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Spring 2021 UW German Studies Newsletter

Dear Alums and Friends of German Studies:

Yes, you read correctly: we recently changed our name from Germanics to German Studies to make the department and our degrees more legible for our students and to reflect the fact that we have, in fact, become a Department of German Studies inclusive of a great variety of different approaches, methodologies, historical and thematic interests, and an intense passion for justice issues.

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

Sadly, our news also includes an homage to our beloved colleague Joe Voyles who passed away on April 4th after a long battle with cancer.  Professor Block shares his memories as well as the memories of former colleagues. Joe was one of a kind and will be forever missed!

As I write this, we have been offering classes and seminars on Zoom for over a year! We hope that we will be back teaching in-person classes in the fall and be able to take students abroad again next year. What will remain of the ways we’ve been doing things during the pandemic? Perhaps a hybrid approach to lectures and events, also to address climate action (less flying and travelling, more emphasis on virtual and regional programming?).

In this newsletter, you will be able to read about our prize-winning undergraduates, graduate students, former students, faculty and their exciting research and teaching projects. I hope you enjoy our new spotlight interviews where we feature current and former students and their career trajectories. 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 outcome!

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 great spring and a start into the summer!

Best wishes,

Sabine Wilke

Our newsletter would not be complete without your contributions. Let us know how you are coping with this difficult moment in history. What makes you get up in the morning? How can we support and inspire each other? How can we embrace chaos without falling apart? You can submit your responses to the newsletter editor, Misha Neininger at

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