Fall 2015 UW Germanics Newsletter

Dear Friends of Germanics and Alums,

„What a dump,“ we whispered to ourselves, before moving to Condon Hall, quoting a memorable opening line. In the meantime, we have come to appreciate the many charms of this brutalist, prison-style building, its spacious offices and amazing views, not to mention the huge old elm tree just around the corner and the sleek new student dorms all around us, and we already anticipate being very unhappy upon moving back to Denny Hall. That’s an academic neurosis as it should be. But for now we are happily celebrating the end of another successful quarter and Charles Barrack’s impending retirement after a long and distinguished career, along with the holiday season, and we send holiday greetings from UW Germanics to you all. How we will fare without our two beloved linguists and the most collegial of colleagues, Charles Barrack and Joe Voyles, who fully retired just a bit earlier than Charles, remains to be seen. We extend our warmest retirement wishes to them both and hope that they will visit us often in Condon and Denny Hall.


Brigitte Prutti
Professor of German, Chair

Joe Voyles shares his thoughts on longtime friend and colleague, Charles Barrack:     I first met C.M. Barrack in September of 1965 when I had just been hired as an assistant professor here in the German department and he had just arrived from California to be a first-year graduate student.  He introduced himself to me at a departmental meeting.  My first impression was that of a highly motivated, intellectually honest and committed, somewhat voluble and very personable student whom it would… Read more
Tribute to Professor Charles Barrack Professor Charles Barrack has impacted many students over his half a century at the University of Washington. The short tributes below represent not just the individuals telling them, but give voice to the countless other students impacted over the course of Professor Barrack’s teaching career. On behalf of all of those students, thank you very much for imparting your knowledge, passion, and love of all things German, and life in general, on a daily basis… Read more
Diana Behler pays tribute to Charles Barrack as he concludes a long and distinguished career: Charles Barrack has been my colleague for many years, and this has been my good fortune. My days often began with his head poking into my office, a big smile on his face and a cheerful, uplifting greeting. An expert linguist, he has maintained an interest in philosophy and literature, publishing some essays in these fields too. Since retiring a few years ago, I realized how much I missed his company… Read more
Jason arrived at the University of Washington after completing a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in the Integrated Humanities at Yale University, where he also earned his doctorate in German Studies. Having grown up on the West Coast, where he attended the University of California, San Diego for undergraduate studies, he is delighted to return to this part of the world. The question that runs through much of his work—What is the place of the human on the earth and how can the imagination… Read more
New Undergraduate Course for Winter 2016 with Professor Jason Groves: German 298A: Cultures of Extinction takes a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding one of the more wicked problems of the 21st century: mass species extinction, or The Sixth Extinction, as it is often known. Rather than approaching this event as a discrete biological phenomenon, this course looks at how current threats to bio-diversity are… Read more
Washington native and UW Alum, Chris Turchin, shares how degrees in Germanics and Business Admininstration took him from Issaquah, and UW Seattle, to life on the shores of Lake Constance (October 2015): It all started with a language class my freshman year. I took it to impress a German girl, not with a plan to major in Germanics. Awarded the German Express stipend, I was able to spend a semester in Tübingen, and to experience first-hand how exciting political, cultural, and economic life was… Read more
We are very happy to announce another enjoyable “mentoring lunch” with a Germanics alum and current majors. On November 16, Elise Kalstad (class of 2012) joined three Germanics students for a chat over sandwiches at the UW club.  Elise works to improve health care for low-income mothers with International Community Health Services (ICHS), a local non-profit organization. She shared the story of the path to her current career, her hopes for the future, and… Read more
KaffeestundeThe Department of Germanics is hosting a Kaffeestunde and we are delighted to offer a forum for our vibrant community of German speakers. This weekly social event provides students from all levels of German with the opportunity to practice and use their language skills in a relaxed and unstructured setting. Drawing on an important aspect of German culture, Kaffeezeit, students have the experience of socializing with friends and meeting new people over a cup of coffee, all… Read more
I came to the UW Germanics after a career in microbiology and medical technology. I decided to reconnect with my background and Professor Rey, the then Department Chair invited me to join the Master's program with a TA in Scientific German. This was followed by an invitation to join the PhD program and the rest is my history of a great career teaching and researching German language, literature and culture, meeting interesting people of all ages and culminating in the award of the German Order… Read more
In a fierce new adaptation that takes Handke's experiments into the 21st century, Misha Neininger and John Berendzen orchestrate a complex musical, visual and conceptual score out of the original bare-bones text: sonically, rhythmic sung- spoken textual textures interact with an electronic soundscape; surveillance technology confronts the audience fumbling with messy feedback loops in the dark.… Read more
On Laryngealism. A Coursebook in the History of a Science. Joe Voyles and Charles Barrack. University of Washington. This book is a much-needed refutation of the laryngeal theory of Proto-Indo-European (PIE) phonology. It is intended for both linguists and non-linguists, particularly scholars interested in the history and logic of the sciences. Each chapter concludes with exercises and a key with answers to the exercises. Chapter 1 "Terminology and method." explains the approach to… Read more
This past summer the department packed away a century of memories (and files, and furniture!) and moved from the third floor of Denny Hall into our temporary accommodations high in Condon Hall, overlooking the growing Seattle skyline and an entire summer of golden sunsets. After many years of planning (and a budgetary setback known as 2008), the renovation of Denny Hall was finally underway! This November, the former (and future!) occupants of Denny were allowed a peek inside the fenced-off… Read more
Thanks to the following donors for their generous support of the Department of Germanics. Private contributions help us support undergraduate and graduate students, sponsor public lectures, and provide resources for faculty and student research. If you would like to donate to the department, please visit Support Us for more information. Hellmut and Cheryl AmmerlahnAustrian/American CouncilUrsula R. BannisterMargarete C. BergThe… Read more