Advising and enrollment weeks are coming up and the ASC German Studies program has several new courses in its offerings. Keep in mind that all of our upper-level courses count for a SUMMIT category in the Global or the Leadership track.
While we recommend to all of you to pursue language-learning beyond the the ASC language requirement, several of our courses are taught in English and will enable you to acquire the cross-cultural knowledge important for your future learning even if you haven’t yet taken intermediate language courses.
German Studies/Economics double major Sarah Harris is currently finishing up her last semester at Agnes Scott College. She’s already looking back at how Agnes helped her to become educated for a global world. We are happy to hear that German Studies played a crucial role in this process, from the courses at ASC to a teaching gig at Dortmund University and an internship offer from Porsche. But see for yourself…
Fall wouldn’t be fall without watching a German film now and then–we’ll get started on Thursday, Sep 24, at 7pm in Campbell Fanny Graves auditorium (Room 128). The series will offer a survey of more recent German cinema, from the historical to the culinary.
Students with an interest in history want to make sure to not miss the screening of Margarethe von Trotta’s Rosenstrasse, based on a true event in which a group of women began to protest against the Nazis in order to free their imprisoned Jewish husbands. Childhood and education play an important role in Austrian director Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon, which focuses on the oppressive social atmosphere and harsh child-rearing practices in a small German village at the outset of World War I. When does activism become terrorism? That’s the question Continue reading
National Public Radio today had an interview with German author Peter Schneider, asking him about his views of Berlin 25 years after those stirring days in November 1989 that brought down the wall and changed Europe’s history.Schneider has just finished a new book, called “Berlin Now,” where he brings to bear his experience of 50 plus years in Berlin on the current situation. Among German readers, Schneider is well known as the author of several by now canonical works. Most notably with regard to the Berlin Wall is his “Wall Jumper” [Mauerspringer], which addresses life in a divided city. But his literary accounts of the student revolution, published in his “Lenz” and, much more recently, in the semi-documentary novel “Rebellion und Wahn,” are equally popular.
There is an Agnes Scott connection:
The leisurely walk through a nice residential area makes it difficult to prepare for our visit to Hohenschönhausen, the former remand prison of the GDR’s secret police–STASI. At the same time it underscores the secretive nature of this project: Over fifty years, this large compound in the Eastern outskirts of Berlin could not be found on any map. Residents of the area were told that a police training facility and a large kitchen are located behind the walls. The prison was first used by the Soviet Union, which had occupied Germany’s east after WW II and then functioned as protector of the newly created state, the GDR, from 1949 on. In 1959, the GDR’s secret police took over and, over the decades, “treated” at least 7,000 prisoners in this facility. In other words, they used a wide range of psychological forms of torture to manipulate prisoners–political dissidents, intellectuals, artists, etc.–into confessing “crimes against the people.”
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 Reading Two Recent Memoirs by Afro-Germans
Two recent memoirs by German authors with an African connection emphasize that German history cannot be written without including the histories and perspectives of black Germans (as well as that of many other non-white people).
In Deutsch sein und Schwarz dazu [Being German and also Being Black], published in 2013 with Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag, author Theodor Michael takes a long and probing look back at his experiences as a black German. Born in 1925 to a white German mother from the Eastern Prussian provinces and a black Cameroonian father, Michael’s childhood and youth coincided with the decline of the democratic German Weimar Republic and the rise of National Socialism.
In a low key style Michael recollects his participation in the infamous Völkerschauen [colonial peoples exhibits] organized by circusses and zoos. He describes his attempts to get by as hotel page and as extra in some of the Third Reich’s anti-British colonial films. And he details the toll that life under the Nuremberg race laws took on his body and mind. While his siblings managed to get out of Germany, Theodor Michael stayed behind, spending the last years of the regime as a forced laborer in a factory outside of Berlin, where he survived the war. After liberation, he managed to get into the Western zone, where he then tried to rebuild his life.
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.
Join us for an info session on studying and researching in German-speaking countries. Our expert panel will feature Andrea Harris and Katherine Robinson, two ASC German students who have recently returned from studying abroad in Germany and Switzerland, respectively. Sarah Harris is currently studying abroad in Germany and Nga Than, an ASC alumna, is researching the situation of Vietnamese immigrants with the Max Planck institute in Germany. Sarah and Nga Than will join us via skype to provide their advise.
Refreshments will be provided by the Faust Club.
When: Thursday, November 7, 1-2pm
Where: Buttrick Hall 211
Happy advising week, Scotties! Enrollment for Spring 2014 is coming up. Here’s a list of the German courses you can choose from in addition to the language courses, German 102 and German 202.
Please note: In Spring 2014 only, German 340 “Afro-German History and Culture” will be taught as a hybrid online course. Don’t be confused by the odd course time listed in AscAgnes: It’s the designated meeting time for face-to-face and online meetings, but the course is worth four credits and carries the usual workload for 300-level courses. Click here for more information about this course.