German Studies in the Era of Trump

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…

SUMMIT, the Liberal Arts, and the German Prison System

“What can I do with a German Studies Major?” — It’s not atypical at this time of the year to receive  e-mails that either implicitly or directly ask this question. And to those of you who are asking, thank you! You initiate an important dialogue about the benefits of liberal-arts learning and the role of…

German-speaking News Headlines On Obama’s Reelection

Europeans have closely followed the developments during this election. Here’s a brief overview of this morning’s headlines of online media outlets in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The Austrian daily newspaper Der Standard leads with Obama’s victory, “Obama reelected, President emphasizes the country’s unity.” In its overview, the newspaper also highlights the difficulties the president has to overcome…

The Euro and German Democracy

Yesterday, Germany’s Supreme Court decided that the “European Stability Mechanism [EMS]” did not violate Germany’s constitution, the Grundgesetz [Basic Law]. It also stated however, that Germany’s current liability stops at the level of the 190 Billion Euros the country had so far contributed to the so-called “Euro rescue umbrella” financed by all European Union members. Any…

Austrian Architects Design Expo 2012 Building

If it looks like a giant stranded fish, that’s intended: The Austrian architecture office “soma” designed the building to illustrate the Expo’s theme “The Living Ocean and Coast.”

A New Wave of “Gastarbeiter”?

In 2011 Germany celebrated the 50th anniversary of its first guest worker treaty. (At ASC we marked that historical moment with two lectures by historian Rita Chin and German-Turkish author Yadé Kara.) In 2012 it seems as if history will repeat itself, albeit in a different context. Following the great recession that began in 2008,…

Agnes Scott Offers Diverse German Studies Experience

Oktoberfest, beer, and blue-eyed, blond people dancing to oompah music–anyone who is involved in the teaching or promotion of German language and culture in the US has encountered these stereotypes and has probably felt torn between catering to them and deconstructing them. In a recent NYT article, these stereotypes were cited as a problem and…

Bilinguals are Smarter

If you ever needed more evidence that learning a second language is important, here it is: Speaking another language makes you smarter and protects you against dementia and Alzheimer’s. Here’s more: The collective evidence from a number of such studies suggests that the bilingual experience improves the brain’s so-called executive function — a command system…

Learning A Second Language Boosts Self-Control

In Sunday’s NYT, authors Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang use the hype around the most recent book “Bringing up Bébé” by Pamela Druckerman to highlight their insights into education. Two of their arguments stood out for me: First, unlike Americans, parents in other cultures are not so concerned about their children’s self-esteem. They tell their…

Gerhard Richter

Great article in the NYT about the big Gerhard Richter exhibition at the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin. Richter will turn 80 this month, and the show offers a big retrospective of his impressive work. Here’s an interview with Gerhard Richter from 2006 (in English):