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From June 23-25 2016, the Heinrich-Heine-Universität collaborated with the Modern Language Association of America to host the symposium “Other Europes: Migrations, Translations, Transformations.” With its more than 26,000 members, the MLA is the world’s largest organization of scholars of literature, culture, and language. The Düsseldorf conference, the result of close cooperation between the MLA and the Department of English and American Studies, was the first MLA event ever to take place outside of North America.

More than 300 scholars from all over the world attended the conference, which was held under the auspices of the mayor of Düsseldorf, Thomas Geisel, and the ambassador of the United States to Germany, John B. Emerson.


This conference examined how European identities have been conceived in the past and present; how large-scale immigration to and mobility within Europe as well as the post-1989 redrawing of the European map have influenced the production and circulation of literature and culture.

Prominent artists and scholars representing a range of disciplines in the humanities considered in which ways the critiques of Eurocentrism directed toward Europe’s dealings with its traditional ‚others‘ might be applied to its dealings with itself as well. The conference explored how diverse artistic, creative and political practices address Europe’s political, economic, historical, and philosophical role in a transcultural modernity whose ever-shifting migrations, translations and diasporas challenge claims for Europe’s supposed centrality.

Lectures, workshops and roundtables took place at three different locations in Düsseldorf, the Malkasten, the Haus der Universitaet, and the HHU.
After the official conference opener on June 23, participants enjoyed an informal get-together on board a Rhine cruise ship. On June 24, they were invited to the Düsseldorf city hall, where the mayor, Thomas Geisel, and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Prof. Dr. Ulrich Rosar, greeted them.

On Saturday, June 25, the general public was invited to two plenary sessions, “Other Europes: A Conversation” and “Dreams and Nightmares” that were held in the main lecture hall of the Heinrich-Heine-Universität.

For more than a century, the MLA and its members have worked to strengthen the study and teaching of language, literature, and culture. The MLA organises an annual conference as well as a number of regional symposia, cooperates with numerous related organizations to advocate support for the humanities, and is a prominent publisher of scholarship in the field.