On October 9th, German Studies welcomed current students and returning alums back to our traditional Oktoberfest. After skipping our time-honored BBQ at Randolph Complex last pandemic year, we drew a record crowd despite an early downpour that almost drowned out the BBQ fire. We caught up with recent and not-so-recent alums, and got a chance to socialize with each other outside of the classroom. These opportunities are cherished even more as we are only slowly adjusting to our pre-pandemic schedule of events. German House residents baked sweets, planned music and decorations, and did all set-up and clean-up!
Without a doubt, the last three semesters were extraordinarily difficult, and one of the most difficult aspects during the pandemic and strict distancing requirements was trying to create and maintain our sense of community, so dear to the Russian program. But we needn’t have worried: Our amazing students went above and beyond in organizing and running events, they attended and participated enthusiastically in everything that was offered, and our community in the Russian program continued to thrive in these challenging times. Russian House residents got together, whether virtually or outdoors, to play games, watch and discuss movies, and do art projects. The student-run newspaper, Газета, moved to an online format and is now more attractive than ever! Please visit to read the current issue. The student-run film series were hugely successful both in the Fall and in the Spring of this pandemic academic year. The Russian Music Ensemble got creative about their performances by recording music videos and giving concerts outdoors.
But, arguably, more than anything else that exemplifies the outstanding community of our Russian program is our annual Russian Language Olympics (RLO) – traditionally, a large in-person gathering of students and faculty on a Saturday in March. In spring 2020 when everything shut down, our Olympics were canceled, and this year we were not sure if our fun, popular “event of the year” could be reproduced in a virtual format. The students, however, voted overwhelmingly to hold the event on Zoom and, as always, on a Saturday. Their participation in the virtual Russian Language Olympics was nothing short of spectacular. Of course, all of the credit and our deepest gratitude goes to the amazing RLO organizing committee – Celia Metzger, Rodrigo Arias, Tem Bullock, Maggie Herndon, Sonia Kelly, Liz Rives, and Gabriel Spira. They prepared and ran Russian language Jeopardy games for each level of study (Elementary, Intermediate, and Advanced), they organized games that were focused on Russian culture for students who don’t yet take Russian language courses, and they included such traditional and beloved elements of our annual RLO events as video greetings from recent alums, the musical interludes by the Russian Music Ensemble, and everyone’s favorite: “Professor Trivia”. Thanks to all the organizers and participants the RLO is back to being the highlight of the year for the Russian program, and the 2021 RLO made it abundantly clear that our community is as strong as ever!
“Live From Morocco”! An Integrative Approach to Teaching Culture and Language
With the cancellation of many activities imposed by the Covid crisis, professor Driss Cherkaoui, found a way of teaching Moroccan dialect that is interactive and fun.
- What is “Live from Morocco” and how did you imagine it would fit into your course?
Teaching Moroccan dialect is also about teaching culture. I did not want to use Youtube videos and I wanted an interactive class. I created a program that blends in culture online where the session will be live allowing the students to witness a cultural event. It was essentially a series of workshops with a variety of activities such as cooking, Arabic calligraphy, henna design, and a trip to the market. The Moroccan chef sends the students the recipe with the ingredients and they work together step by step.
- What did “Live from Morocco” offer your students?
It offered them experience and really opened another horizon on culture and the people. Students saw for themselves first hand the interactive angle of Moroccan culture such as family relationships.
- What aspects did students enjoy the most?
For some reason, they enjoyed cooking and calligraphy.
- What are the challenges for hosting a program like “Live From Morocco”?
Primarily it is the funding and the training. You need to prepare the hosting end to the experience of meeting American students, give them orientation sessions and to teach them the interactive participation is required. Technology can also be challenging since it takes time to set up. It is essentially like teaching two different courses.
- Can this model be applied to other classes?
Yes, but one has to be well prepared for it to succeed. It requires coordination and flexibility. A class on the Qur’an would benefit greatly from this model where students can attend live Qur’anic chanting in mosques, classes where the Qur’an is taught and calligraphy. This interactive model is invaluable in allowing students to see first hand a central aspect of Arab culture.
We have had a stellar graduating class this year in German Studies! Far-flung geographically and in terms of their interests and secondary majors, the class of 2021 had to finish their last year of college in a global pandemic. Some entered W&M with a lot of German, some with none, and all caught the bug and decided to add the German major to their plan. Many in this class studied abroad, lived in the German House, and served as Teaching Assistants for first- and second-year students. The student-run German Studies newspaper, Die Zeitung, was founded by the class of 2021. All of them are on to big things: PhD and MA programs, Medical School, law school, Fulbrights, jobs. You will be forever remembered as the pandemic class, and you will be missed! Congratulations Grace Bruce, Caroline Cox, Amanda Fu, Daisy Garner, Michael Griese, Ephraim Kozody, Emily Maison, Patrick Salsburg!
The 2021 Awards go to:
Outstanding Achievement Awards: Grace Bruce and Amanda Fu
German Studies Book Awards: Caroline Cox and Daisy Garner
At the core of W&M’s mission lies the objective to “cultivate creative thinkers, principled leaders, and compassionate global citizens equipped for lives of meaning and distinction.” It is with great excitement that, year after year, MLL witnesses our students flourish and build bridges domestically and at a global scale. This is especially evident in W&M’s extremely successful record with the Fulbright Program.
U.S. President Harry S. Truman established the Fulbright Program in 1946, in the aftermath of World War II, to “to increase mutual understanding, and support friendly and peaceful relations between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.” As it celebrates its 75th anniversary, the program operates in 160 countries, and “funds American citizens to study, conduct research, or teach English abroad.” Fulbright Scholarships are highly selective – 39 awardees have served as heads of state or government; 60 have received Nobel Prizes – and W&M students do extremely well when it comes to snagging them. This award cycle, eight W&M seniors and recent alums have received an award, and six additional ones have been selected as alternates. Of the 12 students identified, 8 have majored in MLL or RPSS, and 3 further students have taken advanced coursework with us.
In Modern Languages and Literatures, we are proud to contribute to our students’ success. Our language classes empower them to effectively engage in cross-cultural communication by meeting people in their own idiom. Our cultural studies classes challenge our students to understand with nuance and analyze with cultural sensitivity the stories and the worldviews of the communities with which they’ll work. Congratulations!
In the second of two undergraduate research showcases, MLL students introduced their Honors Theses to an audience gathered in a Zoom room on Friday afternoon, April 23. This was a very special cohort, in that almost all of the students had conceived of their projects and the research involved before the pandemic began and travel to archives and field sites, and even interlibrary loans, become difficult or impossible. Students had to reconceptualize their topics and their methodologies, but the results were astounding. In eight presentations from across the department, we heard in-depth studies on the socio-cultural context of politics from the French Revolution to 1970s Italy to present-day Andalusia and China, and the socio-political background of such cultural phenomena as exotic birds at the court of Louis XIV, higher education in France, soccer fandom in Germany, and wallpaper patterns in the Chinese export industry. Students also spoke about their motivation to take on intense research projects, the difficulties encountered along the way, and how they intend to use the knowledge and skills gained in the future. Congratulations to the 2021 MLL Honors Students!
