International Education Week also happens in Evans Dining Hall. ASC’s adventurous dining hall crew went into overdrive to create a weeklong menu featuring dishes from many different regions and cultures. Today they will feature Germany, and, to everyone’s surprise, it will be “Bratwurst.” (Bavaria and Austria are celebrating. Berliners: We’ll try to get Currywurst and Döner Kebap next year!). Come and join our German lunch table and don’t forget to stop by the German Club’s table to learn about study abroad, German courses, fellowships, and much more from our amazing German club team and the untiring Fulbright Teaching Assistant, Julia Peyreder! They even created a video for the occasion, capturing some student voices about their experience with German at ASC:
“Die Grenzen meiner Sprache bedeuten die Grenzen meiner Welt [The limitations of my language form the limitations of my world(view)” — Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein‘s sentence illustrates to what extent language shapes our thinking and creativity. Participants and attendees at Monday evening’s first “Global Night of Poetry and Music” at Agnes Scott College experienced the extent to which a multilingual experience can broaden our intellectual and creative horizons. Guided by “emcee” Ishara Agostini, the event featured students performing poems in spoken and sung form from antiquity to the twenty first century and exposed the audience to the rhythms, sounds, and expressive linguistic elements of Latin, Greek, Urdu, German, and Catalan, among others.
When we teach the 20th-century history and culture of Germany and Austria, we repeatedly caution students against drawing all-too quick parallels between National Socialism and other anti-democratic developments. This is mainly to avoid the re-categorization of Hitler’s Third Reich as yet another manifestation of a kind of universal “evil.” National Socialism, we emphasize, originated in the historically specific political and cultural environment of early 20th-century Germany and Austria. And the postwar generations of these countries, irrespective of their families’ personal involvement, own the responsibility to maintain political alertness against fascist tendencies.
But there are moments when the parallels between anti-democratic and racist movements in the United States and National Socialism must be highlighted. This is the moment, and Charlottesville is the place.
We hope everybody’s enjoying the final weeks of summer. At the German Studies program we look forward to seeing returning and new students soon. As you are getting ready for arrival on campus, make sure that one of your first stop will be at the Center for Global Learning in Buttrick Hall. We have only a few seats left in the May 2018 Global Study tour to Germany and the deadline for completed applications is September 27. Remember, even if you are trying to figure out budget etc., it’s important to sign up asap, for only then can the financial aid office tell you how much award money or financial aid money you can get. More information and a link for signing up can be found here. If you have any questions about the CARTA enrollment process, please e-mail Julie Champlin, Coordinator of Faculty-led Study-Abroad Programs, at email@example.com. If you have any questions about the study tour itself, do not hesitate to e-mail Gundolf Graml at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope to see you at one of the three information events coming up at the start of the semester:
Join the ASC German Club for a fun Easter Egg Hunt.
When: Thursday, March 24, 4:30pm
Where: Plaza in front of Alston Student Center
Please join us for Prof. Katie Faull’s lecture, Stories of the Susquehanna, on Monday, March 28, 2016, 3:30-4:30pm, in Bullock Science Center/Teasley Lecture Hall (open to the public).
Prof. Faull has received several large NEH grants to translate and digitize documents from the Moravian archives in Bethlehem, PA. The Moravian community was founded by 18th-century German-speaking immigrants who in turn descended from Protestant communities in today’s Czech Republic.
The Stories of the Susquehanna project examines how these early settlers interacted with Native American communities, with the environment in the upper branches of the Susquehanna river, and forms a showcase project for digital undergraduate research. The lecture is open to the public, please direct any questions to email@example.com.
The United States have the Super Bowl, Europe has the Eurovision Song Contest. Almost 200 Million people watch how performers from 40+ countries compete for the votes of the televoting audience. (No, you have not missed a sudden expansion of the European Union — the European Broadcasting Union is significantly larger than the EU, including many Eastern European countries as well as Turkey and Israel, for instance.)
