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!
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
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
German Studies Visiting Assistant Professor Anna Horakova has received two grants to conduct research over the summer, one from Women in German (WiG) and one from the Max Kade Foundation. The research grant from WiG is to expand her published article on Christa Wolf into a more fully fledged book chapter with new archival research. The Max Kade Research Grant will be used to conduct research in the Contemporary German Literature Collection at Washington University, St Louis on contemporary German-language asylum and migration literature. Congratulations Anna!
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
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.
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!
I took German for the first time my freshman year and had the opportunity to study abroad twice. My experience at the University of Potsdam, led by our own German Studies program, showed me both the challenges and the opportunities of language learning. I met some of my best friends, both from William and Mary and abroad, and this experience led me to spend six months in Berlin with IES. Here, I enrolled in two courses at Humboldt University, enjoyed an internship in Sustainable Planning over the summer, and grew exponentially in my ability to speak and understand German. The support and knowledge that I have gained from the German Studies program at W&M ultimately allowed me to achieve the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Berlin, Germany, where I will spend my next year. Additionally, I will be pursuing my Master’s in Historical Urban Design at the Technical University of Berlin.
Michelle Hermes is graduating as a Government and German Studies double major at the College, and hascompleted an honors thesis in the Government department. Through William & Mary’s German Studies Program, she has worked as a teaching assistant and a grading assistant for the department at the German 101-202 level. Through these experiences, she had the opportunity to form close relationships with many of her professors. With Professor Jennifer Gully’s encouragement, she applied for and was accepted to the Austrian Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship program for the 2018-2019 academic year. Since she did not have the opportunity to formally study abroad, she is looking forward to the experience of returning to Europe. After my year in Austria, she hopes to attend law school in the United States and work in international law.
Working with Refugees in Vienna
Kathryn Eckler (Religious Studies, Minor in Biology, ’19)
The past year has been a profound international adventure. In February, I was presented with the opportunity of serving as an intern with an international Baptist Church in Vienna, Austria. Projekt: Gemeinde is a Baptist Church that serves Middle-Eastern Refugees, Latino populations, and local German speaking families and students. Not only would this be an international experience in Austria, I would be working with people from all over the Globe..
I was stationed in Vienna for a total of two months. My duties as an intern included teaching theology courses for Iranian and Afghani refugees. On the average week, I would teach between thirty to sixty refugees. I taught in English, and my lessons were translated into Farsi or German. In addition to teaching, I also helped to meet the physical needs of the people around me. One of the church buildings was under construction, so I would cook lunches for the men working on the project. Gathering around a table with Europe’s refugees provided me with a humbling perspective. I came to appreciate those who have survived times of crisis, and I learned how to care for those who feel ostracized by society.
My experience in Austria has led me to consider the impact that I can have on society. As a Religious Studies Major, I will continue to create awareness for the intersections between Christianity and times of global crisis.
Working on a Sustainable Farm in Swabia
Sebastian Viscuso (German Studies and International Relations ’19)
In planning my study abroad, I wanted to have as many new experiences with the German language as possible. Since my study abroad ended after only 6 weeks, I decided to investigate other options for either studying or working while overseas. My research led me to WWOOF, an international educational organization dedicated to supporting worldwide, sustainable agriculture. WWOOF provides its members with a list of organic farms that need labor. I ended up living at Schwalbenhof, a small farm in Baden-Württemberg. On the farm I felt less like a worker and more like a member of a small, tight-knit community. Everyone who lived there participated in the daily work, ate meals family-style, and went on excursions together. While I learned a tremendous amount of German in this immersion environment, I also learned real skills such as harvesting, planting, weeding, herding animals, washing vegetables, and working at farmers markets. I would absolutely recommend this type of study abroad as an option for anyone looking to gain life-long memories and learn some German along the way.
Gabrielle Hibbert (German Studies, Honors, ’17) has just accepted a position as a researcher/intern at the Library of Congress’ European Division (mainly working within the Russian, German, and Rare Books Sections). She will be working at LoC for the duration of my gap year. The director liked her honors thesis so much so that she will be helping to create and organize their punk section within the Soviet sphere. Additionally, they want Gabi to catalog her experience in a blog format for them.
Thomas Bettge (German Studies, ’14) checked in with us. Here is what he reported:
I matriculated at Penn State’s Dickinson Law School in 2014. My background in German Studies enabled me to secure work the following summer with one of my professors, who was completing a dissertation comparing the horizontal dimension of constitutional rights in German, Canadian, and American law, and needed a research assistant capable of working with legal academic literature published in German.
During my second year, I discovered an interest in tax law. My undergraduate experience naturally led me in the direction of international tax, and in addition to completing coursework in that area, I secured a summer position after my second year with a transfer pricing group, helping multinational clients to navigate tax disputes and invoke tax treaty protections when the IRS and a foreign tax authority disagree on pricing matters. After graduation, I joined the same group of attorneys as an associate, married my fiancée of almost six years, and moved to Houston.
Application for Fulbright Research Fellowships or Fulbright Teaching Assistantships are due September 6! If you are thinking of applying, please go to http://www.wm.edu/sites/scholarships/scholarshipsfellowshipsawards/byPurpose/openToInternationalStudents/fulbright/index.php, or speak with Prof. Jenny Taylor.
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.
Gabriella Hibbert successfully defended her Honors Thesis Alternative Notions of Dissent: Punk Rock’s Significance in the Soviet Union and East Germany in April 2017.
Her thesis asserts that the initial punk rock movements of the United States and Great Britain served as a foundation for the Soviet Punk and Ostrock movements of the Soviet Union and East Germany. Although the movements of the U.S. and Great Britain helped shape the Soviet Punk and Ostrock scenes, those movements incorporated their own cultural traditions, adding to the complexity of the international punk rock scene as a whole. Hibbert conducted two cases studies on the seminal bands of the Soviet Punk movement— Grazhdanskaia Oborona (“Civil Defense”) and the Ostrock movement, Zwitschermaschine (“Whirring Machine”). These two movements in Soviet-led regions effectively functioned as the beginnings of a societal perestroika, ushering in a bottom-up social revolution.
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.”
Bruce B. Campbell , Class of 1964 Term Associate Professor of German Studies and Fellow of the Center for the Liberal Arts, was awarded a 2016 Plumeri Award for Faculty Excellence. He received his PhD. in European Diplomatic History from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has been at the College since 1999, and along with his academic appointment in German Studies, he has taught in European Studies, History and Literary and Cultural Studies. He is a past Associate Chair of Modern Languages and Literatures and a past Program Director of European Studies. He currently serves as German Studies Program Director and as a Fellow of the Center for the Liberal Arts. He has authored one monograph and two edited volumes, as well as numerous articles. He publishes in both German Studies and German History on such diverse topics as The Nazi Stormtroopers, the German Youth Movement, German Detective Fiction and Radio. He is particularly appreciated on campus for his mentoring of students to apply for Fulbright and other major international fellowships. He gave the Fall 2016 Tack Faculty Lecture on German Detective Fiction, and later appeared in an interview on the NPR show “With Good Reason”.
Erin Duffin (German Studies, 2014)
“After graduating from William & Mary in 2014, I moved to Stuttgart, Germany to be an au pair for a family there. I spent about a year in Baden-Württemberg getting to know the Schwaben (Swabians, the people who come from the area around Stuttgart), before moving to Berlin in July, 2015. Here in Berlin, I work as a freelance copy writer and editor. I live in a little garden house, called a Schrebergarten, with my roommate, who was previously my host when I studied at the Universität Potsdam in Summer 2013.
At the moment, I don’t have any hard and fast plans for the future besides staying in Berlin (which is very Berlin-ish, to be honest). I’m enjoying living the Berlin life, and getting to know people from all over the world (although most of my friends are either from England or moved to Berlin from Stuttgart, funnily enough).
I love living in Germany. I get along very well with Germans, and I feel very much at home here. Their way of life is perfect for me. It can be challenging at times, because there can be a bit of a cultural divide, and dealing with the bureaucracy is never easy. But it’s all worth it when you know you have lifelong friends here, and enjoy where you live and what you do.
For anyone thinking of moving to Europe, I say… give it a try! No one says you have to stay here forever, so just give it a year, and see what you think. In my case, one year has now turned into two… and I don’t see myself leaving any time soon. Living in Europe is such a wonderful experience. You get to meet people from all over the world, there’s always something happening, and traveling to other European countries is a breeze. So if you want to try something completely new, and are looking for a grand new adventure, give it a shot! You have absolutely nothing to lose.”
Tilghman Goldsborough (Philosophy, 2013)
Since graduating in 2013, Tilghman Goldsborough has been busy pursuing a variety of jobs, first in his hometown of Richmond, Va. and now in Germany, and he has plans to start graduate school in Germany soon. A Philosophy major, Tilghman became interested in Germany after taking part in the W&M Potsdam Program the summer after graduation. For almost a year now, he has been living as an au pair with a family in the suburbs of Stuttgart, tutoring the children and helping them improve their English. He has also had some of his poems published in an on-line literary magazine! After finishing his year with the family, he plans to pursue a Master’s Degree in American Studies at a German university. He says that, while the language still presents some challenges, he really likes the honesty of the Germans because you usually know where you stand with people there. He has regular contact with two other W&M graduates, one of whom lives in Stuttgart and studies at the University of Tubingen, and the other lives in Berlin. His advice to W&M graduates who might be thinking of moving to Germany is to “treat it like you’re moving anywhere new where you don’t really know anyone (or the language).” He suggests having a plan (and staying on top of the visa rules and regulations) but also staying open to opportunities that come up. Finally, Tilghman says to have fun and meet people. Living abroad “can be persistently low-key terrifying, but make the most of whatever it is you’re doing; the world is your oyster, und so weiter.”
