conference is now complete and the editors are in discussions with a publisher. Georgina Paul, who has recently become an editor of the Women in German Studies Yearbook, encouraged WIGS members to send in articles to this refereed journal at the forefront of feminist criticism. She also introduced the idea of holding a joint WIGS/WiG summer conference: anyone with ideas on this matter, or suggestions of themes, should contact her directly. Finally, Ingrid Sharp was thanked for her hard work in organising the conference.

Programme:

20th Century Literature

  • Petra Bagley, University of Central Lancashire: From Van Gogh to Vanderbeke via the Provence: An insight into Ich sehe was, was Du nicht siehst (1999)

  • Corinna Heipcke, University of Surrey: Die Geschlechter im Grünen

  • Annette Haberstock, University of Oxford: Die Liebe als Form der Utopiebewältigung: Monika Marons Roman Animal Triste

Experiences of Exile and National Socialism

  • Andrea Hammel, Centre for German-Jewish Studies at the University of Sussex: Is there a need for a feminist approach to Exile Studies?

  • Ursula Hudson, University of Cambridge: Between emancipation and assimilation: Grete Heymann-Loebenstein

  • Stephanie Thompson, University of Sheffield: Weibliche (Elite-)Erziehung im Nationalsozialismus - Geschichte aus der Sicht von ZeitzeugInnen

Autobiography

  • Katja Brunkhorst, University of London: Unopened Christmas Crackers: the Loves of Lou Andreas-Salomé

  • Joanne Sayner, University of Cardiff: Memories of a Survivor - the Publishing History of an Autobiography

  • Jo Tudor, University of Durham: "Hiermit empfiehlt sich Ihre aufrichtige Freundin..." Stammbücher, bürgerlich culture and female friendship in two albums from late 18th century Rostock and Schwerin