Summer 2017 UW Germanics Newsletter


Dear Friends of Germanics and Alums:


Greetings from the UW campus. In this summer edition of our Newsletter we feature the accomplishments of our students and their work in our courses.  I hope you will enjoy their creative projects as much as did the student performers and their instructors. 

We applaud the excellence of the graduating class of 2017 and extend our well-wishes to all of its members. We congratulate our distinguished senior colleague and Lockwood Professor in the Humanities, Rick Gray, upon his well-deserved retirement, and hope that many happy bike rides will lead him right back from Ballard to Denny Hall. And we say Goodbye to our Distinguished Max Kade Professor this spring, Moritz Baβler from Münster, and our other visitors, whose presence we greatly enjoyed.

Thank you for your support and have a lovely summer.


Brigitte Prutti
Professor and Chair



The department congratulates all students of the graduating class of 2016-2017! We were pleased that so many were able to join us for our convocation on June 10th to honor the academic achievements of our incredible students. We wish everyone the best of luck in the journey ahead!   Bachelor of Arts - Germanics  Addison Combs   Sarah Dietderich Madeline Grossblatt Dylan Hundley *  Hayley McCord Trang Ngoc Thuy Nguyen William Packard Erika Pelayo Esther Purcell *  Anthony… Read more
I am thrilled to share the news that I just defended my dissertation on contemporary German cinema, entitled  "Art, Cinema, and the Berlin School.” The Berlin School is a key development in German cinema since 1995. I argue that the four art genres organizing my dissertation--portraiture, landscape, still life, and history--become key categories for analyzing film when descriptive and self-reflexive moments temporarily suspend the flow of the story. My research offers a conceptual framework for… Read more
I fell in love with Germany in 2012. I spent a total of 3 years in Germany and Austria before pursuing a degree in Gemanics and International Studies and I am hoping for many more. While working in Baden Württemberg, Germany and doing undergraduate research for the University of Washington I met my now boyfriend of one year! I truly believe anything and everything is possible and there is no better place to start with than learning a language. As a DAAD scholar I am hoping to study Peace and… Read more
After graduating from the University of Washington, I am heading to University of Virginia to complete the Global Master Program in International Commerce and International Strategic Management. I will spend the next year in Charlottesville, Guangzhou and Barcelona before hopping off to London the year after to complete Jewelry Design and Gemology certifications.    My plan in a few years afterwards is to work in either international fine jewelry companies or in luxury brand management… Read more
Ellwood Wiggins was a June 2017 featured faculty member on The Whole U's series, Faculty Friday. You can read his interview here.
Congratulations!   To Justin Mohler, who received the Chester William Fritz Scholarship for the 2017/18 academic year. This scholarship will help support work on the first chapter of his dissertation, which explores changing conceptions of the animal-human divide in German Romanticism.   To Verena Kick, who received the “David Detjen Research Grant” from the American Friends of Marbach (AFM) for summer 2017. This research grant enables Verena to conduct research on Kurt Tucholsky’s work at the… Read more
To Kristina Pilz, who is this year’s recipient of the Manfred Bansleben Award for excellence in teaching. The award was established in honor of Prof. Emeritus Manfred Bansleben, who built a successful language program and trained hundreds of language teachers during his career. Manfred has always recognized the importance of teaching assistants and the many contributions they make to a language program. The award, which comes with a stipend, acknowledges one graduate student who has… Read more
My One-Year as a Preschool Teacher   While writing my dissertation, I would have never imagined working as a preschool teacher; but, that has, indeed, turned out to be the case, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. The experience has been invaluable, as I have developed an array of skills necessary for success in life – principally, the attributes of patience and flexibility! I have also gained a more thorough understanding of how people think, act, respond to others, resolve… Read more
Richard T. Gray, Ghostwriting: W. G. Sebald’s Poetics of History. New Directions in German Studies. London and New York: Bloomsbury, 2017.   Book Abstract:   Ghostwriting provides a comprehensive picture of W. G. Sebald’s prose fictional narratives and the poetic practices that define their literary artistry. It examines his four major works of narrative fiction, Schwindel. Gefühle (Vertigo), Die Ausgewanderten (The Emigrants), Die Ringe… Read more