Lisa Laird (European Studies and German Studies, ’13)
Lisa checked in with us halfway into her Fulbright ETA:
“I have been working as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) for eight months now and am beginning to find a comfortable spot on the scale of exciting foreigner to part of the woodwork. This year has been a fantastic lesson in creativity and spontaneity, jumping between the roles of living dictionary, private tutor, leading a crusade on proper comma usage, and running entire classes by myself. This week, I’ve been holding mock American Presidential elections in my 8th grade classes. A sample of 59 thirteen-year-olds would elect Hillary Clinton, who came in five points ahead of Bernie Sanders. Cruz followed with 13% of the vote and Trump (a name received by much laughter and jeering in the classroom) tied with write-ins for Turkey’s perhaps-not-so-humanitarian President Erdoğan—two votes each.
To compliment my 15-hour workweeks, I have been offering private tutoring and editing sessions, volunteering at the local animal shelter, and taking advantage of many travel opportunities such a central location offers. Should anyone have the opportunity, I highly recommend enjoying fika and kardemummabullar (cardamom rolls) on a snowy winter’s day in Sweden.
It’s hard to believe that the school year is almost over. After a short summer divided between Germany, the Netherlands, England, Wales, and the United States, I’ll be heading back to Europe in the autumn to start a year-long MSc in European Politics at the London School of Economics. In order to stay active academically, I am partaking in a MOOC on the upcoming Scottish and Welsh elections run by the University of Edinburgh and Cardiff University—a fantastic course for any devolution nerds!”
Author of Writing and Rewriting the Holocaust: Narrative and the Consequences of Interpretation (1988), The Texture of Memory: Holocaust Memorials and Meaning (1993), and At Memory’s Edge: Afterimages of the Holocaust in Art and Architecture (2002), James E. Young is the one of the preeminent scholars of Holocaust and Memory Studies in the world. His teaching, writing and public engagement have been concerned primarily with post-war literary, artistic, architectural, cinematographic and memorial responses to the Nazi genocide of the Jews. Professor Young taught Rob Leventhal’s Freshman Seminar Responses to the Holocaust on Art Spiegelman’s MAUS and delivered a lecture on his current research/book project: The Stages of Memory, the making of the 9/11 Memorial.
Helmut Puff, Professor of German, History, Women’s Studies, and affiliate in the History of Art and in the Program in History and Anthropology at the University of Michigan, is one of the most innovative voices in German Studies, Early Modern History, Gender and Queer Studies, the History of Sexualities, and Media Studies today. His work is characterized by its far-reaching interdisciplinarity, its precise philological and textual analyses, its nuanced grasp of terms and their uses, and an astonishing breadth of knowledge of the institutions and the social, legal, political and medial contexts within which such terms are deployed. Helmut Puff is the author of Lust, Angst und Provokation: Homosexualität in der Gesellschaft (1993); Von dem schlüssel aller Künsten / nemblich der Grammatica”: Deutsch im lateinischen Grammatikunterricht, 1480-1560 (1995); Sodomy in Reformation Germany and Switzerland, 1400-1600 (2003); and Miniature Monuments: Modeling Destruction and German History (2014) in addition to numerous edited volumes, book chapters, and articles. At W&M, he spoke on his new book project, Towards a History of Waiting, and led a workshop in German on Textuality and Visuality around 1500.
Jacqui Sorg (German Studies and Linguistics, ’16) has received full support in the form of fellowships and teaching assistantships in the Department of Germanic Studies at Indiana University for the Fall. She is the recipient of the prestigious Max Kade Fellowship her first year, after which she will receive full TA support and a dissertation-writing fellowship — seven full years of support total. Of her experience at W&M, Jacqui writes:
“My foray into German Studies at William & Mary has been fast-paced and thoroughly rewarding: after my first year I enrolled in the six-week summer abroad program in Potsdam where I tested into the more advanced course and subsequently went on to more advanced literary courses in the following semesters despite beginning to study German at university. I found equal traction in the considerable scope of Linguistics (from social to psychological to theoretical). It was immediately evident that I enjoyed discussing socio-linguistics but my real ambitions were sparked in syntax and phonology which appealed to the early ich-laut challenge: How does one say ‘tschechisches streichholzschächtelchen’? The invaluable time I’ve spent at the College of William & Mary is defined not just by the academic material but also by the community of engaged faculty and enthusiastic classmates and teammates. Such an environment so fully outfitted to tackle the challenge of the ever curious mind, it has been a beautiful chapter of my life and has sketched an inspired picture of where my next steps lead.”
German Studies, with the generous support of American Studies, Africana Studies, English and European Studies hosted independent scholar Michael Saman, who received his Ph.D. from Harvard, and has taught at William and Mary, Brown, Princeton, UCLA and, most recently, The College of the Holy Cross. He is well-known for his expertise on Goethe and Goethezeit, philosophy and literature, and Modern German Thought. He has received awards from ACLS, the Fulbright Commission, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Goethe Society. He has co-edited, with Charlotte Szilaghyi and Sabrina Rahman, Imagining Blackness in Germany and Austria (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012), and is currently preparing his book Peculiar Analogues: Goethe as a Reader of Kant for publication. He has many articles already published, forthcoming and in progress — on Schiller and Hegel, Leopold Sedar Senghor, Goethe and the origins of structuralism, Constructions of Kant and Goethe in German Intellectual Culture at the beginning of the 20th century, just to name a few. Michael presented “On Faust and the Souls of Black Folk: Goethe, W.E.B Du Bois and the Ethics of Progress.”
Congratulations to the Graduating Class of 2015! From the left, Lisa Laird (German Studies and European Studies), Mike Crumplar, Helene Melke, and Tyler Bembenek (German Studies and IR).
German House Tutor Kim Mutmann joins the German Studies Program this year from the Wilhelms-Westfaelische Universitaet Muenster, where she received her M.A. in “National and Transnational Studies: Literature, Culture, and Language,” with a focus on Post-Colonial Culture and Politics. She completed her master’s thesis on South African Poetry: “Xenophobia under the Rainbow – Migrants in Post-Apartheid South African Fiction.” Before Muenster, Kim studied at the University of Maastricht, and at Salford University in Manchester, England. She has had numerous editorial internships, enjoys jogging and tennis.
The German Studies Program welcomes Dr. Veronika Jeltsch to the program this year. Veronika received her M.A. from the Albert-Ludwigs-Universitaet Freiburg and her Ph.D. from Rutgers University with a dissertation on “Silence, Speechlessness, and Body Language in Fontane’s Effi Briest, Schnitzler’s Fräulein Else and Wedekind’s Lulu.” Her primary research interest is Fin-de-Siecle literature in Germany and Austria, specifically representations of silence, gender and emancipation in literature and film. Veronika comes to us with a stellar teaching record from SIU at Carbondale and, most recently, Hendrix College, and will be teaching introductory German 101-102, GRMN 205 Children’s Literature, and a 300-level topics course in the spring.
The new general education curriculum (COLL curriculum), rolling out in August, calls on faculty to inspire future William & Mary students as they themselves were inspired. General education requirements comprise about a quarter of the 120 credits needed for an undergraduate degree and are taken alongside electives and the classes required for majors. For more than a year, the Center for Liberal Arts Fellows have been working closely with faculty behind the scenes to develop the new COLL Curriculum. And Professors John Rio Riofrio (Hispanic Studies) and Bruce Campbell (German Studies), as Fellows of the Center, have had a important role in the discussions across campus.
Read the full piece, including a video with Prof. Riofrio, HERE.
Tyler B. Bembenek is the recipient of this year’s Award of Excellence in German Studies. Tyler’s outstanding accomplishments in German Studies and IR are known campus-wide. He has an astonishing 3.95 overall GPA for his four years at W&M. He studied at Middlebury College Summer German Academy, is the recipient of the Prestigious Robert Gates Scholarship, with which he was able to study at Oxford University. He graduates with Honors in International Relations and German Studies – no small feat in itself – and has recently been awarded the Alumni Association Student Academic Prize in International Relations. Congratulations Tyler!
Lisa Laird (European Studies and German Studies, ’15) has been awarded both the Fulbright ETA in Germany and the Austrian ETA (administered by the Fulbright Commission) for the 2015-2016 academic year! Lisa is no stranger to living, studying and traveling Europe. A passionate member of the fencing team, Lisa has studied in Wales and Germany (Muenster and Aachen), and is currently finishing an honors thesis “The Modern European: An Analysis of Ethnic Minority Identity in the Twenty-First Century” with Prof. Bruce Campbell. Congratulations Lisa!
