Fall 2020 UW Germanics Newsletter

Dear Alums and Friends of Germanics:

It is with great pride that we are sharing our latest news. You will be able to read about what faculty and students in Germanics are up to even during COVID times, their new and ongoing research projects, life after graduation, and their responses to the ongoing crisis.

During this season, I am inviting you to make a donation to our fund, Friends of Germanics, which supports students and faculty who present papers at conferences—nowadays in a digital environment—, guest speakers in Zoom webinars, scholarly publications, student awards, and many other activities that are so vital in a small department.

As I write this, we have been offering classes and seminars on Zoom for almost nine months. Protests about the social and racial injustices evident in this country and elsewhere are uncovering systemic problems. All of us are, as a community and as individuals, struggling with making sense of what is going on around us. But as educators we all share a sense of responsibility for upholding a level of discourse that is reflective, thoughtful, historically informed, culturally sensitive, and respectful of the many differences that we embrace and celebrate.

In this newsletter, you can read about our newly minted adjunct and affiliate professors, former students, and our emeriti. We are such a vibrant, diverse, and thriving community that it was hard to fit all the stories into the confines of a brief newsletter. I hope you enjoy the product!

Thank you so much for your help and your continued support of the Department and its programs. The faculty joins me in wishing you a very pleasant holiday season, robust health, and a great start into the New Year!