Justin Kaley: “Mollétisme as a Paradigm: the Decline and Future of the Parti socialiste de France”
Emma Burleigh: “Wielding a Double-Edged Sword: China’s Soft Power via U.S. Confucius Institutes Amidst the Proliferating ‘China Threat’.”
Nori Thurman: “The French Baccalauréat as an Instrument of Elite Selection: Past, Present, and Future.”
Judith Tauber: “Hegemony and Revolution: the Red Brigades between Violence and Consensus.”
Sally Mullis: “Des Oiseaux Spectaculaires: Birds Observed and Imagined in French Culture under Louis XIV.”
Daisy Garner: “Mehr als ein Spiel: Far-Left and Far-Right Football Subcultures in Germany.”
Beau Nardo: “Andalusia in Layers: Reconciling Andalusian Identity with Spain and Europe.”
Hannah Sanner: “Structured Fantasy: The Translation of Chinese Motifs in Exported Wallpaper.”
Every year in April, W&M’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion celebrates members from the campus community for their efforts to promote Diversity and Inclusion. In Spring 2021, two faculty members from Modern Languages and Literatures were recognized: Professor Robin Ellis from German Studies and Professor Calvin Hui from Chinese Studies. You can read up on their awards here. MLL is grateful to our faculty members who strive to make a positive impact!
Most of us do not think of the humanities when they hear the word “lab”. A research lab conjures up images of bunsen burners and beakers, microscopes and white coats, and perhaps various signs warning of fire hazards and chemical spills posted inside and out. But those who attended the first of two MLL Undergraduate Research Showcases, part of W&M’s “April is Undergraduate Research Month,” could hear all about labs in Modern Languages and Literatures. Paul Vierthaler, Assistant Professor in Chinese Studies, and Rachel Varra, Assistant Professor in Hispanic Studies and in Linguistics, gave us an overview of what their labs look like, and of the kind of work students do in those labs. Like any lab, there is a lot of equipment: computers that are more powerful than your regular laptop, specialized software, recording devices, but also: mini-fridges and sofas. Students spend a lot of time in these spaces. Much of the work they do is inherently collaborative – a somewhat unusual approach to research in the humanities. Prof. Vierthaler’s students spoke about bringing ideas for data processing to him and developing and workshopping apps; another group of students is creating a game to help raise awareness of human trafficking. Prof. Varra’s students are interviewing Spanish speakers in the community and learning how to transcribe recordings and compile a corpus. The lively discussion and the numerous questions from the audience prove that interdisciplinary work – with Data Science and with Linguistics in these cases – and collaborative forms of research are of great interest to students.
On February 17, 2021, students and faculty from German Studies, the W&M campus, and several other institutions joined to hear Susan Neiman talk about her latest book: Learning from the Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil. “Zooming” in from Berlin, where she now lives, Neiman related to us her experiences growing up in a Jewish family in the U.S. South, her education and training in philosophy, and her subsequent move to Germany. It is her unique background that has enabled her to see connections between Germans working through the history of the Nazi era, and the necessity in the United States of confronting its history of slavery. In a lively yet thoroughly accessible conversation with Prof. Leventhal, Program Director of German Studies, Neiman interwove the personal and the historical to bring together pressing moral questions.
We could not host our alums on campus this year. However, the Homecoming Office put together a virtual program that extended over two weeks in October and made creative use of remote technologies. In German Studies, our Zoom meeting brought together the largest crowd we’ve welcomed in years, as former students from all over the country and from Germany, dialled in to reminisce about their professors and classes they took with them, about the old German House in Randolph Complex, and about study abroad experiences. We had alums stretching back 30 years, and the cross-generational exchange showed both how much has changed, and how much has also really stayed the same. We hope to retain this new tradition of virtual Zoom-unions in the years to come, and look forward to seeing and even larger crowd next year!
The highlight of the fall semester in German Studies, Oktoberfest could not take place this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions. We missed Bratwurst, Kartoffelsalat, and Apfelschorle, but German Studies students, Deutsches Haus residents, and faculty met on Zoom to chat and play a Kahoot! game, testing everyone on Oktoberfest trivia. We were surprised at the large turnout and enjoyed catching up with students – one of the many downsides of the remote teaching environment is the lack of conversation opportunities. While we had everybody’s attention, we also presented next semester’s courses, discussed the Summer Study Abroad program in Potsdam, and answered questions on the German Studies major and minor. Next fall, we hope to re-inaugurate Oktoberfest in our new Deutsches Haus location in Hardy Hall.
Professor Emeritus of Hispanic Studies George Greenia, recently received a from the Virginia General Assembly, introduced by State Senator Monty Mason. What makes this award extra special is the fact that Monty Mason was once Prof. Greenia’s student in 1985-86 and took Spanish classes with him here at W&M!
Prof. Greenia joined the Modern Languages and Literatures Department in 1982 after receiving his PhD from the University of Michigan. One of his areas of expertise is pilgrimage studies, and at W&M he has led students on many Summer Study Abroad trips to Santiago de Compostela, the famed pilgrimage route. But Prof. Greenia’s activities don’t stop there. The Commendation lists, among others, these achievements:
“WHEREAS, a tireless advocate of LGBT students at The College of William and Mary, George Greenia spent many years as the faculty facilitator of the Gay Student Support Group; in 2006, the William and Mary Gay and Lesbian Alumni/ae Association presented him with the Founders’ Cup for Outstanding Lifetime Service to the Gay and Lesbian members of The College of William and Mary Community; and WHEREAS, in 2007, George Greenia’s promotion of Spanish history and culture saw him knighted by order of King Carlos I of Spain and awarded the Order of Isabel the Catholic, one of Spain’s highest honors; and WHEREAS, George Greenia’s many other recognitions include a lifetime achievement award from American Pilgrims on the Camino, and the William & Mary Diversity Leadership Award from the Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity; a longtime supporter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, he is the recipient of its President’s Award and Judith F. Krug Medal …”
Congratulations, Prof. Greenia!
I am graduating this year from the New York Studio School in downtown Manhattan with a Masters in Fine Arts in Painting. As a double major in Fine Arts and German Studies at William and Mary, class of 2016, I continue to use what I learned both in class and abroad to enrich my painting ideas. German and Austrian artists such as Caspar David Friedrich, Käthe Kollwitz, and Oskar Kokoschka are major artistic influences to me. My current paintings, which will be exhibited in my MFA Thesis Exhibition in New York at a to be announced date, focus on intimate spaces surrounding food. I chose food items to paint that have both a crusty shell and a meaty interior, such as fish, clams, mussels and bread loaves. They reflect the duality of the exterior and interior lives of humans. I am interested in exploring the hidden and exposed realities of individuals, through the food that we eat. I am excited to continue my career as a painter and take advantage of future opportunities for artists both in the New York area and abroad.
We congratulate Prof. Veronika Burney, Lecturer of German Studies and Advisor to the German Language House, on winning this year’s Arts and Sciences Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence. Prof. Burney, a native of Germany, joined the department five years ago. Her research focuses on both the literature and culture of the former East Germany, and on cultural production by minorities in Germany. Prof. Burney’s commitment to issues of diversity and inclusion inform her teaching at all levels, from introductory language classes to senior seminars. Most recently, she has been involved in efforts to supplement standard textbooks by teaching inclusive language and texts at the earliest levels of German. Congratulations, Prof. Burney!
