Fall 2023 UW German Studies Newsletter


Dear Alums and Friends of German Studies:

It is a pleasure to share our latest news in this fall edition of the newsletter. We are decidedly feeling the loss of our long-time chair and colleague, Professor Sabine Wilke, whom we wish all the best on her new adventures in retirement. The department is especially proud to welcome two new faculty members this fall! Assistant Professor Rafael Balling comes to us from Stanford. His explorations of German and Yiddish trans narratives impressed everyone at his job talk so much that we never wanted the conversation afterwards to end. Now it can continue and deepen over many years! We were also able to lure Assistant Teaching Professor Andre Schütze away from Tulane. He will be offering an enticing line-up of courses, including ones on German film and East German literature and culture.

In the newsletter you’ll also read about the exciting new research of both faculty and graduate students. The grad students had a particularly stand-out year as they presented their work at conferences in four different countries. We’re tickled pink to add to their ranks and introduce the two new Kade Fellows who are beginning their studies at UW this year: Arpit Samuel and Martin Schwarz.

You will also be hearing from our amazing undergraduates, There’s a report and student testimonials from our transformative study abroad programs, Spring in Vienna and Summer in Berlin. And we’re very proud of our alum, Alex Minami, who is offering an amazing public online course at the Seattle Opera.

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

We strive to create enriching and memorable experiences for our students, and it’s only your donations that make this possible. This quarter we bonded together as we cheered on Megan Rapinoe in one of her last games for the OL Reign. Students also were thrilled by a production of Alcina by Georg Händel at the Seattle Opera. Their impassioned discussions of the production afterwards were a joy to join in on. The students paid for their own opera tickets this year, however, which is a mark of how much they value these communal cultural encounters. This is an example of the kind of experience we would love to make accessible to more students in future quarters with your donations.

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,


  It was with a poignant mixture of sadness and celebration that we gathered this summer at Rick and Sabine’s beautiful Ballard home on the occasion of Sabine Wilke’s retirement. Everyone present lamented the great loss of Sabine’s leadership and scholarship to the University of Washington, but we were simultaneously happy that she can now embark on an exciting new chapter of her life. Sabine made it expressly clear that she didn’t want “speeches,” but the attendees shared stories and memories… Read more
  Born and raised in Franconia, Rafael has lived in Germany, Spain, Bolivia, Israel and several states in the US (Texas, Tennessee, and California) before arriving in Seattle and beginning his appointment at the University of Washington. He has previously taught at such different places as the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt/Oder and the University of Texas, El Paso. In 2023, he received his PhD in German studies and a minor PhD in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality studies from… Read more
Andre Schuetze first came to the US by way of Berlin, with lengthy stopovers in Los Angeles and New Orleans, and is very happy to have landed in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.  He did his graduate degrees at Humboldt Universität and UCLA, focusing on twentieth-century and contemporary German and Austrian Studies, surveillance and utopia, and film studies.  He then moved on to the Big Easy, birthplace of jazz and home of the daiquiri drive through.  At Tulane University, he taught classes on… Read more
UW German Studies faculty continue to push forward the disciplines of literary and cultural studies. You can follow their exciting research on individual professors’ faculty pages. In 2023, UW faculty were invited to be guest editors by three leading journals in German Studies. The Special Issues they produced show off the breadth and depth of the department’s research. In each case, the Special Issue challenges conventional assumptions about well-trodden fields:  Annegret Oehme asks what… Read more
  Aaron Carpenter   Submitted "Can Chickens Cry", an article based on the third chapter of my dissertation to Gegenwartsliteratur. It is currently under peer review. The article examines the tension in Marica Bodrožić’s German-language novel Kirschholz und Alte Gefühle, between the character Mateo’s working to rid the Croatian language of loanwords, which he calls… Read more
Greetings everyone. My name is Arpit Samuel. It feels good to be here, especially having this opportunity to be part of University of Washington as a Max Kade Fellow in the Department of German Studies. Coming from India, this has been a huge move for me, but all the more exciting, with the way everything has exploded into life from my humble beginnings. I taught myself German mostly on my own through books in the hopes of expanding my reach in my profession and ended up doing Masters in… Read more
Greetings! My name is Martin Schwartz, and I’m delighted to return to my academic journey—after a generous break—as a Kade Fellow at the University of Washington Department of German Studies. I completed my MA at University of Chicago in 2006, writing about contemporary German drama, after earning my BA in Literatures of the World (German), at UC San Diego, and an indelible year at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin through the University of California’s honors study program. Since those times… Read more
From Wien to Berlin: Our students reflect on the Spring in Vienna and Summer in Berlin study abroad programs.  See what they have to say! You should apply for Summer in Berlin… because Berlin is such an amazing, vibrant and lively city. It has something for everyone, whether you like parks, museums, art, music, food or anything else. The program is really well organized and Kye and Andre pick a great variety of activities to try and show the students a diverse… Read more
Opera 101 at SEATTLEOPERA.ORG begins November 7! In this six-part beginner’s guide series, join Associate Director of Community Engagement Lokela Alexander Minami for lively and informative multimedia presentations that will help you make sense of this larger-than-life art form by giving you some essential terms and taking you on a listening tour of some of the most popular… Read more


Your donation helps us to:

  • Provide student fellowships and awards
  • Enhance study abroad and internship options
  • Support student and faculty research
  • Fund student-centered activities and events   

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   

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