Rob Leventhal, Associate Professor of German Studies, March 5-15, 2015
Jewish Cultural and Social Pathways in the Upper Rhine Valley
We were slated to leave Thursday, March 5th, from RIC on a study-research spring-break trip, sponsored by the Meyers Stern Endowment in Judaic Studies that would take us to the Upper Rhine Valley from Basel, Switzerland to Cologne Germany in eight days. Time was of the essence. On Monday of that week, it became clear that winter snowstorm Thor was going to hit the mid-Atlantic hard. On the assumption that our flight from RIC to Dulles would be cancelled, and working together with Dean Lu Ann Homza and Covington Travel, we decided to drive to Dulles in the hope that our flight to Frankfurt would be able to depart. We were right! The RIC-Dulles flight was cancelled, and our Frankfurt flight, although delayed four hours by the blinding snow – it reached 10 inches at Dulles that afternoon and eve – was finally de-iced and took to the sky at 9:45pm.
Day 1: Frankfurt
Our first stop was Frankfurt am Main, a major center for Jewish life from the early modern period until the Nazi seizure of power in 1933. Our destination was the Frankfurt Jewish Museum, in particular the special exhibition “Im Lichte der Menora” (In the Light of the Menora), about the Jews in Roman settlements in the Upper Rhine Valley dating from the 4th century CE. Here, we were able to view, for example, the famous “menorah” ring from the 4th century CE found at the Augusta Raurica just outside of Basel. This exhibit gave the students and me the very real sense of Christians and Jews living together in communities throughout the Rhine Valley as the Empire began to dissolve. Decisive information about temples, worship, family, the Rabbis, gender, communality and governance (and self-governance!) helped us construct a vivid portrait of Jewish life in medium- sized and even smaller communities in the Rhine Valley from the 4th century CE until 1200.
Days 2 and 3: Basel
The next stop was Basel, Switzerland, where for centuries Jews were forced to live outside of the City gates and could only gain entrance on specific days with a special pass. We visited the Augusta Raurica, one of earliest and best-preserved Roman archeological sites north of Alps, where many Jewish artifacts from the period 4th – 5 th c. CE have been found. The Jewish Museum of Switzerland provided the perfect example of what is called the “back room” museum, very rich in materials but with literally no “storefront.” It is hidden in an inner courtyard in one of Basel’s upscale neighborhoods. Our guide took us into the Basel Synagogue, built in the second half of the 19th century, designed by a German (Christian) architect. Basel was one of the premier book-printing centers of Europe in the 1500s, and we saw beautiful examples of translations of the Hebrew Bible from the mid 16th century. Basel was also the home to the First World Zionist Congress in 1897, and Herzl’s presence could be felt by the large photograph of him at the bridge overlooking the Rhine. Two key Jewish communities outside of Basel, Lengau and Endingen, survived. Our guide was an Israeli who had married a man from one of these surrounding Jewish communities.
Days 4 and 5: Freiburg / Sulzburg/ Staufen
On Sunday, we took the train to Freiburg-im-Breisgau, at the foot of the Black Forest in Southwestern Germany. Freiburg itself was the launching pad for our excursion to the tiny village of Sulzburg in the Black Forest, where a Jewish community thrived until it was deported to the French Concentration Camp Gurs, and from there to the killing centers in the East. In the beautiful Synagogue, plundered by the Nazis but not destroyed as it was too close to the surrounding homes, restored and now housing a small museum dedicated to the Jews of Sulzburg and their history, we saw evidence of how Jews lived in the late 18th, 19 th and early 20th centuries with Christians side by side as neighbors. A map showed us how the Jewish homes were spread throughout the small village; other images and objects revealed the life of Jews: merchants, tradesmen, traveling salesmen of kitchen and farm wares, Rabbis, schoolteachers, physicians. We saw evidence of a Jewish Swim Club from the 1920s, and the amazing cemetery just outside of the village itself on the side of a hill, still standing – not desecrated –covering the entire side of a hill. The tales of Jacob Picard (“The Marked One”) of Landjuden in the late 19th and early 20th century accompanied us as we made our way up the beautiful valley into the Black Forest to an Inn where we enjoyed cake and tea. In Freiburg, we met with Daniela Schaffart, the director of the wonderful documentary film Geschichte ganz nah — Eine Reise zu den Gedenk¬stät¬ten in mei¬ner Hei¬mat (History Close-Up: A Journey to the Memorial Sites of my Homeland).
|Jewish Life in Sulzburg in the Black Forest, circa 1920||Jewish Swim Club, Sulzburg, circa 1920|
Days 6 and 7: Magenza: Mainz / Speyer / Worms
On Tuesday and Wednesday, we were in Mainz, where we took in the new Synagogue and visited the Chagall Windows at St. Stephens Church. We also went to Speyer to view the ShPIRA Museum, the remains of the Old Synagogue (1185, and still in use today), and its incredible Mikveh (Ritual Bath), the oldest one of its kind north of the Alps (1120). The story of the curator was that when the Synagogue was destroyed by the Nazis during Kristallnacht in 1938, the exploded stones from the Synagogue covered up the entrance to the Mikveh so thoroughly that it went unharmed for the remainder of the War. In Worms, the great Bible scholar/commentator Rabbi Schlomo Yitzchaki (Rashi) lived and taught during the Middle Ages, roughly 1060-1105.
Day 8: Bacharach: Legend and Living History
Bacharach am Rhein was our next stop, where we stayed in the castle Burg Stahleck high above the river, which has been converted into a Youth Hostel. The students had read Heine’s famous Novella, The Rabbi of Bacharach, and the Sankt Werner Kapelle, which 20 years ago was on the verge of collapse, was on the trail up to the Castle. Sankt Werner is named thus as the supposed sanctified victim of a Blood Libel, a so-called Ritual Murder, one of the chief myths that circulated from the Medieval into the Early Modern Period and beyond of Jews murdering a Christian child for the use of their blood. The Catholic Church of the region wanted to allow the Saint Werner Chapel to collapse, and thus all memory of the sanctification and its ongoing effect erased, but a grassroots organization led by local Lawyer Peter Keber, whom Professor Leventhal met while on the mountain path going back to the Castle, raised 6m EURO to have the Chapel transformed into a site of Christian-Jewish Reconciliation work, a series of ongoing lectures, workshops and talks on German-Jewish Relations. Peter came by Friday morning to drop off the volume Toleranz vor Augen (Tolerance before Our Very Eyes) [Mainz, 2010], which contains documentation of the project and Das Forum 2008-2009.
Day 9: Cologne
Cologne was our last stop before heading back to Frankfurt and then home. Unfortunately, the entire archeological zone is now closed due to the construction of the New Jewish Museum and Jewish Center. However, we visited the Olympics Museum to look for traces of the 1972 Munich Olympics, in which eleven Israeli athletes were killed in a shootout after they were held hostage and then abducted by members of Black September. To our amazement, we found only one small “black box” and a small plaque commemorating the massacre. The next morning, we went to the Stadtmuseum (The City Museum), where detailed histories of the Jews of Cologne provided us with an in-depth sense of Jews’ lives from the Middle Ages until the Nazi Genocide. In 1941, all avenues to escape the Nazi reign of terror were shut down, and by late 1942, most of the city’s 11,000 Jews had been deported to the concentration camps and killing centers in the East. The anti-Semitic figure of the Judensau (a mockery of Judaism and Jewish Dietary law) is found on a seat in the Cologne cathedral dating from 1210; the first pogrom against the Jews had occurred in 1348-49; and the Jews were expelled from the city in 1478, only allowed to return in the late 18th century.
This was an amazing trip. We all saw and learned so much. To experience these memorials, museums, and sites of remembrance/commemoration first hand enabled us to get a fuller, richer, more textured sense of Jewish History in Germany, the relations between Germans/Christians and Jews, and the ties that connected them since the Early Middle Ages. Most interesting for the group was to be able to question the well-rehearsed figures of the Ghetto Jew and Hofjude, to learn about Landjuden, and to place alongside the history of oppression and victimhood (to be sure, a very important vector of German-Jewish History) another history of periodic but significant co-existence, even flourishing. We experienced the pre-history of the Haskalah, the Jewish Enlightenment and the drive for emancipation in the second half of the 18th century.
In 2014, Prof. Bruce Campbell came out with a new book which he co-edited and wrote an article for. The volume, titled Detectives, Dystopias, and Poplit: Studies in Modern German Genre Fiction, is a study of what Prof. Campbell describes as denigrated genres of popular fiction. Below is his discussion about the production of the book and why you should pay more attention to the genres of detective fiction, science fiction, and other popular fiction if you really want to know about German society and culture.
The Judaic Studies Program at W&M sponsored an all-day “Jewish University” Sunday, December 7th to a sold-out crowd at the Sadler Center. Four lectures by W&M faculty presented various aspects of Judaic history, lives, and media from the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible to the Nazi Genocide and Jews in American Cinema in the 20th century: Professor Michael Daise: The Essenes and the Community of the Dead Sea Scrolls; Professor Julie Galambush: “Who is Like You among the Gods?” – Understanding Israelite Polytheism; Professor Rob Leventhal: Forms of Antisemitism from the 18th Century to the Present; Professor and Director Marc Lee Raphael: The Jew in American Cinema.
Berel Lang, Visiting Professor of Philosophy and Letters at Wesleyan University, is one of the foremost scholars on the representation of the Nazi Genocide of the European Jews in the world. His books include: Faces and Other Ironies of Writing and Reading (1983); Writing and the Holocaust (1989); Act and Idea in the Nazi Genocide (1990); The Anatomy of Philosophical Style (1990); Heidegger’s Silence (1996); Writing and the Moral Self (1991); Holocaust Representation: Art within the Limits of History and Ethics (2000); Post-Holocaust: Interpretation, Misinterpretation, and the Claims of History (2005); Philosophical Witnessing: The Holocaust as Presence (2009) and, most recently, Primo Levi: The Matter of a Life (2013). Berel Lang gave a public lecture based on his new book — “Primo Levi: The Matter of a Life” (Yale, 2013) — and taught Rob Leventhal’s GRMN 387 class “Germans and Jews since 1750”.