This spring, Professor of Hispanic Studies Silvia Tandeciarz was appointed Chancellor Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures. Prof. Tandeciarz has served as Chair of Modern Languages and Literatures for several years, and is also part of many initiatives on campus. She is the founder of the William & Mary National Security Archive Project and the author, most recently, of Citizens of Memory: Affect, Representation, and Human Rights in Postdictatorship Argentina (2017). Congratulations!
We salute our two German Studies graduates Manasi Deorah and Kelsey Marshall! Both of them embody the best of MLL: double majors (Sociology and International Relations, respectively), considerable experience living abroad (Scotland and Germany/Austria), and a commitment to giving back through teaching and advocacy. Kelsey is the recipient of this year’s German Studies Book Award, and Manasi of the German Studies Achievement Award. We already miss having both of you in our classrooms and office hours!
MLL’s unique Language Houses, a foreign-language immersion experience right on our campus, had to close down after Spring Break just like all other residential buildings. Daily life in another language, the countless small exchanges and learning moments that occur as students interact with each other and with the respective International Fellow, came to a halt. However, not all activities had to be cancelled! After a short adjustment, our Fellows began offering conversation hours and grammar tutoring via Zoom, and organized film watching events, game nights, and cooking evenings, all done remotely but sustaining the language learning community nonetheless.
Live cooking classes, e.g., taught us that our cultures have more in common than we may think. A student shared the recipe for Indian Rice Pudding, or “rice phirni/kheer”, to show its similarity to “horchata.” There was also a “trilingual” tomato sauce pasta class, co-hosted by the Italian and Hispanic Houses, at which the IFs introduced students from different programs and learned comparative vocabulary. At several cooking evenings, students’ family members helped out, sometimes tasting and judging a course. And best of all, we got to meet not only each other’s family members, but also the family pets!
Michael Hill, Associate Professor of Chinese Studies at W&M, has received a prestigious NEH Summer Stipend. The project he is working on is a multilingual one on Reading Distance: Chinese and Arabic Literatures at the End of Empire.
Parts of his work-in-progress have already been published. You can read more here. Congratulations!
W&M’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion has recognized three MLL faculty this year for their “outstanding work as an advocate of diversity and inclusion”: Katherine Kulick (French and Francophone Studies, TESOL), Magali Compan (French and Francophone Studies), and Jennifer M. Gülly (German Studies). Congratulations! You can read what others have said about their efforts, and also see who else has won a recognition award this year. More here.
Hey William and Mary Modern Languages and Literatures Department! It’s Jordan and Megan, the former dynamic TA duo telling you all the exciting and surprising things we have found living in Austria’s capital. We were both very lucky and excited to have our applications to the Austrian-American Educational Commission Fulbright program accepted. Having acclimated ourselves after arriving in mid-September, the experience of living and working in a foreign country is one we will never forget.The work itself is one of the main draws of the program. We are constantly kept on our toes with new themes every week to discuss with students. It is always a lot of fun to hear their perspective on a variety of issues and of course to share with them what we love and find problematic about American culture. For instance, Jordan taught a lesson on how to analyze a film deploying The Shining as an example. Because of the holiday season, many TAs have given lessons on the Thanksgiving story, Black Friday, and celebrating Christmas.Amidst lots of lesson planning and meeting new people through the Fulbright Austria program and our schools, we have visited many a museum, casual palace, and the Zentralfriedhof (Central Cemetery) where Schumann, Brahms, and Strauss are all buried, and Mozart is honored. We have also investigated the jazz bar, street food, and café scenes, and Jordan is definitely an expert between the two of us on Kaffeehauskultur, Döner Kebap, and Käsekrainer (cheese-filled wurst). Megan often enjoys cooking at home with local produce from the Brunnenmarkt, the biggest open-air market in the city, right near her flat, where you can find some of Vienna’s most affordable groceries. Not only have we seen a fair bit of Vienna (although there is always more to see), but we’ve done some and plan on doing more traveling. Jordan will make his way to Berlin to visit old friends from our summer abroad at Potsdam Universität two summers ago, and both of us plan to go to Athens in January with a group of new friends. Overall, wir schlagen dieses Programm vor (we recommend this program), because it is an excellent way to spend a year abroad learning valuable teaching skills and improving your German fluency, all the while helping the next generation of Austrian students learn the global language of English.
During the summer of 2019, Grace Bruce spent two months living and working in Munich. While in Germany, Grace had the chance to complete a B2-level language intensive course at the Goethe Institut, ultimately earning her B2 certificate. Grace also worked as a Marketing and Communications intern at Autonomous Intelligent Driving GmbH. Here, she learned valuable skills in both internal and external communications, refined her intercultural competencies, and gained experience in the German workplace environment. During her time in Germany, Grace traveled a lot on the weekends. She visited Freiburg, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, and Poland. Grace truly enjoyed her time in Munich, and looks forward to someday returning to live in Europe.
When I declared a double major in Neuroscience and German Studies, I never imagined that they would be a combination that would actually go together! I considered them to be two separate academic interests of mine, and every class I took in college was directed towards either one or the other. That is, until my neuroscience research mentor showed me a program that managed to perfectly combine the two: the Neuroscience Seminar in Germany. Offered by the College of Charleston every 2 years, this program is a 3.5 week upper-level neuroscience seminar taught in the context of the research being conducted at some of Germany’s top neuroscience labs today. The first half of the trip was hosted by LMU in Munich, and the second half was at the Charité in Berlin. Over the course of the program, we read and discussed scientific papers for research being conducted at these institutes, and then were able to meet the researchers themselves, attend lectures by them, and see their projects in person at their research labs. While the course was taught entirely in English, I was able to use my German skills to converse with the researchers in their native language and connect with them on a deeper level. Not to mention all the showing off that I could do for the other students on the program, whether it was translating a menu in a restaurant, chatting with a cashier at a clothing store, or explaining to them the different types of German Würste! In addition to the academics, I was able to explore the beautiful (but very different) cities of Munich and Berlin, along with a short trip to Salzburg, and could even meet up with some old German friends along the way. Doing the program showed me that no matter how unrelated they may seem, my two interests have a lot more in common than I originally assumed, and that German Studies is something that can work for anyone regardless of their interests! Caroline Cox.
Professor Robert Leventhal, Program Director of German Studies and Judaic Studies, has just published a book on the genre of the “case study,” looking at its origins in 18th-century Germany and tracing its evolution through Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theories and up to modern-day pop culture. W&M sat down with Professor Leventhal for a book chat.