Over time, most winning performers have not left a lasting imprint on the global entertainment industry. The Swedish band ABBA and the Canadian singer Celine Dion (yes, her — she actually won the contest starting for Switzerland!) are the exceptions confirming the norm.
The winner of the 2014 contest did leave an imprint: Conchita Wurst, a “Kunstfigur” created by the Austrian performer Thomas Neuwirth, surprised the audience not so much with her song but with her overall performance which boldly challenged heteronormative gender expectations.
To watch a video and read more, click below. Continue reading
2015 is a big year for Austria: 70th anniversary of liberation from National Socialism; 60th anniversary of the State Treaty, and 20th anniversary of Austrian membership in the EU. The meaning of these events has, over the years, changed quite a bit and in German 200 we will take the opportunity to look back not only at these events but at 100 years of Austrian history (1915-2015). The following questions will guide us:
It’s been a bit quiet on the blog lately, mainly due to the fact that I’m on research leave to complete my book on Tourism and Austrian national identity. But this morning I came across a photo on twitter that I can’t ignore, because it shows two of Agnes Scott alums program as part of the Fulbright Austria Program in Vienna (look for the red circles in the photo): Continue reading
An exploration of the historical district of Berlin was scheduled for our first full day in Germany. We started out at the Hackeschen Höfe, the beautifully restored city block featuring restaurants, small shops, and residential areas. Dating back to the early 20th century, this ensemble was badly damaged in World War II and barely renovated during the GDR period. Today the courtyards look great again, illustrating the attraction of what nowadays is called “mixed-use development,” but also the fact that this kind of expensive renovation comes at the cost of replacing small independent shops with international brands. Continue reading
On May 11 another group of Scotties will depart for Germany to study aspects of history, culture, and environmental regulation on location. The two-week study trip will be co-lead by Profs. Gundolf Graml (German Studies, also the main author of this blog) and Katherine Smith (Art History). We will spend our first week in Berlin where we will meet with representatives from government and from cultural organizations. The second week will lead us from Berlin to Dresden, Leipzig, and Weimar, where we will visit historical sites such as the former concentration camp of Buchenwald near Weimar, meet with leaders of the Dresden city government, and learn about the philosophy behind the Volkswagen company’s architectural design of a car manufacturing plant in the heart of Dresden. And, of course, we will try to meet as many former Scotties as we can while in Germany (I’m talking to you, Lucy Nga Than). We will try to post frequent updates on this blog and invite you to follow and ask questions.
Millions of people know about Amon Goeth, the commander of the former National Socialist concentration camp in Plaszow-Krakov in Poland, from Ralph Fienne’s performance of this character in Steven Spielberg’s film Schindler’s List (1993). This also applies to Jennifer Teege, for whom Amon Goeth was a distant historical figure until that specific day a few years ago, when she discovered that Goeth was in fact her biological grandfather.
For Teege, the daughter of a Nigerian father and a white German mother (Monika Goeth), the discovery was a shock. As a Black German who had lived in Israel and worked with Holocaust survivors, she had been acutely aware of Germany’s history, but had also felt to stand on the “good” side of the German discourse about the Nazi past.
In her memoir Amon: Mein Großvater hätte mich erschossen [Amon: My Grandfather Would Have Killed Me], Teege offers a moving account of how the discovery affected her personally as well as a unique perspective on Germany’s attempts at coming to terms with the past. Jennifer Teege will visit Agnes Scott College during the week of April 14 – 17, 2014. She will read from her memoir and discuss her experiences. For more information, see the poster below. Please contact Prof. Gundolf Graml, Dir. of German Studies, with any questions at ggraml[at]agnesscott.edu.
Agnes Scott College just released a new video showcasing the opportunities offered by its Liberal Arts Curriculum. Check it out, it also mentions where studying German can get you:
Since 1991, the German Parliament, called Bundestag, has been meeting again in the Reichstag. Built by the Kaiser, burnt down by the Nazis, and then lingering in the no-man’s-land along the Berlin Wall for decades, this building synthesizes more than others the many layers of German history. Continue reading