Professor Stephen Brockmann, one of the world’s leading scholars on German Literature, Culture, and Film, Professor of German at Carnegie Mellon University, gave two talks at W&M in September: “German Culture, Globalization, and Transnationalism” (in English) and “DDR-Film und der Zweite Weltkrieg“ (in German). Brockmann is the author of A Critical History of German Film (2010); Nuremberg: the Imaginary Capital (2006); German Literary Culture at the Zero Hour (2004) and Literature and German Reunification (1999).
Terrence Mack ’15, a double major in German studies and international relations, has been awarded the Gates Scholarship for study abroad, generously donated by Chancellor Robert M. Gates ’65 and his wife, Rebecca. Mack will study abroad this summer in Potsdam, Germany, with William & Mary’s faculty-led program there.
For Mack, a Hampton (Va.) High School graduate, choosing to major in German studies became an obvious choice when he realized he was seeking out YouTube videos in German and studying the language on his own. Mack also credits William & Mary professors Bruce Campbell and Robert Leventhal, both of the Modern Language and Literatures Department, for helping him develop his interest in German and international relations.
Studying abroad will also give him a boost when it comes to choosing his future career path, Mack said. His goal is to become a professional interpreter, and he also plans to pursue a master’s degree in education so he can teach high-school students German. Mack plans to continue working as a Teaching Assistant during his senior year, and he hopes to help other students, especially other people from traditionally underrepresented groups, have the confidence to pursue their passion.
“I want to congratulate Terrence Mack ’15 on receiving a Gates Scholarship to study in Germany this summer,” Gates said. “I admire his aspiration to become a high school foreign language teacher, especially because the United States lags so badly behind other developed countries in this area. I am proud to have someone of Terrence’s commitment and character receive a Gates Scholarship.”
Chancellor Robert GatesChancellor Robert Gates
Finding the right balance between his studies and holding several jobs wasn’t always easy, though, Mack notes. He struggled at first to find his place at William & Mary when his initial plan to go in the business school didn’t work out. Mack’s college experience, however, is defined by perseverance: finding a new avenue to succeed when failure looms large.
“‘Where is your place at this school with all of these smart, intelligent students from all around the world?’” Mack remembered asking himself.
He found the answer in German studies.
“It took me a while but I’m glad I finally figured it out,” he said.
Mack has already developed a strong set of language skills during his career at W&M, and he serves as a Teaching Assistant in the German language program.
“I’ve started to feel more fluent in German, started to understand it more,” he said. “I can hold conversations in German, think in German.”
This summer Mack plans to spend the entirety of his study abroad experience doing just that: living, speaking and thinking in German. He is confident that being immersed in a German-speaking environment will perfect his fluency, and he is looking forward to all of the cultural insights he will gain on his first trip out of the United States. Mack acknowledged that for him, studying abroad wasn’t a possibility without the Gates Scholarship.
“So much weight has been lifted off my shoulders,” he said. “I want the scholarship to not only affect me but the rest of the community.”
Is there such a thing as a universal language of film? The students in German 206 “Intermediate Composition and Conversation, team-taught by Visiting Assistant Professor Jennifer Gülly and German House Tutor Carolin Wattenberg, ” were about to find out: thirteen movies covering almost 100 years of German and Austrian film history. Thirteen movies, that’s thirteen individual stories: the story of a young couple whose life is torn apart by the Berlin Wall (The Promise); the story of a son who keeps the GDR alive in an attempt to save his mother’s life (Good Bye, Lenin!); the story of a boy who refuses to grow up out of contempt for his elders and their ready compliance with the Nazi regime (The Tin Drum) or the multiple stories of Turkish, Russian, and other immigrants and their struggles behind, between, or across physical and psychological borders.
The range of movie plots, characters, themes, and styles put us in a very fortunate position: they provided us with a sheer endless source of material to discuss with our students. It was not just the fact that they made it possible for us to cover a variety of vocabulary but the movies also provided us with visual representations of Germany’s history and culture. We would spend one week on each movie; first giving students an introduction into its specific historical background and context, before moving on to a more specific discussion of the movies’ themes, plots, character developments, cinematography or scenery.
The students actively led class discussions by doing three oral group presentations each. The purpose of these was not so much to provide a synopsis of each movie but for them to think of crucial questions and issues that they’d want to discuss with their classmates. Presentations challenged them to practice speaking German freely and in front of an audience, while also actively managing their classmates’ responses and reacting to them in real time.
Homework consisted of additional grammar exercises geared to the specific movie contexts. Compositions of three to four pages required students to analyze the movies in greater detail, compare them to each other or to creatively elaborate on a given theme from the perspective of one of the characters, e.g. through diary entries, inner monologs or letters.
For their final assignment, students will work on their own subtitling projects. They will produce English subtitles for one of the movies we discussed in class. They’ll be introduced to both technological as well as linguistic aspects of creating movie subtitles. Apart from the mere translation of individual words from German into English, students will face the challenge of grasping the core of each dialog, its irony, humor, context, and even more importantly, its subtext. They’ll realize that it’s more than just words they’ll have to translate and that it can be very challenging to lend an American voice to characters who are very much determined by their German language. In the end, students will have to find an answer to the question that has accompanied us all semester long: Is the language of film really universal or always inextricable from its national context?
Sierra Barnes (German Studies and History ’14) has been awarded an English Teaching Assistantship by the Austrian Ministry of Education and Women’s Affairs and Austrian-American Educational Commission (AAEC), sponsored and administered by the Fulbright Commission, for the academic year 2014-2015. This award includes travel expenses and a substantial monthly stipend to teach at two schools located in the Danube Valley about 31km from Linz: the Europagymnasium des Schulvereins Europagymnasium in Baumgartner and the Bundes-Oberstufenrealgymnasium BORG in Perg, Austria. Congratulations Sierra!
German Studies and IR student Terrence Mack has received the prestigious Robert Gates Scholarship for Summer Study from the College. Terrence will spend the summer studying German language, literature, and culture at the Universitaet Potsdam. Upon hearing the news, Terrence said this: “The Robert Gates Scholarship news was amazing. When I applied for it and asked my German professors Robert Leventhal and Bruce Campbell for letters of recommendation, I didn’t really believe I would be chosen. I was only trying to make sure I pursued every possible avenue to study abroad since I have never been outside the country before. This scholarship has opened many new doors for me. Now I can spend an entire summer working on my fluency in the language, immersed in German culture. I am incredibly grateful to Robert Gates and the German Studies faculty for all the support and lessons they have taught me the last 3 years. It was the best decision I have made in College to double major in International Relations and German. I owe Bruce Campbell and Robert Leventhal a majority of the credit for my success. Without their support and guidance, I wouldn’t be where I am right now.I would advise any student at the College of William and Mary interested in a language to spend time in the German Department. The teachers are the most supportive group I know and invest everything they have in making sure their students succeed.” Well, the credit goes to you, Terrence, for your incredible accomplishments in German Studies at W&M in the last two years!
Sierra Barnes (German Studies and History, ’14) has been accepted to the Helix Project Yiddishkayt for the Summer of 2014. This four-week intensive program begins in July with an intensive course of cultural and language education in L.A. Then Helixers spend two weeks exploring the heart of Jewish Europe, learning and discussing with two leading scholars of Jewish history. Students follow in the footsteps of Jewish poets in Belarus, activists in Poland, and partisans in Vilnius.
German Studies and International Relations major Tyler Bembenek (’15) has been awarded the first Gates Scholarship for Summer Study Abroad. The scholarship, made possible by William and Mary Chancellor Robert M. Gates (’65) and his wife Rebecca, is a merit-based award that enables outstanding W&M students to pursue their field of study during the summer. Tyler elected to study medieval history at St. Peter’s College, Oxford, during the summer of 2013. “The English tutorial system has definitely helped me develop my research skills,” Bembenek said: “Now I have more confidence initiating my own research and engaging with academic sources outside of my comfort zone.” In the spring of 2013, Tyler was able to meet with Chancellor Gates, whom he sees as a model of serving the nation. Congratulations Tyler!
Students of the German Studies Program at William and Mary have had remarkable success in winning major international fellowships over the last decade. This year, Judd Peverall (German Studies and Philosophy, ’13) and Libby Hennemuth (Hispanic Studies and Government, ’13) were awarded the highly prestigious Fulbright ETA Fellowship to Germany, and Brandon De Graaf (German Studies and History, ’13) received an Austrian Government Teaching Assistantship, which is administered by the Fulbright Commission. In addition, Evan French is the first student at the College to be awarded a DAAD RISE Scholarship for a paid internship in software engineering in Hamburg, Germany, and Emma Paynter (Government and International Relations, ‘13) also received a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship to Germany.
These are the kinds of events which can change a student’s life, and they represent an immense personal and professional advantage for them as well as great publicity for the College. Since 1999, some 30 German Studies students at the College have been awarded Fulbright German or Austrian ETA or Research fellowships, or other major international awards of similar standing.