In Fall 2019, MLL’s German Studies Program welcomed a new faculty member, Dr. Robin Ellis. We asked her a few questions about being a Professor of German Studies at W&M:
1. How did you become interested in German?
I don’t have German heritage, but I do have a family connection to Germany: my mother lived in West Germany for many years, and I was born in West Berlin. We lived there until I was three, when we moved to California. English is my native language, but I learned some German from family friends, neighbors, and daycare. In the U.S., I promptly forgot everything I’d learned, so my mother enrolled me in Saturday morning German school. At the time, I did not think this was so great, but I begrudgingly attended until I could switch to German classes at my high school. In college I started taking German literature and film classes, and two study abroad years in Berlin (one my junior year and one right after college) sealed the deal. That’s when I became interested in literature by Turkish-German writers such as Emine Sevgi Özdamar and Feridun Zaimoğlu.
2. What is the focus of your research?
Today my research still involves migration and the negotiation of various borders, but I approach these issues through the lens of translation. My book project deals with fictional interpreters in literature, film, and theater, and it examines interpreting as an embodied act of translation. I’m interested in the tensions and possibilities that arise when a human individual is employed as a supposedly neutral medium of communication. For example, when two people communicate through an interpreter, they have to trust that the interpreter will relay their messages accurately and won’t intervene due to a secret allegiance or other ulterior motive. Fiction provides the opportunity to explore anxieties about potential betrayal, as well as a way to imagine alternative forms of linguistic encounter and exchange.
3. Have you ever worked as a translator or interpreter yourself?
I’ve only dabbled in literary translation, although I’d like to do more in the future. As for interpreting, not at all! Part of my fascination with interpreting comes from how unbelievably complex a process it is—interpreters must be skilled linguists and virtuosic performers. I am frankly in awe of both their amazing cognitive powers and their ability to perform under intense pressure!
4. What kind of classes do you like to teach best?
I enjoy teaching a variety of classes at different levels: Research seminars offer a great opportunity to think deeply about a particular topic, but I also love the fun and excitement of working with students in the earlier stages of language learning. In its best moments, foreign language learning opens up new perspectives not only on the new language and culture, but also on your own native language and culture, too. As for particular class sessions, some of my favorites involve teaching poems. Poems prompt us to concentrate intensively on what language can do, while thinking collaboratively and building on each other’s insights. Each person brings a unique background to their reading and will see different things in a poem. You never know whose question about a particular word or line will open up a whole new perspective.
5. How would you describe your approach to German Studies?
Two things especially important to me are 1) attention to linguistic specificity and 2) a commitment to diversity, anti-racism, and decoloniality. First, it’s important to recognize that what we call things matters, and that language shapes our realities in powerful ways. There’s a difference, for example, between “overcoming” (bewältigen) the National Socialist past and “working through” it (aufarbeiten).
Second, it’s crucial that scholars and instructors in German Studies continue to diversify our field and the voices that we amplify. As we move beyond ethno-national models of what counts as “German,” we also highlight transnational connections and questions of global relevance, such as the legacies of European colonialism. In my class on “Minorities in Germany,” for example, we examined connections between German colonialism and National Socialism, as well as anthropological models of European superiority and constructions of Germanness as whiteness—two ideas rooted in the colonial period that continue to resonate into the present.
6. What’s your favorite part of campus?
I still have some exploring to do, but so far, my favorite discovery has been the bird-watching armchairs at the back of Swem’s first floor. When I sat down in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows, I was delighted to find binoculars and bird guidebooks there. What a great space to take a break!
Our International Fellows in the Language Houses just received a glowing endorsement from the Flat Hat! One of the aspects stressed in the article is the community that the IFs create in the Language Houses, community that students often miss after they move on from their freshman dorms. Check out the article and apply to live in a Language House next year!
For the first time in the history of W&M’s Language Houses, residents and International Fellows marched as a group in the Homecoming Parade! Wearing branded T-shirts and carrying banners, flags, and sugary treats, over fifty students walked from Boundary Street to Kaplan Arena, greeting the onlookers in the various languages they study. MLL faculty assembled in front of Blow Hall to cheer the Houses on. Come join us next year!
The Green Leafe Café was the site of this year’s German Studies Homecoming gathering. Over loaded french fries and spinach pizza, Profs. Jenny Taylor and Jennifer Gully got to catch up with our former students, majors, minors, and friends of the the program. It was exciting, and moving, to hear from you and all the things you are doing! Please keep in touch and visit us again at next year’s Homecoming!
This fall, MLL welcomes a new group of International Fellows (formerly: Language House Tutors)! We are excited to have Gaoussou Diarra (French House) and Chiara Di Maio (Italian House) back, and look forward to working with Claire Hao (Chinese House), Claus Heinze (German House), Celeste Cabral (Hispanic House), Rina Okada (Japanese House) and Sasha Orlova (Russian House). This year, some of the language houses have merged, and new, joint activities are being planned: Chinese and Arabic share a floor, French and Italian, and German and Russian. Stay tuned for news on MLL’s International Soccer Tournament, to take place in the Sunken Garden on October 2, 4 pm.
Victoria Park is a former Global Studies major at the College of William & Mary with a concentration in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. Although born and reared in the United States, she was often exposed to different news stories as she was growing up as well as to media in which she heard discussions about the historically contentious relationship between Korea and Japan. As she increasingly became intrigued by what she was hearing, Ms. Park decided to learn more about the relationship between those two nations. She not only furthered her knowledge of Japan and its history through William & Mary’s Japanese language courses, but she also took classes that allowed her to understand more fully the country’s historical, political, and cultural background. In the future, she hopes to utilize her skills and knowledge of both countries to assist in mending the strained relations between those two nations.
Congratulations Jordan! On April 23, 2019 Jordan Wyner defended his thesis on Narrating Public Space: Franz Kafka in Nationalized Prague with Highest Honors. Like all honors theses, it is accessible from the Swem Library catalog for all to read. Below, Jordan speaks about the writing process and doing undergraduate research:
I decided to write my honors thesis out of a desire to not only to complete a long-term research project but also to relate my interests in architectural/urban history and German literature. The summer before I started compiling texts to research the project was still ill-defined. It took a trip to Prague, Franz Kafka’s birthplace, before I realized I wanted to find the traces of the city which appear in his literature. The best advice I can give is to start researching and writing early; time management is an essential skill for the completion of a successful thesis. I was awarded grant funds and fellowships to conduct research in Berlin and Prague before my senior year. My research over the summer was essential to give shape to the overall argument I wanted to advance in the thesis as well as the topics for the individual chapters. Before my first semester of senior year started I had a nearly finished introduction and I was able to get through drafts of the first and second chapter before winter break. Writing early and often ensures that you never have to be too stressed about revisions and have enough space for further elaboration. Upon reflection, I have had to accept that the thesis will fundamentally remain an incomplete work; people often spend multiple years finishing a research project. The goal is to write something substantial, to introduce something insightful into the academic conversation, and recognize how you can expand upon your work.
Kathryn Eckler, Religious Studies ’19, spent the summer of 2017 as an intern in Vienna, Austria. At Projekt: Gemeinde International Baptist Church, she worked with refugees from Iran who were claiming asylum in Austria. Her time working with refugees inspired her to read up on questions surrounding the European Union asylum system and on the history of religious minorities in Austria. In 2018, Kathryn returned to Vienna to pursue in-depth research and to conduct interviews with the asylum seekers and the humanitarians helping them. Kathryn’s research was generously funded through the Charles Center’s Summer Research Fellowship. During her summer of research, Kathryn presented her preliminary refugee research at conferences in Sofia, Bulgaria and in Zürich, Switzerland. Her finished honors thesis, Christianity During Times of Crisis: The European Refugee Movement, received the Jack van Horn Award for the most outstanding Religious Studies honors thesis project. From start to finish, Kathryn’s research has embodied her passion for humanitarian aid, human rights, religious history, and international travel.
