Spring 2023 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 what faculty and students in German Studies are up to, learn about 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 Manfred Bansleben who passed away in December 2022. Prof. Bansleben was the director of our language program and taught at UW many years after teaching at the Internationales Kulturinstitut in Vienna, the University of Virginia, and the University of Alabama. He also implemented our very successful Study Abroad program Spring in Vienna which partners with the Internationles Kulturinstitut in Vienna. He will be greatly missed as teacher, mentor of graduate student teachers, and scholar. Prof. emeritus Rick Gray shares his memories and appreciation of Prof. Bansleben’s towering contributions to our graduate program since he was trained by Prof. Bansleben when he was a graduate student at UVA. You will also learn about Prof. Bansleben’s mentorship of graduate student teachers from many student testimonials included here.

In this newsletter, you will also be able to read about two student projects that were completed in our courses, the exciting events that the German Club held in winter and is planning for spring, hear from our exchange students from and to Münster, and meet the Hanauer fellows from this year. 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! With this newsletter I am also saying good bye to all of you as I am retiring the end of June.

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
Sabine Wilke 



The German Studies Department mourns the loss of our beloved friend and colleague, Manfred Bansleben. Manfred passed unexpectedly on December 1, 2022, after a brief bout with pneumonia, just one day before his eighty-first birthday. For over 20 years, Manfred was the creative and organizational force behind the German Department’s highly successful language program. As German Language Program Coordinator and TA Supervisor, he trained generations of graduate student teaching assistants in… Read more
Rachel Lundeen wins the prestigious Herman S. & Dorothy B. Lederman Endowed Scholarship of the College of Arts & Sciences for the 2023-24 academic year!   Here is her winning statement so that you learn more about Rachel’s ambitions and goals: “’But what’s the point of that?’ My friend’s words gave me pause. I had just described one of my most rewarding classes, a German literature course whose instructor emphasized questions over answers. I pondered how to do justice to the meaning… Read more
German Club is excited that its action-packed Spring Quarter event calendar is in full swing!    At German Club’s first general meeting on April 6, we welcomed some new faces and had fun playing games while practicing German together. The following day, German Club partnered with the Department of German Studies to co-host a special mentoring lunch featuring two local high school German teachers, who spoke with student attendees about their career paths, educational experiences, and advice… Read more
Hello, my name is Leo Ahlburg. I was born and raised in Port Angeles, Washington on the beautiful Olympic Peninsula. I am an undergraduate engineering student at UW who is taking German 201 to improve enough to eventually study abroad in Berlin for a year. I have strong ties to Germany through my family and would like to visit or perhaps even live there for a time after graduation. In my German class with Anna we practiced writing poems about Hamburg and I soon earned the nickname “Schiller”,… Read more
  Outstanding Student Project: Franklin Mao     Franklin Mao, from Guangzhou China, is a junior student majoring in Political Science: Political Economy. He started to take German lessons a year ago and is currently taking the 201 class with Anna Gerke. At first he was just looking for a fun class to add to his schedule; but now he is using his knowledge of German culture for an essay that he had to write as a project in POLS 409. He was introduced to many… Read more
Our quarterly department-wide seminars provide a chance for everyone in German Studies at UW -- undergrads, grad students, staff, friends, and faculty -- to come together to discuss a short text**. We will work to shake off the normal hierarchies of academic instruction: no lectures, no experts, not even an introductory presentation. We will begin with a question meant to open up a genuine exploration of shared inquiry. During the conversation, everyone will be on equal footing. Undergraduate… Read more
This year-long seminar was structured around the idea of the Anthropocene and how this concept 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. Seminar participants critically examined the literature and culture of humanism on select examples drawn from the… Read more
A Message from Münster It may seem somewhat strange to accompany a piece of writing titled “A Message from Münster”with an image taken in the port of Hamburg. Yet, I was inspired to do so by what that imagerepresents: the value of exchange. Taking part in the Seattle-Münster program a second time, I amwell aware of the benefits of exchange. Hamburg Port, tied with L.A. as the 17 th busiest port in theworld, exemplifies the sort of activity and growth that accompanies engagement with other… Read more
Hi everyone, I am Rebecca, the current exchange graduate student from Münster. I came to Seattle last September to start a teaching program here in the German Department of the University of Washington. After the years of privation due to the pandemic, I wanted to do something different and gain new experiences. This exchange offered me not only the great opportunity to spend some time abroad and teach and study German in a non-German speaking country, but also to meet many new people, and find… Read more
Hi there! I’m Martina, the current DAAD-Teaching Assistant at the University of Washington. I arrived in Seattle in September 2022 and was supposed to stay until June of this year. However, I’ve had such great experiences and decided to apply for the German MA Pedagogy and Culture and stay another year. As a native German speaker, it is great to see that so many learners from different backgrounds are interested in German. Therefore, teaching German classes to beginners has been a lot of fun. I… Read more
The German Studies programs at the University of British Columbia, the University of Victoria, and the University of Washington Seattle are teaming up to host the second annual German Studies Undergraduate Research Showcase. Each student will have a chance to present their project during a 5–7-minute presentation, which will be followed by a 5-minute discussion. We hope to provide a dynamic venue that will stimulate conversation and give students a relaxed platform to get constructive… Read more
In addition to an existing opportunity to earn course credit by interning at the Seattle Area German Language School, which you can read about here and here, this year the department of German Studies began offering a new community-based learning opportunity with Seattle’s… Read more
Early Fall Start (EFS) allows incoming first-year students to enroll in a University of Washington course about a month before the start of the autumn quarter. With EFS, out-of-state and in-state students like Theo Llewelyn and Rachel Lundeen get a head start on classes and make a smooth transition to life at the UW. As an out-of-state student from California who graduated from high school during COVID, Theo Llewelyn… Read more
    The department congratulates all students of the… Read more


Thank you for considering a charitable donation to the Department of German Studies. We are committed to providing an inspiring, and necessary educational environment for our students; maintaining and expanding a stellar tradition of outstanding teaching and research amongst our faculty; and developing thoughtful and engaging programming. Your support is crucial in our efforts to cultivate academic excellence, offering training in critical reading, analytical writing, and the implications of language, literature, and other media as cultural phenomena. As one of the highest ranked programs in the country, we need your support to remain at the forefront of innovating education and language teaching at the University of Washington.

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

SUPPORT US  and become a member of our community.

Check our CALENDAR  for upcoming events.


For more information, please contact the department.