The German Studies students must naturally get the greatest credit here, and they are an extraordinary group. But the German Studies Section works very hard to prepare them for these types of opportunities and put them in a position where they can make their qualities known. Since 1999, the German Studies section has had a conscious, deliberate and sustained policy of preparing students to compete for these fellowships. To be sure, German Studies does not do it alone, and Lisa Grimes and the Charles Center, in particular, deserve a great deal of credit for their great support of German Studies.
William & Mary is one of the best colleges in North America, but few people know it is also one of the best places for German Studies. This is one of the many areas where William and Mary excels, without great fanfare and with only extremely moderate resources.
List of Major Fellowships in German Studies
- Judd Peverall — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
- Brandon Travis De Graaf — Austrian Government Teaching Assistantship
- Libby Hennmemuth — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
- Emma Paynter — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
- Grace Brennan — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
- Sarah Salino-Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
- Monica LoBue — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
- Claire Chapman — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
- Ariana Berger — CBYX Scholarship in Germany for 2011-2012
Continuing on with Standard & Poors
- Christopher Consolino — Fulbright Research Fellowship for Germany (History)
- Katelyn Andell — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
- Pete Gianannino — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
- Katie Sumner — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
- John Palenski — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
Austrian Government Teaching Fellowship (declined)
William and Mary Law
- Faith App — Austrian Government Teaching Fellowship
- Lauren Shaw — Austrian Government Teaching Fellowship
- Rachael Simons-Austrian Government Teaching Fellowship
Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany (declined)
- Dustin Smith-Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
Admitted to Graduate Program in German Studies with full support, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne (deferred)
- Kasey Hutson (’07) — Austrian Government Teaching Fellowship
Graduate Study at Washington University of St. Louis in German Studies
- Carolyn Osinski (’07) — Austrian Government Teaching Fellowship
Graduate Study at Georgetown University with full support
- Olivia Lucas (’07) — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
Graduate Student in Music at Harvard
- Naomi Dreyer (’06) — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany (2007 graduate)
- Amy Benoit — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
- Lenore Cebulski — DAAD scholarship for one year of study at Maximilian University of Munich
- Amanda Norris — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
- Amy Kuenker — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
- Catherine Reynolds (’05) — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
- Kate Pierce-McManamon — Fulbright Research Fellowship for Germany
Graduate school, Technical University of Brandenburg, Cottbus, Germany with an MA in World Heritage Studies, Historical Management and Administration, 2008
- Alana Seifts — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
Currently Lieutenant, USArmy and William & Mary Law School
- Jessica Telhorster — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
- Marc Landry — Austrian Government Teaching Fellowship
- Jay Miller — Fulbright Research Fellowship for Germany
- Lauren Nelson — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
- Emily Knight — Fulbright Teaching Fellowship for Germany
Jennifer Gülly received her Magistra from the University of Vienna, Austria, and her PhD in Comparative Literature from UCLA. She has previously held positions at Pomona College, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of South Florida before coming to William and Mary. Her research lies at the intersection of language policy, translation theory, and literary aesthetics, and she is currently working on a project tentatively titled Territories of Language: Law, Literature, and the Nation-State. In addition to all levels of German language classes, she teaches courses on German literature and German film, Vienna 1900-2000, the Holocaust in Literature and Film, World Literature, and on the history and theory of translation.
The Sociology Department, German Studies, and Charles Center are pleased to sponsor a lecture by Prof. Rudi Leiprecht, who is a professor of Diversity Education at the Universitaet Oldenbourg in Germany. Currently, he is Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington DC. Professor Leiprecht will present a lecture entitled “Young People in Germany and Experiences of Discrimination and Racism” and show his documentary on the same topic. The lecture is open to the public.
Judd Peverall (German Studies and Philosophy, ’13) and Brandon De Graaf (German Studies and History, ’13) have all received Fulbright and Austrian English Teaching Assistantships respectively for 2013-2014. Both will be placed in a >Gymnasien where they will serve as teaching assistants in the English programs of the schools and assist in curricular and non-curricular activities with students. Congratulations!
Ariana Berger (Business and German Studies ’11) has finished her internship in the Corporate Ratings department of Standard & Poor’s in Frankfurt, and will be working with S&P Capital IQ as an Account Manager. The position in fixed-term for one year with a relatively good chance for her to stay on afterwards. Ariana writes: “I think it is a great opportunity for me and I will very much enjoy it! It is more client and sales oriented, which I prefer over the very analytical position I had for the last 6 months.” Upon graduating from W&M, Ariana was awarded The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) full-year work-study scholarship for Young Professionals in Germany for 2011-2012. Congratulations on your new position in Frankfurt, Ariana!
Next fall Lauren Shaw (German Studies, ’09) will be starting a master’s program in global migration at University College London. The program looks at the social, economic and political causes and implications of human migration, while seeking to better understand the lived experiences of local and international migrant communities. Courses are drawn from a number of disciplines, including geography, anthropology, economics and political science, and students benefit from UCL’s connections to NGOs, governmental and community-based organizations in London. Lauren, who spent two years in Austria as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant, is particularly interested in youth migration, educational opportunities and challenges for children with a migration background, and rural vs. urban areas as places of immigration and integration.
Since returning from Austria in 2011, Lauren has been working as a research associate at the German Historical Institute in Washington DC. She is part of the research project Transatlantic Perspectives: Europe in the Eyes of European Immigrants to the United States, 1930-1980, for which she does research, editing and website management. She is currently helping with the planning for a workshop entitled “Migrants as ‘Translators’: Mediating External Influences on Post World War II Western Europe, 1945-1973”, which the GHI is organizing in cooperation with the Institut für die Geschichte der Deutschen Jüden and will be held in Hamburg in October 2013.
Former German Studies students Mark Riggleman and Sam Thacker at this year’s Oktoberfest on the Wies’n in Munich, Germany
Fall is the time of harvest, gathering together to celebrate the fruits of the earth, and for the German Studies section at W&M, the moment for Oktoberfest. Each year the German Studies Section of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures rallies the members of the German House and all German Studies students to take part in a ritual that has been a powerful sign of German hospitality and sociability since the 19th century: gathering on the Theresienwiese in Munich to share a beer, and a table, often with strangers, to participate in the world’s largest fair, with over 6 million in attendance.
Oktoberfest is a 16 day event held from mid-September to the first week in October. It began with a royal marriage. On October 12, 1810, Crown Prince Ludwig, later to become King Ludwig I, celebrated his wedding to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the royal event. The fields were named Theresienwiese (“Theresa’s meadow”) in honor of the Crown Princess, today abbreviated as die Wies’n. The beers at Oktoberfest must be brewed by one of the authorized Munich breweries: Augustiner-Bräu, Hacker-Pschorr-Bräu, Löwenbräu, Paulaner-Bräu, Spatenbräu, and Staatliches Hofbräu-München. Only beer conforming to the German Beer Purity Laws (Reinheitsgebot), with a minimum of 13.5% original wort (Stammwürze, approximately 6% alcohol) may be served at Oktoberfest. And Oktoberfest itself is a registered trademark of the Club of German Brewers.
At W&M, of course, we have do without the essential element of beer, but we can create a sumptuous table of savory sausages and kraut, pretzels, hamburgers, potato salads and an assortment of cakes, to bring in the fall. This year, we had over sixty students, faculty and staff and their families attend the festival.
Carolin Wattenberg, the German House Tutor from Münster, Germany 2012-2013, Rob Leventhal, Associate Professor and Section Head, and Maria Morrison, Visiting Assistant Professor of German Studies, spent the day preparing for the festival, which began at 4pm. A perfect fall Saturday greeted the guests at the outdoor commons area and grill at the Randolph Complex. When we ran out of Bratwürste halfway through the festival, Maria and Carolin made a heroic trip to the store so we could feed the hungry students, faculty and families who gathered at the Randolph Complex. It was a wonderful day and a good time had by all.
RL/den 12. November 2012
J. Richard Guthrie believed strongly in the undergraduate study of German language, literature, and culture. As part of his estate, he endowed a scholarship fund to assist undergraduates to carry out semester or summer research in German Studies. Because of this generous endowment from his estate, the German Studies Section at W&M is able to award a limited number of scholarships to qualified undergraduates in German Studies.
A native of Hilton Village who attended Hilton Elementary, J. Richard Guthrie was graduated from Warwick High School in 1958 where he was elected the “Wittiest” in the class, a personality trait which stood him in good stead throughout his life. He held a B.A. Degree in French and German from William and Mary, an M.A. from Middlebury College Graduate School of French at the Sorbonne in Paris. There, as the elected Student Body President, he was presented the symbolic key to the city by the then mayor of Paris, later to become the president of the French Republic, Francois Mitterand.
Later, he continued on with his education earning the Ph.D. in Romance Languages with an extensive German minor, granted by special permission of the Graduate Committee from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He was the recipient of numerous grants for study at the Universities of Munich, Cologne and the Free University of Berlin in Germany. He was honored to have been chosen as one of 15 Americans to participate in a conference in West Berlin sponsored by the West German government in 1981 and a special grant for 12 university teachers nation-wide to attend a conference on the “New Germany” in Berlin in 1991, one year after reunification.
He was awarded the title of Professor Emeritus from Christopher Newport upon his retirement in May of 2002 after 35 years where he was responsible for the construction, inauguration and implementation of the German major and minor programs from their beginnings until his retirement. He served three elected three-year terms as Chairman of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures. He traveled extensively throughout all of Europe: northern, central and southern, and the Mid-East, including Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Greece.