Living in Vienna was a fantastic experience. The Austrian-American Educational Commission Fulbright program gave me the unique opportunity to work abroad and teach English at two Bundesgymnasiums (high schools) and five grades (4th form through 8th form). My students were very eager to learn about American culture and practice for their English oral section of the Matura (graduating exam). There was not a single boring day during my tenure in Vienna. I truly looked forward to coming to work, commuting on the U-Bahn (metro) from Simmering station to Josephstädter Straße, and lesson planning. Perhaps my favorite lessons to teach were on pronunciation, where I included tongue twisters and accents, and lessons on the American school system, and American politics. Work aside, I had a couple of hobbies that I brought from the US: fencing and playing violin. Thanks to my Austrian fencing club, Fecht-Union-Mödling, I was able to compete in Munich, Brno (in the Czech Republic), Vienna, and Villach. When I was not fencing or traveling, I fiddled out on the streets and made a good amount of Trinkgeld (pocket money). Applying to Fulbright was certainly one of the best decisions I made in college. I learned so much from different cultures, made life friends and great memories! If given the chance, I would recommend applying to Fulbright in Austria! I would advise you to take advantage of the Donauinsel biking paths, ice skate in front of the Rathaus during the Christmas season, see the Hundertwasserhaus, and travel as much as possible to other Austrian cities and bordering countries of Austria since it is only a Flixbus or train ride away! Fulbright opened many doors for me – I got accepted into all three graduate programs I applied to and received several job interviews. I decided to go with a contracting government position, where I will use my translation and analytical skills.
Michelle Hermes ’18 has spent the past year as a U.S. Teaching Assistant in Austria (“Fulbright Austria”) in Wieselburg. She enjoyed her time so much that she decided to renew for a second year, and will be posted in the historical town of Klosterneuburg, right north of Vienna. This summer, she’ll be teaching English to children in Salzburg, and in the fall, she will be starting an MA Program in Politikwissenschaften at the Uni Wien.
Adelle Else is a freshman in the Class of 2022. She intends to major in either International Relations or Psychology, but holds a special interest in German Studies through her personal and academic background. From her initial exposure to the German language and culture through classes at her high school, to beginning her academic journey at W&M, she has continued her exploration of German culture through various classes in the German department. Her final research paper for Prof. Leventhal’s course on German Expressionism, “Kandinsky and Evoking Reaction in Expressionist Art,” recently won the 2019 Alexander Stephan Undergraduate Prize in German Studies. The jury found that Adelle “persuasively analyzes the manner in which Kandinsky created a new aesthetic experience to inspire an emotional and spiritual response in his audience,” and that “in beautiful prose, [she] further offers detailed readings of specific artworks, resulting in an exquisite essay.” We congratulate Adelle on this wonderful achievement!
For one week in April, the lobby in Washington Hall looked a bit like a construction site, replete with scaffolding and yellow tape. If you took the time out of your busy day, you could look up towards the ceiling, and observe the evolution of a work of art. Students in Prof. Magali Compan’s class “Contested Memories in Postcolonial Francophone Cultures” had to opportunity to learn directly from the artists Kid Kreol and Boogie. Read more here.
German Studies is proud to acknowledge the 2019 members of our German Honor Society chapter. The ceremony took place at W&M’s German House on Saturday, April 13, 2019. Our inductees, in alphabetical order, are: Grace Bruce, Manasi Deorah, Ziyi Fu, Nadege Lebert, Emily Maison, Kelsey Marshall, Meredith Radel, Patrick Salsburg, Daniel Sheaffer, Lou Sheridan. Lena Böse, our outgoing German House Tutor, has been inducted as an Honorary Member! Congratulations!
Delta Phi Alpha also provides funding opportunities for its members. Be sure to consult and apply!
Frank Shatz is a Holocaust survivor in the Williamsburg area who came to speak to the college on March 13th, 2019. During the Holocaust, Frank escaped and joined the underground Nazi resistance in Hungary, and after the Nazi regime ended, he lived under communism, moved around the world, and eventually came to Williamsburg. Shatz ended up becoming a key figure in the Williamsburg area and for the William & Mary community. He was instrumental in creating the Reves Center for International Studies, was awarded the Prentis Award, and currently serves on the Reves Center Advisory Board, among other accomplishments. Frank also authored Reports From a Distant Place and writes for the Virginia Gazette.
During his talk, Shatz analyzed his experience under both fascism and communism, how he survived, and how his family was affected by the Holocaust. Frank’s other notable points included the importance of democracy, Israel and the Jews, and speaking up for marginalized groups.
On Friday, April 12th, graduating seniors, theirs friends, and faculty gathered to attend the inaugural MLL Research Showcase. Eight students from the Chinese, French and Francophone, German, Hispanic, Italian, and Russian Studies Programs presented on projects they had been working on for the past year and more. Posters featuring images that illustrate their arguments and research results were set up in the Washington Hall lobby for the many people passing by to read.
The presentation titles give a sense of MLL students’ far-reaching interests and expertise: Sarah Baker, “Beyond the Iron Curtain: Examining Eastern Europe through a Post-Colonial Lens,” Melanie Carter, “Identity in Flux: Gender Norms and the English Language in Today’s Ukraine,” Molly Charles, “Deconstructing Patriarchal War Narratives: State Myth-Making and the Documentary Prose of Svetlana Alexievich,” Jordan Wyner, “Narrating Public Space: Kafka in Nationalized Prague,” Brenna Cowardin, “Women Imprisoned in Paper: How Presas de Papel Restores Agency to Women Prisoners of the Franco Era,” Sarah Lettau, “Je Suis Harki: Les Sphères de la Mémoire Harkie,” Emily Pearson-Beck, “Identity and Belonging: Chinese Immigration to Argentina,” Erin Kitchens, “Interactions between Locals and Asylum Seekers in Siena, Italy.”
We hope to see you at next year’s Showcase!
MLL is honored to have received both of the 2019 Jefferson Faculty Awards. Silvia Tandeciarz, Chair of MLL and Professor of Hispanic Studies, is the recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Award, and Jennifer Gülly, Senior Lecturer and MLL Associate Chair of Departmental Affairs, has received the Thomas Jefferson Teaching Award. The award ceremony took place on January 31st, and both will also be recognized at the Charter Day celebrations on February 8th. In her acceptance speech, Gully emphasized the potentiality of the foreign language classroom to foster a critical view of students’ o
wn language and culture, and the rewards of the hard work that students put into language learning every day. Tandeciarz spoke about the legacy of Perón’s populist politics in Argentina and what we might learn from it for the future of higher education in the United States:
“We face extraordinary challenges and also some uncertainty about what the future of higher education holds, and these challenges are not divorced from those posed by the rapidly changing structural, economic, social, and political conditions manifesting in our country and, indeed, across the globe. And yet, as we stand on this threshold, I want to direct our attention to the tremendous opportunities this moment also holds. WE are the ones, after all, whose labor will determine how to pave a way forward: and I trust that we will do so together, by continuing to defend the values we hold dear, by working for greater inclusion, representation, and equity, and by recognizing the vital role institutions of higher learning can play in a healthy, thriving democracy.”
