Dystopia and Utopia in Contemporary German Literature and Film (Panel / Virtual)


Special Session
German / City of God, City of Destruction

Joscha Klueppel (University of Oregon)
josc@****.com (Log-in to reveal)

In his newest novel, QualityLand, Marc-Uwe Kling eloquently and humorously uses the intersection of dystopia and utopia to highlight the genre’s satirical potential. In a time where political ignorance and easily accessible misinformation dominate more and more discourses, dystopian and utopian narratives function both as warning as well as criticism. While dystopia and utopia are broad literary genres, they can give access to a new angle on questions of class, race, and gender, but also as categories of political and social criticism. This virtual (online) panel seeks to be a discursive space for such questions, but it lends itself to questions of technical intricacies in contemporary German dystopian and utopian literature and film.

This virtual (online) panel is open to any questions related to contemporary German dystopian and utopian literature and film: literary analyses, informed ideas on a specific reoccurring element or motif, questions on the intersection of dystopia and utopia, but also broader questions of gender, race, class, social and political criticism through the lens of dystopia and/or utopia. Thus, the panel has a twofold importance:

1) it opens a new discourse on contemporary German literature and film as both dystopia and utopia as genres are usually disregarded. As such, it not just asks questions of ‘what is a genre?’ and ‘what impact can a genre have?’ but it also wants to find out whether there are continuing motifs in contemporary German literature and film that relate to the dystopian and/or utopian categories.
2) through its focus on dystopia and utopia, this panel also offers potentially new ways of looking at questions of gender, race, and class via the satirical and/or critical nature of dystopia and utopia. Thus, it offers the opportunity of enriching those specific discourses.

Lastly, questions of utopia and dystopia seem to be inherent to the conference topic “City of God, City of Destruction.”