Professor Guthrie was passionate about German Studies, and he channeled that passion into creating opportunities for W&M undergrads to follow their passion. Thanks to his generous gift, German Studies undergraduates at W&M will be able to carry out research in German Studies in the United States or abroad for years to come. Recent recipients of Guthrie scholarship funds have included Kai Simenson, Anna Kim, Elaine Vega, Judson Peverall and Sierra Barnes.
Peter Lecce (’12), Economics and International Studies Major with strong training and interests in German Studies, will be interning in the spring at the U.S. Consulate in Munich, where he will be working in the political/economic section. Peter took part in the W&M Potsdam Summer Study Abroad Program in 2010. Peter also recently found out that he was granted an interview for the Bundestag internship (the International Parlaments-Stipendium) in Washington this November. Finally, Peter is applying for the prestigious DAAD Fellowship for 2013-2014.
Sarah Salino, who designed her own major at the College and will graduate with Honors Sunday, May 13, has been awarded a Fulbright in Germany for the academic year 2012-2013. Although she has not yet been placed yet, Sarah will be teaching at a Gymnasium, working with students and other teachers and providing curricular support in American Studies to students getting ready for Unversity study. Sarah is also being initiated into Phi Beta Kappa on Friday, May 11.
In designing her own interdisciplinary major in Geography Sarah combined courses from Geology, Government, and Sociology that together give her the tools to ask the question, “Where?” of social, cultural, and physical phenomena.
For her thesis, she explored the use of an area-based socioeconomic measure, in this case the percentage of residents of a particular census tract who live at or below the poverty line, as an indicator of chlamydia risk. This research, done in partnership with the Virginia Department of Health, used a methodology intended to produce policy-relevant results that will contribute to state- and national-level efforts to address health disparities attributable to socioeconomic inequalities.
German Studies and Psychology Major Grace Brennan (’12) has received a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship to Berlin for the academic year 2012-2013. Brennan is one of two Fulbrights to Germany this year. Grace is also being inducted into Phi Beta Kappa on Friday, May 11, as a result of her stunning academic achievements at the College in both of her fields of study.
Rob Leventhal, Associate Professor of German Studies, has received the 2011-2012 PBK John D. Rockefeller Award for the Advancement of Scholarship. The award is given to a faculty member who has excelled in research and scholarship and made a substantial contribution to his or her field. The award was celebrated at the annual PBK Award Dinner on February 19. At the reception, Leventhal gave a short presentation on his research on the Emergence of the Psychological Case History in Germany, 1770-1820, which is the subject of the monograph he is currently completing.
In November 1989, pictures of jubilating East and West Germans dancing on the Berlin Wall went around the world. Chanting “We are the people”, East Germans had demanded their freedom and finally brought down the authoritarian GDR regime during the Peaceful Revolution. The Fall of the Berlin Wall, which led to the reunification of Germany in 1990, drastically changed the country’s geographical and political landscape. This watershed moment in German history also deeply affected many areas of everyday life and culture. More obviously, it transformed Germans’ definition of personal and national identities and attitudes toward perceived and actual imbalances between the former East and West. Different electoral behavior, divergent income and unemployment rates as well as waves of “Ostalgie” (nostalgia for the former GDR) are only some of the most evident signs and challenges of the still ongoing process of re-unification.
Students in Prof. Kathrin Seidl-Gómez’s advanced conversation course, “Writing on the Wall”, worked on representations of the Berlin Wall in literature, film, and music to develop an understanding of the importance of the mid-twentieth century separation and later reunification of Germany for today’s society. Examining a trove of sources, students learned about the unbroken desire for freedom that persevered in the GDR in the shadow of state surveillance and the artistic responses to a life in the shadow of the Wall. They studied how East Germans attempted, and in many cases succeeded, at escaping the GDR using manifold courageous and inventive strategies. East Germans used underground tunnels, self-built balloons and airplanes, forged IDs and hid in vehicles of all sorts.
During a guest lecture, students enjoyed the unique opportunity of hearing firsthand Peter Golisch’s experience of living and escaping the GDR. Mr. Golisch, born in Berlin in 1936, lived as a teenager in the GDR where he came under Stasi-surveillance due to critical remarks against the regime. He managed to flee into the West in the early 1950s, leaving behind an oppressive regime but never escaping from the formative impact these years in the GDR had on his life. Students also discussed the identity-constitutive aspect of the national borders as demarcation lines whose sudden disappearance came to force people on both sides to reevaluate their values, political allegiances, and cultural identity/ies. Particularly illuminating was a case study by the anthropologist Daphne Berdahl we studied. Berdahl’s ethnographic account of the lives of people in the East-German border village of Kella in the early 1990s gave students insight into a socialist society’s transition into capitalism. Reading the novel Aus dem Schneider by Katrin Askan allowed for a different kind of aesthetic experience and intellectual engagement with daily life in the former GDR. Askan portrays five decades of German history (1936-1986) through a family story and discusses the political events and conditions under two dictatorships including the role of chance versus self-determination in totalitarian societies, the import of the idea of Heimat (home), memory, and how identity is created in such circumstances. For the analysis of Askan’s novel we departed from questions such as: How it might have felt to live under an authoritarian regime: Would we be the same? What are the choices between compliance, protest, and escape? What were the consequences of such choices on your personal life and the well-being of your family? Reading Askan’s novel, we learned about daily life in the GDR, about mandatory flag ceremonies at school, and found ourselves exploring stunning oddities such as the layout of the Berlin train station Friedrichstrasse that – while located in the East – belonged in part to West-Germany.
Students made indeed a number of surprising discoveries. They learned, for instance, that the GDR sold some of their imprisoned dissident citizens to West Germany to fight the deficit of their failing economy with injections of hard currency; that there were more than 400 cases of illegal crossings of the border from West into the East; and that hundreds of East Germans left behind all of their belongings to spontaneously seize the opportunity to flee into the West during the Pan-European Picnic in Hungary in August 1989. More than twenty years later, these events still form part of the lived experience of many Germans and condition the ways in which they define themselves and interact as a society. They inform their political views and the decisions of supporting other nations in their struggle for independence from dictatorships, or for survival during the hardships of the current crisis of the European economy.
We explored in this course how the Fall of the Wall has created a new conceptual framework that shapes the perception of borders, language, space and traditions. Senior Suzan Ok, who developed a research project comparing the Berlin Wall with other walls in history, points at the value of exploring this specific aspect of German history for an understanding of historical and cultural processes pertinent to other periods and regions: “In this course, I learned not only about the political and cultural influence of the Berlin Wall, but also the commonalities and differences among major walls and barriers in the past and present. This was a valuable lesson on the meaning of national identity.” The research project of Peter Lecce, also a Senior, drove the point home: He wrote a nuanced thesis on the applicability of lessons learned from the Berlin Wall to the situation created by the erection of the U.S.-Mexico Border Fence.
These two projects are just some examples of the variety of interesting, informative, and well-research work that students presented as their final projects of this course. Every student gave a 15-20 minute long presentation, discussing yet new aspects of life, media, culture, and politics and also of literature and artistic production both in the GDR and in Germany after the reunification. Sophomore Amanda Morrow notes how much she “enjoyed the conference-style presentations at the end of the course, because it was a great way for us to research a topic that we personally found very interesting and to learn about the interests of our classmates.” By being continuously engaged with relevant readings and in discussions, students not only expanded their knowledge about this essential part of German history, but also their competence of expressing opinions and constructing arguments in German, and they had fun. As Max Lazar put it, “it was an absolutely fantastic class.”
Other course materials included poetry by Sarah Kirsch, Uwe Kolbe, and Volker Braun, essays by Hans Magnus Enzensberger, short prose by Claudia Rusch and Durs Grünbein, and Peter Schneider’s novel Der Mauerspringer, narratives of contemporary witnesses, West German TV interviews from the 1980s with people who escaped from the GDR, political caricatures, documentary and feature films (Clayton Nemrow’s The Rise and Fall of the Berlin Wall, Wolfgang Becker’s classic Good Bye Lenin! and Roland Richter’s The Tunnel), and recordings of the performance of Beethoven’s Ninth’s in Berlin in December 1989 under Leonard Bernstein who altered for the occasion the words of the acclaimed “Ode to Joy.”
The course was offered as a joint 200/400-level course, and several students who took it at the higher level completed additional readings, attended extra meetings and led discussion groups. The Junior Sean Vadas reflects on the resulting learning experience: “This course was unique in how much I learned from my peers as well as my professor.”
Students in Jennifer Taylor’s Freshman Seminar, “The Berlin Wall,” are researching cinematic and literary depictions of life in the former German Democratic Republic and finding some surprises. Many texts they are reading paint a bleak picture of oppression and state control behind the iron curtain that is familiar to readers in the post-Cold War era. Other texts, though, suggest that, for many East Germans, life was in many ways the same as it is anywhere. Reacting to Peter Schneider’s 1982 West German novel about life in the divided Berlin, The Wall Jumper: a Berlin Story, freshman Abby Hunter expressed her surprise that one character moves from West to east Berlin, “This part was interesting to me because… history classes have painted East Berlin as a horrible, awful, dark place that no one wanted to live in.” The students in the seminar are exploring the kind of contradictions Abby points out as well as questions about representation and textual authority; everyone is engaged in writing a 10 page research project on a topic connected to some aspect of the GDR.
