Spring 2022 UW German Studies Newsletter

Dear Alums and Friends of German Studies:

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, their new and ongoing research projects, life after graduation, and their plans for the future.

Sadly, our news also includes an homage to our beloved colleague Hellmut Ammerlahn who passed away this winter after a long battle with cancer. Prof. Ammerlahn taught at UW altogether fifty years and will be greatly missed as teacher, mentor, and scholar. Jane Brown shares her memories and her appreciation of Prof. Ammerlahn’s towering contributions to Goethe studies and beyond. We held a memorial in Prof. Ammerlahn’s honor on May 20 with many of his former students and colleagues from German Studies and Comparative Literature in attendance.

In this newsletter, you will also be able to read about the first Undergraduate Research Showcase that was organized together with UBC and U Vic; you will hear from two students who are leaving the program with advanced graduate degrees (Sophia Schüssler with an MA in Pedagogy and Culture, Justin Mohler with a PhD and off to new adventures at St. Anselm College), a current student who has won a dissertation fellowship at our Simpson Center for the Humanities and will be continuing his research at the University of Münster next year (Matthew Childs), a former PhD and alumn who is looking back on his years at UW (Richard Sperber), and the Hanauer fellows from this year. Last but not least, we are focusing on cutting edge research publications of two of our faculty, Richard Block and Brigitte Prutti. 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 reading it!

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 start into the summer!

Best wishes,

Sabine Wilke

Hellmut Ammerlahn joined the faculty of the Department of Germanics at UW as an instructor in 1963, retired as Professor of Germanics and Comparative Literature in the spring of 2008, and taught five years post-retirement–fifty years in all. For many of us that time was too short. When I joined the faculty twenty-five years after he did, I felt honored to become the colleague of the man whose influential essays on Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre had long been familiar to me. His work is… Read more
On April 2-3, 2022, the inaugural German Studies Undergraduate Research Showcase (#GSURS2022), took place. The event, which was first proposed by Dr. Ervin Malakaj of the University of British Columbia, was co-hosted by the German programs of the University of British Columbia, the University of Victoria, and the University of Washington Seattle. 21 stellar presentations and 3 plenary sessions (including a keynote by our own Dr. Kye Terrasi) celebrated the exciting undergraduate work in German… Read more
My time within the German Studies Department at UW has taught me a multitude of skills. My brilliant professors and mentors have challenged me beyond what I thought I was capable of. It has been an experience of discomfort, hard work, persistence, and so much more. But this experience has allowed me to develop abilities that enabled me to adapt, accomplish and thrive in my endeavors. I am extremely grateful for what the German Studies Department has equipped me with. The skill set aside; I have… Read more
  After a challenging year full of teaching, dissertation writing, job applications, and (mostly) successful attempts to maintain sanity as we begun the transition to life on an almost-but-not-quite-yet normal campus, I am very happy to be able to share some exciting news. After submitting my dissertation, “Beastly Specters: from Hubris to Hybridity in German Romanticism and Beyond”, on May 4th, I plan to defend it in early June. Assuming this final step goes as planned, I will be on track to… Read more
It was a warm September day in 2016 when I was walking with a group of international students along cobblestoned streets discussing the trials and tribulations of finding the best coffee place in town when we turned a corner and came upon a sizeable group of people gathered around an (in my mind) absurdly long table. Before I was able to inquire as to the nature of the gathering, a remarkable sound grew steadily in volume and intensity, drawing the eyes of all observers to a balcony set into… Read more
Greetings from Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin where I have been teaching all levels of German and Spanish not long after graduating from the Department of Comparative Literature. In the Modern Languages Department, we do not primarily teach literary history or literary scholarship but combine textual comprehension with cultural competency and language proficiency. Skills development culminates in skills integration in our capstone course, an independent research project. Feedback and… Read more
When I decided to leave academia after the defense of my dissertation in the spring of 2021, I did not know what to expect. While I enjoyed the work as a teacher in the department and my research, I realized that I needed to try something new that was outside of the familiar walls of Denny Hall. The pandemic and the overall slower nature of life contributed to my decision to start fresh and try something new. At first, the job search seemed dreadful. So many positions, so many possible pathways… Read more
This year-long seminar was structured around the idea that the concept of the Anthropocene challenges us to rethink our basic humanistic values: the centrality of speech for human expression, rational thought, the ability to reason and communicate, the demand for freedom, democracy, justice and human rights, and the creation of cultural expressions based on enlightenment values. In close consultation with the seminar participants, we examined issues such as global migration, climate change,… Read more
The University of Washington’s German Club is organizing weekly meetups for students to hang out, practice their language skills, watch German films together and play some German board games. Recently, they facilitated a ‘Study Slam’ to help prepare 100 and 200 level language students for their final exams. Kaffeestunde This weekly social event provides students from all levels of German with the opportunity to practice and use their language skills in a relaxed… Read more
    The department congratulates all students of the… Read more

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