Best wishes,


Incoming Freshmen in Early Fall Start studied Revolutions and their Art (Aug-Sept 2020).  Students were located across the world in this remote learning course taught by Germanics professor, Ellwood Wiggins. In class, they discussed representations of revolutions from the 18th century to today, including the American Revolution ( Read more
In September 2019 the Freedom Education Project Puget Sound (FEPPS), a nonprofit organization designed to offer college courses to students at Washington Correction Center for Women (WCCW), was looking for instructors to teach a German 121 course in their program. We volunteered. Since the Department of Corrections was prohibited by law to offer and pay for a program of higher education for incarcerated people serving a sentence of more than seven years, FEPPS (privately funded) with students… Read more
This past summer I had the singular pleasure of taking my first ride down to Southern California. In the picture above, one sees the last feeble rays of sunshine as they give way to a long evening to be spent speeding down an Oregon highway. Except, the picture above was taken at 9:11:36 am. The glow was that of nearby fires and not of celestial rays fanning out from the center of our solar system. What one witnesses in this picture was the result of the raging wildfires that struck up and down… Read more
What is the singular reality of humanistic objects of study? To appreciate this, New Ecological Realisms argues, we need a new concept of the real that hinges on, instead of denying, organization and form. Advocating for a new contextual realism of complex and embedded wholes, actor-networks, and ecologies, New Ecological Realisms brings together four groups of theories/theorists that have never been considered together before, and who formulate such… Read more
This year Joe Voyles and Charles Barrack--with essential editorial assistance from daughter Christina Voyles and husband Robert Hubble--finished a book, "Proto-Indo-European Word Stress: Its Lithuanian Reflex" (LINCOM Studies in Indo-European Linguistics 53. 246 pages. 2020). The development of Lithuanian word stress has long lent itself to misinterpretation.  Many… Read more
Last December, when I was looking through early issues of Modern Language Quarterly, I came across an essay by Richard j. Browne and M. C. Davis, "Goethe and the Yo-Yo," Modern Language Quarterly (1953) 14 (1): 98–101.  It's quite brief and delightfully informative.  The word yo-yo is a deformation of the… Read more
In addition to language instruction at UW this quarter, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to design and teach a new upper-level course for German majors at the University of Puget Sound entitled: “The Lives of Animals”. From ancient cave paintings in France to Voyager’s interstellar whale song, many of our greatest achievements in the arts and sciences have involved representations of non-human animals. The course offered students the chance to collectively explore how, why, and for whom… Read more
Susanne Rinner is a teacher-scholar and the author of The German Student Movement and the Literary Imagination: Transnational Memories of Protest and Dissent (2013). In 2012, she edited a special issue of International Poetry Review with a focus on poetry written in German by multilingual authors. Her current book project, tentatively titled Heroic Rebels: Representations of Radical Identities in Contemporary German Fiction, examines the image of the rebel in… Read more
André Schuetze is a Professor of Practice in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies at Tulane University in New Orleans. Originally from Berlin, he studied at the Humboldt University and the University of California, Los Angeles. He teaches courses on Berlin, East German culture and society, the Holocaust and film and media. He recently created a course on Austrian and Swiss film and literature in which students analyzed issues of identity and the emergence of modernity in other… Read more
My current work focuses on Kant, Schopenhauer, and the ethics of persuasion. For Kant, I am organizing a workshop on Kant's fundamental assumptions, which will draw in scholars from the US, Canada, the UK, and Germany and result in a volume of essays on the topic. For Schopenhauer, I am writing two articles on aspects of Schopenhauer's compassion-centered ethics. For the ethics of persuasion, I am launching two new classes on that theme, and preparing to write a trade book (working title: "An… Read more
I grew up on a ranch in northern California thinking I would become a cowgirl. But while getting my undergraduate degree in biology at Yale, I developed a love for the German language and culture, further inspired by the fall of the Berlin wall my junior year. Working in a cancer research lab in Seattle after graduation, I continued to read and study German, and during a year in Tübingen as a lab technician at the Max-Planck Institute I spent weekends and vacations exploring the country. When I… Read more
After graduating with my BA in German in 2013, I immediately began my graduate studies in the German department at UC Berkeley. Having worked closely with Chuck Barrack and Joe Voyles at UW, I was well prepared to continue studying the history of the Germanic languages. I spent five great years in Berkeley, where I had the opportunity to teach German for three years, present at conferences, travel abroad to study medieval manuscripts, and enjoy the wonderful Bay Area weather. Although my… Read more
Today I work as a Sales Representative for the Small Business Division of ADT Security, specializing in IoT and encryption. I hope to pursue an MBA program in Germany starting Winter of 2021. The ultimate goal is to start an organization that helps refugees to find jobs in the tech sector, since the market is exploding and the opportunities are numerous. I certainly miss learning from each of the department members in the classroom, with special thanks to Professors Gray, Wiggins, Prutti, and… Read more
I am a historian of queer and trans politics. My book on fascism and the politics of sex is Sex and the Weimar Republic: German Homosexual Emancipation and the Rise of the Nazis (2015); it reexamines the gay and trans rights movements of the 1920s, which were the… Read more
Sabine Lang is a professor of European and International Politics at the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies. She directs the Center for West European Studies and chairs the European Studies Program. Her research focuses on political representation, civil society, and gender in Europe with a focus on Germany and the EU. She is currently co-editing a Special Issue  for the journal German Politics on Leading from Behind? Gender Equality in Germany During the Merkel Era… Read more
In the spirit of the times, I wrote a long and bleak essay on Grillparzer’s bleakest political play while sketching another, more hopeful essay on the literary phenomenology of summer with its multifarious sounds, sights, and Sommerfrische delights. The former will be published later this fall, the latter remains unwritten to date. Two editing projects are in the works as well as a short book on Portraits of the Artist as an Old Man in late 19th century Vienna. Literary… Read more
I moved to Seattle to begin a one-year teaching program in the Germanics Department at the University of Washington in the autumn of 2019. As an exchange instructor from Germany, I was very excited by the opportunity to teach American students about my mother tongue and the German culture. That excitement has been borne out. I have had so many wonderful students in my classes that are curious, hard-working and open to learning German. Teaching is my passion, and that did not change during the… Read more
October 3, 2020 marks the 30th anniversary of German unification. The period between the fall of the Wall in November 1989 and the signing of the Unification Treaty on October 3, 1990 stands for German political ingenuity in reclaiming a unified nation. At the same time, we need to acknowledge that Willy Brandt’s dictum “Now what belongs together will grow together” has been only partially realized. While formal unification took barely a year, it turns out that unity takes generations.… Read more
This year, the German Department Film Series will be a little different—in response to social distancing and shelter-in-place guidelines and with generous support of the German Embassy's campus weeks program, we have decided to transition to an online streaming model with three unique options for students. First, we have a series of thematically linked movies available on our website, all centering around the experience of diversity in Germany. Second, students will have the option of… Read more
Cool Course #1 Fairy Tales, Revisited: Ecologies, Adaptations, Decolonizations Paying particular attention to the environmental cultures and values of these tales and their adaptations, topics will include enchanted forests; folk-lore, plant-lore, and animal-lore; convivial (and not so convivial) human-animal relations; and hybrid nature-cultures. Critical perspectives on our primary readings are drawn from readings in… Read more
This year we received a major contribution to one of our endowments by Peter Neurath. Faculty and students in Germanics thank Peter for his very generous gift in the memory of his mother, Hilde Bial. Proceeds from the Neurath endowment will support students and faculty alike but also ensure programming and events in the future. You can read more about Peter’s family history on our webpage: https://german.washington.edu/neurath-… Read more

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  • Provide student fellowships and awards
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If you would like to share your story or any news about recent projects, publications or travels, please contact the newsletter editor, Misha Neininger at nein@uw.edu                                                                                  

Happy Holidays and thank you for your support!