“It’s funny, the last time I taught a class on the Berlin Wall, all of us had been alive during the wall’s ‘lifetime’; I was born in 1961 when it was constructed and they had all been born in 1989, when it was torn down. I had traveled in the former GDR as a twenty year old and remember it well. The freshmen students in my current seminar, though, were all born after East Germany ceased to exist,” Taylor said. For these freshmen, 1989 is a long time ago, and the research involved has meant many trips to the library and to the digital databases. Swem Library has played a huge role in helping everyone to get started on their research projects. “(Librarian) Paul Showalter and I met before the semester started and blocked in two whole class periods for him to work with the students, and it has been extremely helpful,” Taylor said. “Being able to use the resources of a research library gives the students an enormously important tool in the 21rst Century.”
Student research projects are focused on texts including the first German film made about the Nazi past, Wolfgang Staudte’s The Murderers are among us (1946), GDR films such as Gerhard Klein’s Berlin Schönhauser Corner (1957), Konrad Wolf’s Divided Heaven (1964) and post-Wall texts including Florian Henckel von Donnermarck’s The Life of Others (2006) and Anna Funder’s Stasiland. The topics include the role of the circus performer in Wim Wender’s Wings of Desire (1987), the depiction of technology in East German cinema, the problematic relationship between memory and trauma in depictions of the East German Secret Police and the relationship between West German capitalism and the Nazi past as depicted in film and literature.
Arthur Schechter (W&M, 2009-2011; Brown University, 2011-Present) has won the American Psychoanalytic Association Prize for the best essay written by an undergraduate. Arthur’s essay, “Wagnerian Volksideologie, Narcissism, and Aesthetics: A Study in the Totalitarian Imaginary,” emerged as the final paper in Rob Leventhal’s Modern German Critical Thought II: Marx to Habermas course in the spring of 2011. Schechter’s essay stood out as having not only fully grasped Freud’s texts – Fragments of a Case History of Hysteria (Dora), Beyond the Pleasure Principle, On Narcissism, Mourning and Melancholia, Civilization and its Discontents – but as having actively and constructively thought Freud further on an important topic: the ideology of Volk. Using Wagner’s Anti-Semitic texts (Das Judentum in der Musik, 1850) as his basis, Schechter not merely applied Freud carefully and effectively, which would be already quite a task for a freshman, he actually mobilized Freudian technique and concepts to provide a highly original, compelling analysis of Volksideologie in the second half of the 19thcentury. The American Psychoanalytic Association’s Best Undergraduate Essay prize is awarded each year to an outstanding essay of 25 pages or less which engages Psychoanalytic ideas in relation to a focused question in any academic discipline.
Lauren Shaw has been going places lately– Slovenia, the Baltic States, Carinthia/Austria — and returning to the DC area.
After finishing a two-year Fulbright ETA in Austria, Lauren (German Studies, ’09) has returned to the United States and taken a job at the German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C. as a paid research assistant. At GHI, she’s working with a team of scholars doing research on Transatlantic Perspectives (http://www.transatlanticperspectives.org/), focused on mid-20th century European immigrants to the US and changing perspectives of Europe. In addition, Lauren was an intern at the Smithsonian Institution Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage the previous summer, where she co-authored an article in the forthcoming volume From Stage to Screen, edited by Massimiliano Sala, Volume xix of the Speculum series, published by Brepols. (http://www.luigiboccherini.org/speculum.html).
Often asked what students can do with a major in German Studies, we refer to students like Lauren who have used their writing, research and language skills and their knowledge of the humanities, German language, literature, and culture in particular, to secure rewarding work in exciting places. Lauren wants to eventually go to grad school, but right now she is building her skill portfolio, enjoys working with her “team,” and loving DC!
The Potsdam, Germany Summer Study Abroad Program 2011 June 8-July 23 was an immense success.
The W&M Potsdam, Germany Summer Study Abroad program is an intensive 7 week German Language and Culture program. Students attend intensive German Language classes in the mornings from 9-12:30 and a GRMN 290/390 German Culture class in the afternoons. This year’s topic was Berliner Moderne 1885-1933 taught by Program Director Rob Leventhal, Associate Professor of German Studies. This year we had 11 students participate in the program, 10 from W&M and one from Kenyon College.
Arrival/Orientation/Our First Days
Students arrived at Tegel Airport in Berlin June 8 and were picked up by their host families. The orientation program provided by the Universität Potsdam beginning the day after arrival and continuing for two days (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) was excellent. On the first day, students received a general orientation on campus at the Neues Palais where the Humanities are housed at the Universität Potsdam. They meet the office staff of the Akademisches Auslandsamt, get their student identification cards, VBB Berlin ABC transport cards which covers all of Berlin and Potsdam for the entire time of their stay, a tour of the facilities, get instructions on how to connect to the Internet on campus, and learn the ropes of the library, the Mensa and the student cafeteria, student activities.
The next day (Friday, June 10) the students had an all-day intercultural seminar that explored the significant differences between German and American culture, living, and etiquette. In this seminar, conducted by AA Tutor Micha Adam, who studied history and politics at the Universität Potsdam, the students learn many things they will not have covered in the 1 credit spring seminar, which is also extremely useful for the students preparing to go to Potsdam. Things like cultural stereotypes, the use of water, Mülltrennung, protocol on buses and trams, market and boutique behavior, and restaurant etiquette are all covered.
On Saturday, we went on a whirlwind tour of Berlin, also conducted by Micha Adam. It begins at Berlin Friedrichstrasse, goes to the Mauermuseum and site in the Bernauer Strasse, Prenzlauer Berg, the Nikolaiviertel, the Museum Insel, Unter den Linden, Brandenberger Tor, Reichstag, Potsdamer Platz, Checkpoint Charlie before it ends in Kreuzberg. This year we were extremely lucky that the festival of cultures was taking place that Saturday and the tour simply segued into this festival in Kreuzberg at the end, with all students electing to remain in Berlin for the evening.
There was excellent coordination between William & Mary and the staff of the AA at the Universität Potsdam. Cooperation between Sabine Reinicke, her staff (Martin Müller, Micha Adam, the tutors Caro, Anna, Sabrina and Marlene) and faculty, and the W&M PD was outstanding. The Potsdam staff took care of a large part of the day-to-day organization of the program, and were responsible for the host families. Sabine Reinicke was the first local on-call contact in case of emergencies. She and her staff were extremely well organized, competent and effective.
The Akademisches Auslandsamt arranges for welcome and departing dinners at a lovely restaurant in Potsdam (“Quendel”) where students, faculty, tutors and host families meet for a nice meal and live music. This year, both events were extremely well-attended and very successful. These dinners are particularly important for continuity in the program and to retain excellent host families. The hope is that, over time, we will develop a reservoir of excellent host families.
This year we undertook three major excursions: the three-day, two-night “bonding” excursion at the beginning of the program, one week after arrival; Lutherstadt-Wittenberg; and the Island of Rügen/Jasmund National Park on the Baltic Sea. Only the first is actually part of the program, the other two were paid for by the students themselves (basic train transport and stay in Youth Hostel in Rügen; Trainfare to Lutherstadt-Wittenberg). The major “bonding” excursion is conducted the second weekend of the summer, around June16-20. The first weekend students are acclimating themselves to their new environment and homestays and it makes little sense to tear them away from that the very first weekend. And they are still a bit jet-lagged. The Potsdam-Berlin orientation program was exactly right for the first weekend. For the bonding excursion, this year we did one night in Weimar and one night in Dresden, which was fabulous. Dresden is a rich cultural city with a complex, fascinating history. The differences between Thuringia, Saxony, and Brandenburg are also quite important historically and become very evident to the students on this trip as we cross borders into all three territories.
We did Lutherstadt-Wittenberg as a separate day-trip. It is easily accessible from Potsdam/Berlin in two hours and the Lutherhaus and Schlosskirche can be seen easily in an afternoon.
This year I was able to arrange a three day, two night excursion to the Island of Ruegen (Ostseebad Binz) and the Nationalpark Jasmund for 100€ per student (40€ R/T trainfare and 60€ for two nights and five meals at the Youth Hostel in Ostseebad Binz, which is directly on the water). This proved to be a wonderful break/excursion, especially because there were no Americans in Binz, and we were able to see the historical National Park Jasmund, the Königsstuhl/Viktoria Sicht and the Wissower Klieke in this Caspar David Friedrich-inspired landscape. This excursion July 8-10 was the perfect closing bonding experience for the group. The Jugendherberge Binz is clean, comfortable and the meals provided are substantial and decent. The excursion to the Baltic Sea provided a completely rural environment, formerly in the GDR, very different from all the other places visited by the students and highly unusual (students can go to Hamburg, Bremen, Lübeck or any other northern German city easily and cheaply by themselves). Swimming in the Baltic Sea proved to be refreshing!
Berlin and Potsdam have extremely rich resources for pedagogical excursions, and our excursions included: two performances of Brecht’s plays (“In the Jungle of the Cities” and the ”Threepennyopera”) at the famous Berliner Ensemble (Theater am Schiffbauerdamm); a visit to the Museum of the expressionist group Die Brücke; a visit to Neue Nationalgalerie on Potsdamer Platz; a lengthy visit to the Jüdisches Museum. One of the real highlights of the trip was a guided tour on July 15th of the “Einstein Tower” (a solar observatory built in 1921 for Albert Einstein), the “Great Refraktor” (the fourth largest optical telescope in the world, built 1898) and the Astrophysical Center of Potsdam (AIP).
Dr. Jürgen Rendtel of the Institut für Astrophysik at Potsdam took us through the “Einstein Tower” and the Great Refraktor (1898). He is a wonderful, knowledgeable man who hit just the right level with our students linguistically, explaining the significance and function of the structures in clear, simple language. The students thought this was one of the great highlights of the summer.
Finally, we took a day trip to Schloss Niederschonhausen in Pankow, a summer residence of the Hohenzollerns, and the site where the GDR was formed and where the 4+2 talks took place to dismantle it in 1990, with Micha Adam. This proved to be one of the most interesting and historically relevant excursions of the entire summer. We traversed the path from the 18th century, the Elector Friedrich Wilhelm, Friedrich I, Friedrich II and the Enlightenment to the formation of the GDR, the Fall of the Wall in 1989, and the unification in 1990!
It was a great summer! Thanks to all of the students who contributed, to the Akademisches Auslandsamt at the Uni Potsdam, and the Reves Center!
Rob Leventhal, Associate Professor of German Studies, Program Director 2011
Hi everyone! Before I start, I thought it would be good to give a little background about myself and my interest in this Potsdam summer program. My name is Will Pence and I am a rising Junior at William and Mary. I am a European Studies and German double major with a huge interest in world languages and cultures, so I have been wanting to study abroad for a while. This program presented me with the perfect opportunity to take classes in Germany as well as stay with a host family, completely immersing myself in a new culture. I’m very excited about the next 6 weeks here, and I look forward to posting about all of our experiences!
The first few days in Potsdam have been great. It is a city full of history and culture that is located a little southwest of Berlin in eastern Germany. Most of us in the program arrived on Wednesday, June 8th and met up for the first time on Thursday at the local University (Universität Potsdam). Our day began at 10:30 AM with an introduction to the program from the local administrators and professors, all of whom were incredibly welcoming and helpful. I think I speak for all of us when I say we look forward to working with and learning from them. After our lunch break we were given a tour around the beautiful Neues Palais campus where we will be taking classes. Our day ended with the whole group going into Potsdam to get our cell phone situation figured out, which of course led to everyone crowding in a local café to enjoy the delicious coffee and apple strudel they offered.
Saturday we had our tour around Berlin with an energetic political and historical expert named Michael. I have never been on such an efficient and info-packed tour in my entire life. By the end of the 5 hour excursion we all felt like we had walked to every corner of the enormous city and learned everything about its history. The day culminated in a huge cultural festival that happened to be going on in Kreuzberg. The streets were absolutely packed full of people from many different countries dancing, laughing, baton twirling, and bungee jumping all night long. It was fascinating to compare how each of these cultures celebrated themselves differently.
Sunday and Monday were both free days for us because of a holiday called Pfingsten, but our classes start tomorrow (Tuesday, June 14th). We also have our first class trip to Weimar and Dresden this coming weekend. I will be sure to post about all of this sometime next week. I am really excited about this opportunity to share our adventures here in Germany, so until next time, tschüs!
Graduating senior and Phi Beta Kappa initiate Monica LoBue (German Studies and Biology, ’11) has been awarded the Fulbright Teaching Assistantship to Germany for the academic year 2011–2012. This much sought after Fulbright provides Monica with round-trip airfare to Germany and a substantial monthly stipend to work with students learning English and American Studies at a German Gymnasium, which prepares students for study in the German University System. At the high school, she works intensively with a teacher, participates in the school’s programs, and works with students individually, introducing them to aspects of American Culture while teaching them advanced English. After the Fulbright, Monica hopes to pursue her dream of going to Medical School and becoming a physician. Congratulations, Monica!
The German Studies Section of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures is extremely pleased to announce that graduating senior Ariana Berger (German Studies and Business, ’11) has been awarded The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) full-year work-study scholarship for Young Professionals in Germany for 2011-2012. This full-year scholarship will provide Ariana with round-trip airfare, two months of intensive language training, four months of study at a German University or Technical University, and a five-month internship in a German-speaking work environment, chosen specifically in consultation with her to correspond to her career objectives. Ariana is one of 75 students chosen from the United States for this competitive, comprehensive scholarship this year. Congratulations, Ariana!
The Journal of Jewish Identities 4/1 (2011) 13-43.
By 1996-1997, however, this positive image of Germany and the optimistic sense of the Russian Jewish émigrés had changed radically. In a study published in 1999 based on data captured and analyzed in the preceding two years, the team of Julius Schoeps painted a very bleak picture indeed both of the current state of this community as well as its short and longer term prospects unless fundamental changes could be made, both by the Jewish Gemeinde, and the city, state and federal governments. Schoeps and his team pointed out that while fear of anti-Semitism had fallen since 1993-1996 (when it was at its height because of the vicious attacks against foreigners, mostly by Neo-Nazi groups in Mölln, Solingen, Hoyerswerda). There has been a dramatic increase in unemployment among the Russian Jewish émigrés, problems with integration into the work and housing market, insufficient and poor language instruction, increasing isolation and alienation, both from the existing Jewish Community and the German communities in which they were embedded, the sense of loss of both prior status and present perspective, feelings of dependence and hopelessness. Many respondents to the questionnaire the group developed indicated a kind of cultural collective depression.
The possibility of admitting more Russian Jewish émigrés has now been directly linked to ability and willingness of the Länder to support the GemeindeGemeinde. For the period after 2006, while there have been many negotiations among the four parties directly involved – the Auswärtiges Amt, the BAMF, the Zentralrat der Juden in Deutschland, and the Union Progressiver Juden – and supposedly some oral “financial commitments” have been made, as of this writing no actual fundsGemeinde. For the year 2005, no applications or Anträge for entry into the Federal Republic were accepted: “Die deutschen Botschaften und Konsulate in den Ländern der ehemaligen Sovietunion haben nach Auslaufen des ‘Kontingentverfahrens’ am 31. Dezember 2004 schlichtweg keine Auswanderungsanträge mehr angenommen.”
Am Donnerstag, den 10. Februar zeigt das Deutsche Haus in Zusammenhang mit German Studies den Spielfilm “Good-Bye Lenin!” um 19.30 in WASH 203.
By invitation of the German Studies Section of Modern Languages and Literatures, Professor Sander Gilman, Distinguished Professor of the Liberal Arts and Sciences and Professor of Psychiatry at Emory University, was a guest at the College of William & Mary Wednesday, November 17th.
Professor Gilman gave a more informal talk with the title “Whose Body Is It Anyway? Sexual Transformation in Germany (1890-1933)” and a more formal lecture: “From the Nose Job to the Face Transplant: A History of the Authentic Face.” Both events took place in Washington Hall, and were attended by students and faculty from numerous disciplines and programs.
Sander Gilman is the author of over forty books and 200 articles, including: Contemporary Medicine: Biological Facts and Fiction; Jewish Self-Hatred; Fat: A Cultural History of Obesity; Difference and Pathology: Stereotypes of Sexuality, Race, and Madness; Disease and Representation: Images of Illness from Madness to AIDS; Freud, Race, and Gender; Inscribing the Other; The Jew‘s Body; Franz Kafka: The Jewish Patient and, more recently, Creating Beauty to Cure the Soul: Race and Psychology in the Shaping of Aesthetic Surgery, Jewish Frontiers: Essays on Bodies, Histories, and Identities and The Fortunes of the Humanities: Teaching the Humanities in the New Millennium.
Sander Gilman’s visit was made possible by generous contributions from Arts and Sciences, The Charles Center, The Programs in Literary and Cultural Studies and Jewish Studies, the Departments of Modern Languages and Literatures, Religious Studies, English, History, and Psychology.
By Erin Zagursky
Over the past decade, William & Mary’s students and alumni have been very successful in obtaining Fulbright Scholarships to teach and study in countries around the world. This year alone, a record 13 students and alumni were selected.
But the students who have obtained the highly competitive scholarships did not get there on their own. Much of their success is owed to the support and opportunities offered to them by the College’s faculty and staff members, who work tirelessly with students to prepare them for the scholarships.
One of those faculty members is Bruce Campbell, an associate professor of German and associate chair of faculty affairs in the modern languages & literatures department.
“While many William & Mary faculty members take an active interest in promoting the Fulbright program to their students and mentoring them through the process, Bruce has really made it a mission to increase the number of Fulbrighters we send to Germany and Austria,” said Lisa Grimes, William & Mary Fulbright program advisor. “The proof of his success is in the numbers: four of our students are currently finishing up a year in Austria or Germany, and in the fall we’re sending four students to teach English, one to conduct research, and one student is an alternate for a position in Germany. No other country has nearly that many Fulbright recipients or applications.”
Campbell said that he—along with colleagues—have made a conscious effort over the past decade to assist students in applying for Fulbrights or other academic honors. That help begins with letting the students know what opportunities are available to them as soon as possible in their college career.
He was also quick to note that the College’s Fulbright success begins with its students.
“We don’t coach the students, we don’t write things for them—the students are doing it on their own. We’re just there every step of the way,” Campbell said.
And when those students succeed—as they have done for a decade now—the professors celebrate, too. Campbell, who was an English teaching assistant in Germany himself, knows what it can do for a student’s life and career.