Jennifer Gully, Senior Lecturer of German, received the 2019 Jefferson Teaching Award at a ceremony on January 31. The Thomas Jefferson Teaching Award is a tribute to several members of the faculty who influenced and encouraged Thomas Jefferson. The award is intended to recognize today’s teachers on the faculty. It is made annually to a younger teaching member of the William & Mary community who has demonstrated, through concern as a teacher and through character and influence, the inspiration and stimulation of learning to the betterment of the individual and society as exemplified by Thomas Jefferson. Continue here
Silvia Tandeciarz, Chair of Modern Languages & Literatures and Professor of Hispanic Studies, received the 2019 Jefferson Award at a ceremony on January 31. The Thomas Jefferson Award is given each year to a member of the William & Mary family for significant service through his or her personal activities, influence and leadership. Read about Prof. Tandeciarz’ research, teaching, and service here.
How has your first semester at William & Mary been?
It’s been fantastic. Everybody assured me I’d be amazed by the students, and it’s true. It’s tough to learn the new ways of an institution but the students have made it easy: they are highly engaged, on the ball, insightful … I know I can come to the classroom with new ideas and they can think through a problem on the spot, in class discussion. They are remarkable.
Also, the colleagues have been great here, genuine in their offers of support. So many people have come forward and offered their piece of support from their expertise. From all these individual people, I as a newcomer have cumulatively been offered a lot of time and expertise. There’s a generosity of spirit here.
How did you become interested in linguistics?
My family was Spanish-speaking. I heard it growing up, and my first spark of interest in language was when I started seeing bilingual speech practices on TV (in particular The Cosby Show where the mother spoke Spanish on the phone to her friends – I realized what she was doing was worthy of notice). I was young, but that stayed with me. I ended up going to Puerto Rico, to where my grandparents had returned. I saw things that explained to me why my family did what it did and I wanted to communicate with them to find out more, but they were losing their English and I didn’t really speak Spanish. So at 14, I started taking formal Spanish classes in high school (I had been taking Latin before). In college, I planned to go into business but I had some internships that made me realize that business wasn’t for me. I loved languages and found out there was a field called linguistics, and I ended up majoring in Spanish. In my last year of college I got into research and decided to apply to grad school. It was a natural progression, over many years, but the spark came early, from that TV show.
What type of classes do you enjoy teaching the most?
I like keeping my fingers in a range of classes, both highly theoretical and applied ones. They have a lot to offer to each other. I like teaching classes that have a defined goal, where the student produces something creatively that can be applied to the world, where the student can have a sense of accomplishment. For instance, in a class like Teaching Methodologies – students create a personal portfolio, and learn how to plan lessons; concrete and usable products are produced. I also enjoy bringing to bear the findings of linguistics to applied fields like teacher training.
In general, I like teaching classes where students to do their own creative research that would fit into the 3-month span of the semester. (This is actually a feature that I like to incorporate into linguistics and upper level Spanish classes.) I ask students about the questions they want their project to answer and consult individually with them on these projects during the semester.
What I want to work on next is developing training modules and resources for the students who in the future will be working with me in my language lab: Interviewing persons, maintaining social media, data analysis, … Students come with different areas of interest, so developing materials particular to the ways in which they will participate with me is where I’m focused now.
What is the focus of your research? What projects are you working on right now?
My focus is on Spanish in the U.S. and how it changes when it comes into contact with English, either with monolinguals in a community or within the individual. My past research has dealt with lexical borrowings and the extent to which they appear in speech and how they are distributed. What are the chances that these borrowings become a part of the language and are not seen as borrowings anymore? It’s also about who would practice these borrowings, and the perception of what types of individuals would engage in language mixing. For example., middle class Spanish speakers in New York City engage in more borrowing than the working class, and of course the second gen more than the first. For my current research, I am working on Spanish in eastern Virginia. I am interested in an understudied aspect regarding the system of prepositions and how it changes when it comes into contact with English. I want to look at change in the semantics of these systems. Do these changes also subtly communicate something about identity? I expect that Spanish here changes more in unconscious ways, and possibly less in terms of borrowed lexical items.
Any advice or words of wisdom for students starting Spanish this year?
Language learning is a lifelong practice and takes a lot of time. Also, human beings are amazing: when we ask a question earnestly, we get an answer. Any question a person asks will get answered. So I tell my students: Keep asking questions. An answer may come after many hours or years of pursuing it, but an answer always comes.
(This story appeared previously here.)
Stephen Sheehi, Sultan Qaboos bin Said Chair of Middle East Studies and director of the Asian and Middle East Studies program, organized the “Great W&M Asia Cook Off.” He brought in celebrity chef Katsuya Fukushima, chef and co-owner of Daikaya-Izakaya, Haikan and Bantam King, and restaurateur Yama Jewayni, co-owner of Daikaya-Izakaya, Haikan, Bantam King and more, to judge the cooking competition between two of his classes, Arab 150: The History of Arab Food and AMES 385: AMES-APIA East Asia Think Tank.
“It was basically a dream team of the award-winning chef and the award-winning restaurateur all coming together,” said Sheehi.
The East Asia Think Tank class is a required part of the Freeman East Asia Fellowship program at W&M, which was established through a grant from the Freeman Foundation to the Asian and Middle East Studies Program and the Asian and Pacific Islander American Studies Program. That grant enabled 20 students to participate in internships in East Asia last summer; all of those Freeman Fellows are in the think tank class this fall. The Freeman Foundation recently provided the university $100,000 to support a second year of the internships.
With 12 groups comprised of three students each, Sheehi tasked each group to include the secret ingredient — eggplant — into their dishes. But that wasn’t where their endeavor ended.
“Part of what I’m also trying to do is experiential,” said Sheehi, referring to the educational aspect of the competition. He taught his students about the history, geographical route and cultural significance of dishes in each respective region of the world.
“I think that’s really how I started off the class, saying that what you sit in front of you, you have a whole historical trajectory behind that dish. You have a whole economic configuration behind that dish,” said Sheehi. “We started off with that precept, why not finish off with that?”
Anna Horáková joined our faculty this fall. I asked her a few questions about her research and her teaching:
How did you become interested in the field of German Studies? When did you start learning German?
I was born in Brno in what back then was Czechoslovakia, about eighty miles away from Vienna. When I was born, however, the two cities were divided by the Iron Curtain, which of course also divided Czechoslovakia from Germany, so the German language and German-speaking culture were both quite close and very far. To me they represented a parallel world. But the real interest in German Studies began for me when I started pursuing my undergraduate degree in England. During my studies there I became acquainted with aesthetics and continental philosophy, and realized that German – with its language, literature, and philosophy – stood at the crossroads of my interests.
Tell us something about the main focus of your research, and why you think it is relevant for today?