Professor Moritz Baßler was the Spring 2017 Distinguished Max Kade Visiting Professor in the Department of Germanics. While in the department, he offered a seminar on Contemporary German literature: Popular Realism. Interview with Professor Moritz Baßler, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität MünsterDistinguished Max Kade Visiting ProfessorBy Kristina Pilz and Vanessa SchmolkeSpring 2017 VS:  In the field of Germanics, you are one of the experts on German Popular Literature and Pop… Read more
  "...I’m advocating for the importance of the imagination, given the radical unknowability of the future of life." As Jason Groves tells it, inspiration struck in his local supermarket. Standing in the check-out line, he noticed a chocolate bar from Endangered Species Chocolate... Read the article  h e r e.      
Grunge No More! Spring in Vienna students dazzle on the red carpet before attending a concert at the Musikverein. Our students received travel stipends from the Max Kade Foundation that made their time in Vienna much more enjoyable. Thank you to the Max Kade Foundation for its gracious support!   
Isaiah Back-Gaal, Major: Comparative History of Ideas, Prospective Major: German                         "I have always been interested in learning languages. Learning a language pushes you outside of your comfort zone and grants you access to entirely new worlds.  I initially started learning German out of curiosity and with trepidation, and have since fallen in love. I love the playfulness of German and the freedom with which I can experiment with the language. I love getting to read stories… Read more
In "Introduction to Literary Studies" (German 311), students have hands-on fun with German poems, stories, and plays. For their final project (winter quarter, 2017), students planned their own innovative productions of classic German plays. We were treated to reports from the director, dramaturg, set and costume designers, and a sample scene from the proposed production. Two groups decided to put on Lessing's Emilia Galotti, a timely 18th-century tragedy about the abuse of power over… Read more
For their Theater Project in German 351: Vienna 1900, students wrote and performed a 'lost scene' from  Schnitzler's Reigen, or presented a creative interpretation of Anatol.  Students were asked to draw on the themes and style of the plays and their knowledge of the social context of Vienna to demonstrate their insight into issues of sexuality and gender roles during this era.
Students collaborated in groups on contributions to a feuilleton journal modeled on similar publications from turn of the century ViennaTheir completed projects featured their creative interpretations of the cultural, literary, social and artistic trends of fin-de-siècle Vienna.  Examples of the various articles from the six feuilletons produced: a theater critique of Kokoschka’s Murderer, Hope of Women, an editorial by Freud reflecting on Arthur Schnitzler, a review of a… Read more
In one of their creative adaptations in the fall 2015 seminar on German Enlightenment to Post-Classical Drama (GERM 421), students transformed the Austrian dramatist Franz Grillparzer’s gothic play Die Ahnfrau (The Ancestress) into a silent film. The play was first performed on the Viennese popular stage in 1817; the silent movie version from our course was posted on YouTube in 2015. Then it was blocked for a while due to a copyright claim. The copyrighted music has since been… Read more
Luke Wittingham, Graduate Student in French and Italian Studies: I focus my research on mapping queer diasporas in West Africa. I plan to publish extensive literature exposing the inhumane social formations targeting queer communities in Senegal. As an undergraduate I studied Spanish and French while teaching myself Wolof. After acquiring fluency in both Dutch and Swedish I became very interested in Germanics. German has become an important element of my graduate education. I initially… Read more
Forthcoming: Editors: Sabine Wilke and Japhet Johnstone, Readings in the Anthropocene, Bloomsbury, 2017 See:…;   About Readings in the Anthropocene Readings in the Anthropocene brings together scholars from German Studies and beyond to interpret the German tradition of the last two hundred years from a… Read more
Justin Mohler and Kye Terrasi presented their research project Digital Humanities in the Language and Culture Classroom and Beyond at the 2017 Teaching and Learning Symposium at UW.  Their poster presentation explored ways of integrating Digital Humanities technology such as ArcGIS into the classroom as a tool for students to access and perform research on the cultural, social and geographical makeup of a city through the mapping of data and analysis of the results.    Justin and Kye's… Read more
On Friday, March 31st, Germanics hosted an all-department luncheon in honor of our distinguished emeriti professors. Current faculty, students, and staff were joined by emeriti and friends Hellmut Ammerlahn, Charles Barrack, Diana Behler, Read more
On Friday May 26 the Iota Chapter of The National German Honor Society, Delta Phi Alpha, welcomed seven new members. