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Feminist German Studies across the Disciplines: Introduction to Grossmann, Ferree, and Cocks Sara Lennox The following three essays, written by historian Atina Grossmann, sociologist Myra Marx Ferree, and political theorist Joan Cocks, are a feminist contribution to the ongoing debate about the role of multi- and interdisciplinary work in the emerging field of German Studies. Defined in the 1988 German Studies Association Guidelines for Curricular Organization at American Educational Institutions as "the interdisciplinary study of the contemporary cultural, social, economic, and political life of the German-speaking peoples in their historical and international context," German Studies has been embraced most enthusiastically by scholars trained in the discipline of German literary studies. For literary scholars, German Studies, often loosely associated with British Cultural Studies, has provided an opportunity to import Anglo-American methodologies developed over the past several decades into their own field and to address a wider range of German cultural products than was authorized by the traditional canon of German literature. German Studies has found particular acceptance among younger, U.S.-trained Germanists poised to assume leadership of the field as an older cohort of German emigres whose intellectual production was oriented towards the Federal Republic now moves towards retirement. To younger Germanists, German Studies seems to represent a new, uniquely U.S.-American perspective on "things German. " As Marc Weiner put it in his provocative letter announcing the policies German Quarterly would pursue under his editorship: "German Studies has begun to develop an identity different from that of its counterpart , (German) Germanistik, as manifested in a variety of intellectual paradigms that differ from those abroad." Despite the claims to interdisciplinarity made in the GSA Guidelines, then, Germanists have frequently considered German Studies mainly the purview of German Departments, viewing it particularly as a vehicle that would allow them to broaden curricular offerings, teach courses in English, and hence reach larger numbers of students at a time of declining language enrollments. Unlike Germanists, however, proponents of German Studies in fields like history and political science, the other core areas of the GSA, seem much more strongly committed to Women in German Yearbook 12 (1996) 2 Feminist German Studies across the Disciplines interdisciplinary cooperation among the multiple disciplines focused on the study of Germany and make no assumptions about the proper methodology or content (or degree of generational conflict) of such projects. To use Russell Berman's metaphors, historians and political scientists (to the degree that they are interested in German Studies at all) are committed to a conception of German Studies as großdeutsch, seeking "to bring together German specialists from various fields," while Germanists more often conceive German Studies to be kleindeutsch, "revitalizing the language and literature model by using an innovative pedagogy that examines a culture through a range of objects, including but not restricted to canonic literature" (91). Feminist scholarship, however, has always made a claim to interdisciplinarity : as historian Gisela Bock put it in her opening speech to the first Berlin Sommeruniversität in 1976: "Scholarship on women has to be interdisciplinary: for a single scholarly discipline [Wissenschaft] or method doesn't suffice to answer our questions" (18). Though feminism's growing acceptability in the academy has meant that feminist approaches have increasingly developed via interchanges with other tendencies within their own discipline rather than merely in dialogue with other feminists, in my observation feminist scholars continue to remain more in touch with developments in other fields than do my other colleagues. This awareness of the vital, exciting feminist research taking place in other fields forms the backdrop to the Yearbook's publication of these three essays by non-Germanists. Grossmann, Ferree, and Cocks were guests of honor at the 1995 Women in German conference, and their essays are revised versions of the talks they gave there. The decision to invite three feminist scholars from disciplines outside our own was made at the 1994 conference after discussions following a panel on "Feminist Theory and (German) Cultural Studies," at which conference participants expressed their eagerness to undertake interdisciplinary feminist research in German Studies and their simultaneous concern that they lacked adequate background in other fields to do so. Our guests were thus asked to take on...


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