German-­American relations broadly defined are increasingly influenced by developments in the Pacific space. For many in Germany and Europe “the rise of the Pacific” portends a new situating of their place in the global commons that can involve their increasingly being “pushed to the periphery”. The unfolding of the “Pacific Century” reflects generally a multitude of exchanges and interactions that center importantly on the negotiation of concepts of difference and democracy or the opening of new spaces for the expression and practice of diversity. The place of the Pacific in the German and European imagination thus offers the potential to contextualize, complicate, and connect “provincial” politics with global themes centering on difference, diversity, and democracy.

This conference seeks to bring together diverse scholars and a variety of other voices exploring the meaning of the trans­pacific in the context of trans­atlantic interactions and transnational American Studies. The bridging theme will be dialogues on difference and democracy as explored in diverse forms of expression, including literature, culture, knowledge construction, politics, economics, and the narrating of history. By thus “globalizing” the “Pacific Century” thematically, we seek to encourage a transnational and transcultural exhange that will help enrich a global commons debating the nature and articulations of democracy and difference. More specifically and in relation to American Studies, we seek to strengthen and broaden the exploration of trans­pacific themes among German and European scholars and other interested publics, as well as encourage theoretical discussions of transpacific studies in connection with transatlantic and hemispheric studies.



Keynote Speakers Include

Viet Nguyen, University of Southern California
co-director of the Center for Transpacific Studies and co-editor of  Transpacific Studies: Framing an Emerging Field

Yunte Huang, University of California, Santa Barbara
author of Transpacific Imaginations: History, Literature, Counterpoetics

Robert Ji-Song Ku, Binghamton University, State University of New York
author of Dubious Gastronomy: The Cultural Politics of Eating Asian in the USA

Manfred Steger, University of Hawaii
author of The Rise of the Global Imaginary


Please find the whole program here.





All conference events will take place at the Deutsches Literatur Institut.

Since space is limited, we would very much appreciate that you rsvp your participation by Monday, July 6th.

You can do so by simply sending an email to and provide your name, institutional affiliation, and profile (scholar, student, community member).




Huang, Yunte. Transpacific Imaginations: History, Literature, Counterpoetics. “Introduction: The Transpacific as a Critical Space.” Harvard: Harvard UP, 2008. 1-10. Print.

—. Transpacific Imaginations: History, Literature, Counterpoetics. “History: And the Views from the Shores.” 11-49. Print.

Ji-Song Ku, Robert. Dubious Gastronomy: The Cultural Politics of Eating Asian in the USA. “Introduction.” Honolulu: U of Hawaii P, 2014. 1-13. Print.

—. Dubious Gastronomy. “California Roll.” 17-48. Print.

—. Dubious Gastronomy. “Chinese Take-Out.” 49-77. Print.

Laemmerhirt, Iris-Aya. “Exotism, Imagination, and the Harajuku Girls.” Embracing Differences: Transnational Cultural Flows between Japan and the United States. Bielefeld: transcript, 2013. Print.

—. “Imagining the Taste. Transnational Food Exchanges between Japan and the United States.” The Japanese Journal of American Studies 21 (2010). 231-250. Print.

Nguyen, Viet Thanh. “Just Memory: War and the Ethics of Remembrance.” American Literary History 25.1 (2013): 144-163. Print.

Nguyen, Viet Thanh and Janet Hoskins. “Introduction.” Transpacific Studies: Critical Perspectives on an Emerging Field. Ed. Nguyen and Hoskins. Honolulu: U of Hawaii P, 2014. 1-38. Print.

Steger, Manfred. The Rise of the Global Imaginary: Political Ideologies from the French Revolution to the Global War on Terror. “Introduction: Political Ideologies and Social Imaginaries.” Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008. 1-15. Print.


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