Where Are These Eggs?

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

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Women’s Leadership in a German/European Context

How do German companies address questions of gender discrimination? What are the policies and rules related to “equal opportunity” work places? And what’s the state of affairs when it comes to women in leading positions in the public and private sectors? We tried to find answers to these questions during a meeting with the European Academy for Women in Politics and Economy in Berlin and a meeting with the Office for Gender Mainstreaming of the city of Dresden. Aside from learning about the specific programs that these offices and departments offer, we also gained insights into the respective cultural norms underlying the discussions about gender equality. For instance, the EAF works with companies to ensure that qualified women will hear about and take advantage of their support programs after parental leave, which can be up to two and a half years in Germany. The EAF also coaches women in how to stay in touch with their employer to facilitate re-entry after the leave. Furthermore, EAF promotes a more sustainable definition of careers that includes a rethinking of male work schedules in order to achieve a better work-life balance for families. Continue reading Women’s Leadership in a German/European Context

Former Stasi Prison Hohenschönhausen

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.”

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Exploring Berlin

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 Exploring Berlin

ASC in Germany 2014

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.

ASC in Germany 2014 Announced!

For those students who have been asking if there will be another faculty-led trip to Germany, here’s the news: Yes, there will be. All relevant information can be found in the flyer attached to this post. Tentative dates are May 11 – May 25, 2014, and the focus will be on aspects of leadership in Germany in the areas of art, politics, and sustainability. (As you might know if you’ve followed the recent elections in Germany, the country just reaffirmed its interest in women’s leadership by giving chancellor Angela Merkel a remarkable election outcome).

For all logistical questions about the trip, especially when it comes to passports and visas, please contact the Office of International Education at Agnes Scott College. For all academic questions you can contact Prof. Gundolf Graml (ggraml[AT]agnesscott.edu).

The cost for students will be $1,250 and study-abroad funds can be used for this trip. The cost per student is actually closer to $5,000, and here’s a big thank you to The Halle Foundation, whose generous grants have enabled similar trips in the past and will also do so in 2014.

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Food, Art, and Music Featured at ASC in Germany Presentations

Did you know that US fast food in general contains much more high-fructose corn syrup than similar food in Germany? Have you ever thought about how a dense public transportation infrastructure might contribute to overall better public health conditions?

These and other questions were addressed during the presentations given by ASC students who had participated in the ASC in Germany trip co-lead by Profs. Gundolf Graml (German Studies) and Katherine Smith (Art History) in May 2012. This two week trip, which started in Berlin and then led students via Weimar and Dessau to Köln (Cologne), offered students an opportunity to pursue interdisciplinary projects from various perspectives.

Continue reading Food, Art, and Music Featured at ASC in Germany Presentations