My research looks at poets and artists whom one could call dissidents under the really existing socialist conditions of East Germany. What I found in archives and in interviewing these authors – most of them are still alive – is that while they were not singing the country’s praises and, in fact, often experienced state repression, they did not necessarily wish to abolish the East German project wholesale and were interested in the horizon of possibilities it had opened up. By this I mean that they saw in the socialist project a potential to build a society that would combine active solidarity with the possibility of individual fulfillment. The reason why this is compelling for us today is because we need to remind ourselves that the way we organize our life in common is not the only way possible. There is a widespread concern about the state of the world today and the direction that the economy is taking, including how it affects social and environmental conditions. Personally, I don’t believe in things being determined to have failed from the beginning, and that it is more interesting to interpret a phenomenon from a dynamic perspective, rather than its end.
What are some of the favorite topics you like to teach? How do you explain German culture to your U.S. students?
Generally, I try to get a variety of students in U.S. institutions acquainted with thought patterns with which they are not necessarily familiar. However, I don’t view teaching modern languages and literatures as bringing one culture to another, but as opening up a space where the language and culture of German-speaking areas provide a gateway to the multiplicity of voices that can be heard within it. For instance, I often assign works by German-speaking authors who write in German but who were born elsewhere, such as authors with migration backgrounds or from German-speaking minorities outside of the German-speaking countries – and thus push us to reconsider what we may have come to expect of German literature and culture. In other words, it’s not all sauerkraut and beer!
What do you think about W&M so far?
It’s a wonderful place to work! Collegiate, friendly, and supportive, with fantastic students who care about what they study, not to mention our beautiful campus. Recently I discovered the trails around Lake Matoaka and I can’t wait to see the forest in different seasons!
Thank you, Anna!
Lena Böse, our German House Tutor, has organized a series of events around the German Fairy Tale tradition. I asked her a few questions on how she came to be so interested in this topic:
Lena, what is your connection to fairy tales? When do you sit down with a book of fairy tales? Do you have a favorite?
Fairy tales were a big part of my childhood. I did not grow up in a house with a lot of books, and it was only when we were older that my brother and I owned a book fairy tales. I still remember being more interested in the colorful illustrations than actually reading the tales, which I knew by heart by then. The way I first experienced fairy tales was actually through the traditional way of oral storytelling. I can distinctly remember sitting at the dinner table one night and asking my grandmother to tell me the fairy tale Frau Holle. Whenever she got to the ending, I asked her to start over again. This is such a fond memory that Frau Holle is still my favorite fairy tale. I hope that I will get a chance to sit down and read some fairy tales over Thanksgiving. Princeton University published a new translation of the original Grimm fairy tale collection in 2014, which is beautifully illustrated in silhouette style, and I hope to finally sit down and fully enjoy reading some of the tales in English for the first time.
Have you explored the fairy tale tradition from an academic angle or from an artistic one?
Sadly, I have not yet had a chance to look at fairy tales from an academic perspective, even though I find them highly fascinating. There is a rich tradition in illustrating fairy tales, which I would love to explore. When I wrote a paper about an illustrated children’s edition of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, I was struck by the similarities to fairy tales. Today, fairy tales are, similar to picture books, categorized foremost among books for children. However, like Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, the fairy tales as recorded by the brothers Grimm in the first edition of their Kinder- und Hausmärchen are much more erotic and violent in content than the tales as we know them from our childhood. The publication history of fairy tales and the fact that there are so many versions of the same tale both within a language context like German and across cultures is highly intriguing to me as well. As for the artistic side – I am much looking forward to making a fairy tale themed board for German Studies at Washington Hall (3rd floor) soon!
How do you compare U.S. students’ take on fairy tales to you own or that of German students? When teaching with fairy tales here at W&M, have you experienced any unexpected reactions?
What I find striking about U.S. students’ experiences with fairy tales is that most students have only one or two points of exposure to fairy tales that they can recall. Many have seen Disney versions of fairy tales when they were younger, others have only come across fairy tales more recently in movies, TV series or musicals (such as Once Upon a Time, or Into the Woods). German students have a much broader experience with fairy tales because it is such a big part of growing up. Germany also has a long, ongoing tradition of making 60-minute long, live-action fairy tale films, which goes back to the 1950s. While tales like Frau Holle or Schneewittchen (Snow White) are well-known and most Germans would be able to tell these to their children at a moment’s notice, what the films accomplish is to popularize many of the lesser known fairy tales, such as Die Gänsemagd (The Goose Girl) or Das singende, klingende Bäumchen (The Singing Tree). When I showed clips of these kinds of films during an introduction to fairy tale event at the German House, the students were amazed at the films – both for the use of German, which does sound a bit antiquated in the older films, as well as for being much more liberal with nudity (as many German movies are). In fact, many of the older German fairy tale films that I remember watching as a child were quite dark and did not gloss over topics such as death or violent punishments. I think it is probably this stark contrast to the Disney versions that is the most interesting to students in the U.S.
The Virginia Governor’s Foreign Language Academies are summer language immersion programs sponsored by the Virginia Department of Education, allowing Virginia’s most talented language learners to further explore their interests in world languages and cultures outside of the typical classroom. The full immersion academies, hosted at Washington & Lee University, provide students with the opportunity to speak exclusively in the target languages of French, German, or Spanish for three weeks. Some of my fondest high school memories stem from my time as an Academy student. Here, I was able to share in my passion for the German language with 44 other students, many of whom would become some of my closest friends. This past summer, I had the privilege of working as a “Betreuer,” or RA, at the 2018 German Academy. By returning to the Academy this year, I was not only able to practice my own language skills, but also given a chance to witness the tremendous impact world language learning has on high school students.
I believe that fostering student growth through ordinary interactions is something that makes foreign language learning truly unique. While this concept is extremely valuable in the typical classroom, it is especially applicable to the Foreign Language Academy experience. Students at the Academy practice the language by ordering breakfast, chatting between classes, playing board games, and sharing dorm space. These activities allow them to become comfortable in the language, all the while discretely reinforcing grammar rules, vocabulary, and cultural context. From a pedagogical perspective, this sense of normalcy and comfort provided by the Academy environment plays an important role in limiting typical affective factor obstacles to language learning. Every student leaves the Academy with newfound skills and strengths, many of which they continue to incorporate into their language learning once they return to school. By providing students with this incredible opportunity to gain confidence in their language skills, the Virginia Department of Education is not only enhancing the education of our young language learners, but empowering an entire generation of global citizens. It is my sincere hope that the Virginia Governor’s Foreign Language Academies continue to receive funding and inspire students for many years to come.
Introducing our 2018-2019 Language House Tutors:
Traveling from all corners of the world, our tutors arrived at W&M on August 17th. The Language House Advisors prepared a welcome brunch for everybody to get to know each other! Our tutors clockwise from the left: Lena Böse (returning), Li Zhao (returning), Juan Hidalgo, Zoia Maslennikova (returning), Chiara di Maio, Gaoussou Diarra, Kaoru Suzuki.
Gabriella has received a prestigious U.S. Teaching Assistantship to Vienna, Austria. She will also be continuing her fencing training there as she works on qualifying for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Congratulations!
