Minutes of the 2018 Business Meeting

September 29, 2018
German Studies Association Conference
Wyndham Grand Hotel, Pittsburgh

Present:

  1. Catriona Macleod, Vice President
  2. Daniel Purdy, President
  3. Elliott Schreiber, Executive Secretary
  4. Karin Schutjer, Editor, New Studies in the Age of Goethe
  5. Patricia Simpson, Co-Editor, Goethe Yearbook
  6. John Smith, Director-at-Large
  7. Birgit Tautz, Co-Editor, Goethe Yearbook
  8. Christian Weber, Secretary-Treasurer

Daniel Purdy announced the election results: Heather Sullivan (Vice President, 2019-22), Vance Byrd and Eleonor ter Horst (Directors-at-Large, 2019-22), William Carter (Secretary-Treasurer, 2019-22). 52 members voted.

Catriona Macleod announced GSNA Prizes. GSNA Essay Prize: Gabriel Trop for best essay; Leif Weatherby honorary mention. Tove Holmes: Richard Sussman Essay Prize.  Discussion ensued on how best to get the word out about the Richard Sussman Essay Prize. John Smith will announce the prize at a literature and science conference in Toronto. It will continue to be announced on relevant listservs.

Christian Weber distributed a summary of the GSNA budget and expenses. He noted that $48 are unaccounted for, and offered to contribute it from his own pocket, which the other members of the Executive Board rejected. He suggested that the GSNA find productive ways to spend its budget, e.g. helping to subsidize Clark Muenzer’s lexicon project. Daniel Purdy asked whether it would be worth spending approximately $70 per month for website security, and there appeared to be a consensus that this would be a good investment. Birgit Tautz suggested that funds could be appropriated for a website linked with the Goethe Yearbook for the purpose of displaying high-resolution images and figures included or referenced in Yearbook articles. She noted that it would be important to find a reliable partner (such as a publisher or educational institution) that could ensure the longevity of such a project. Karin Schutjer proposed giving a stipend to the GSNA Webmaster and Newsletter editor.

Christian noted strong membership numbers. About 50% have elected a 3-year membership. As an aid to recruiting more members, Christian suggested that a list of contributors to the Goethe Yearbook be made available by the editors or publisher to the Treasurer. There also appeared to be consensus on sending a copy of the Goethe Yearbook to each article author.

Birgit Tautz and Patricia Simpson reported on the Goethe Yearbook. They highlighted that things are going well. The current volume (Vol. 26) is quite full. They turned down about a half dozen articles. The articles that they have assembled work well together. There is a special section on “Goethe’s Narrative Events” edited by Fritz Breithaupt. Birgit noted that the editors might try introducing a discussion forum in the Yearbook. John Smith proposed a special forum in the Yearbook that might collect references to Goethe (e.g., a reference to Goethe and Eckermann in Moby Dick that was recently brought to his attention). Birgit suggested that an enhanced GSNA website might be a better platform, one that might also include pre-published book reviews.

Karin Schutjer reported on the book series. She proposed that the Bucknell books be displayed at next year’s GSA together with the Scholar’s Choice books. She noted the relatively reasonable prices of books in the series. She wonders if we should try to publish more books (currently the focus is on younger and less established authors), and if the books could be published at a faster pace. Currently the production schedule from delivery of the final manuscript to the publisher to publication takes about 12 months. It was remarked that this is a fairly expeditious pace, but that some presses (such as Penn State) have a somewhat tighter schedule (approximately 9 months).

John Smith reported on the Lexicon project that he and Clark Muenzer are heading. He noted that Clark has received a grant of about $50 k from the University of Pittsburgh to help realize the project. There is still discussion about the best platform for the project (digital and/or print). The members of the Executive Board expressed their encouragement for and excitement about the project.

Other business: Birgit Tautz mentioned the possibility of hosting a symposium at Bowdoin College in connection with the Goethe Yearbook. Catriona Macleod mentioned that someone has contacted her with the offer to gift a bronze Goethe bust to the GSNA. She raised the question about where it could be housed.

See photos here.

Elliott Schreiber
Vassar College