Cierra Filla has received a prestigious U.S. Teaching Assistantship (USTA – Fulbright in Austria) to teach at a secondary school in Linz! Cierra is excellently prepared, having been a teaching assistant for German Studies at W&M for more than two years. Congratulations!
Meredith Wolf will be teaching English at the Staatliches Gymnasium “Albert Schweitzer” in Erfurt. She has already gained valuable teaching experience as a TA in the German Studies section at W&M, and we are confident she will excel in her new position! Herzlichen Glückwunsch und Alles Gute! More info here.
Jack Weaver, a History Major and German Studies Minor, will be teaching English in the picturesque town of Lustenau, Vorarlberg. For more information on the Fulbright/USTA program, go here. Herzlichen Glückwunsch und Alles Gute!
Jessica Armstrong ’17 has received a Fulbright Research Grant to pursue graduate study in chemistry at the Universität zu Köln/University of Cologne. She had been the recipient of a DAAD Rise Fellowship in 2016. Read more about her application process here: http://peerscholarshipadvisors.blogs.wm.edu/2017/04/10/fulbright-awardee-profile-jessica-armstrong/. Herzlichen Glückwunsch!
This year’s induction of new members into the German Honor Society Delta Phi Alpha took place on April 21, 2017. Language House Advisor Jennifer M. Gully and German House Tutor Kim Mutmann officiated the ceremony. Afterwards, we had a delicious Abendbrot with belegte Brote, Apfelschorle, and Apfelkuchen. Our inductees from left to right: E. E. J. Asplund, Stephen Holt, Anna Morgan Shackelford, Rui Yin, Meredith Ann Wolf, and Shihao Du. Not included are Vitaliy Humenyuk and Honorary Member Kim Mutmann.
This past winter break, I had the opportunity to go to Göttingen, Germany, after proposing a research project revolving around the African and African American or multicultural experiences of college or high school students. Alongside my research, I posted daily on my blog. Professor Jenny Taylor and Professor Anne Hudley sponsored and supported my trip. During my time in Göttingen I studied at the Goethe Institut, where I participated in a 2-week intensive language course to help build upon my German. The teacher was excellent and I highly recommend the Goethe Institut programs abroad. The accommodation there was very nice as well; it included apartment style living. The Institut also offered weekly excursions and local event trips. I went on an excursion to Efurt, a nearby town. I also visited the University of Göttingen Ethnology Museum. My favorite part of being in Göttingen was going out around the city center with my classmates. Overall, my German has definitely improved and I love and miss Göttingen. Currently, I am planning on taking a Human IRB class which will allow me to continue my research and conduct recorded interviews. I hope to return to Germany soon to collect more data for my project!
Over the summer between my junior and senior years at William & Mary, I completed a chemistry research internship at the University of Cologne through the DAAD RISE program. Throughout the summer, I worked with a PhD student who advised my project. Every morning, I met with him to discuss my goals for the day and then set up any reactions that I needed to run. Because each reaction stirred for several hours, I often left them running over our lunch break.
My lab group went to lunch at the Mensa every day at 11:30AM. Most days, our group leader joined us, providing me with an excellent opportunity to get tips for conducting my research as well as travelling around Cologne and other German cities. Our trip to the Mensa quickly became an integral part of my day.
After lunch, I returned to the lab, finished up the reaction I was running, and worked it up so that the product could be stored overnight until I returned the next morning. Often, at the end of the workday, I simply hopped on a train back to my apartment, prepared dinner for myself, and planned out the upcoming weekend’s excursion to another city. However, my favorite memories from my time in Cologne are times when I deviated from routine and met up with other interns to have dinner, drink a Kölsch, watch a Fußball game, and hang out. It was one of these evenings that I discovered Döner Kebap—the sandwich that has taken Germany by storm and stolen my heart.
Apart from my evenings exploring Cologne, I have incredible memories of all of the weekends I spent travelling in Germany. I competed in a half marathon in Hamburg, learned about Germany’s long history in Berlin, and sampled Bavarian sausages and pretzels in Munich. By the end of the summer, I felt confident that, if dropped in any random city, I could figure things out. Though I did experience some challenges both in research and while travelling during my summer in Germany, each challenge forced me to learn life lessons that I never could have learned in a classroom.
I am a junior majoring in German Studies at William and Mary. I am currently spending a year abroad studying Germanistik at the Westfaelische Wilhelms Universitaet in Muenster. Last year, I realized I would need to be proactive about improving my language skills before coming to school this Fall. I first applied to William and Mary summer programs in Germany, but quickly realized these programs were not financially sustainable for me. I immediately began searching for other options, and I came across a program called WWOOF. WWOOF (World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) provides its members volunteer opportunities working and living on organic farms. This means you work with a family for free, in exchange for food and stay.
This program sounded great for me. I could live in Germany for the summer, stay active and outdoors, and work on my language, all for the price of a plane ticket (plus some spending money). I started emailing families in the beginning of the Spring, and by the time the school year ended I was set up to work on two farms in Germany for the Summer! I decided to split time between two farms in June and July, one in the north of Germany and one in the south, to expose myself to different dialects. I ended up having amazing experiences on both farms. Some of the highlights include: Living with and bonding with families and fellow WWOOFers, taking care of farm animals (sheep, goats, chickens, etc.), landscaping, starting a new garden, learning to cook more for myself, traveling locally, experiencing a new landscape, canoeing, fishing, and of course improving my German.
- Start emailing early and often. Farms are receiving emails all the time and can only take so many people at a time. Getting connected early also gives time to set up what you will expect of each other as Host and Guest. Emailing in German also helps.
- (Maybe the most important part)
EXPECTATIONS: There should be no confusion about the living situation, amount and type of work expected, free time, etc. Remember that this program is completely voluntary on both ends. If one side is not meeting the expectations that were set, then either party has the right to end things.
- Try to find a farm with other WWOOFers or bring a friend! Farm life can become slow at times if you are the only person your age or the only one working every day. It would have been so much fun if I brought a friend, but the other WWOOFers and families I met were amazing and I learned about a variety of different cultures.
- Have an open mind! There were times when, due to language or cultural barriers, misunderstandings arose. Be understanding and know that things are not always how they initially appear.
On October 27, 2016, our very own Professor of German Studies Bruce Campbell had to honor of giving William and Mary’s Fall 2016 Tack Lecture. To a raucous audience outfitted with black fedoras and party whistles, Professor Campbell described the unique historical context of German detective fiction. “The Detective is (not) a Nazi” explained the fact that during the Nazi era the police functioned as murderers in the name of the state, and how this specific legacy affected received notions of the detective genre and necessitated adaptions for the German literary market. Strategies that writers took included setting their stories outside of Germany or creating detective figures who did not resemble the stereotype: female, gay, much older or much younger that your generic film or TV sleuth. And in contrast to the U.S. tradition especially, the fictional German detectives are largely quiet and law-abiding: “The bottom line here is … after Auschwitz, you couldn’t write a violent German detective,” Professor Campbell said. The lecture, which was broadcast via YouTube, ended with a reception serving up tasty pretzels, bratwurst with mustard, and hot cider!
Campbell was later interviewed about the topic on the NPR show “With Good Reason.”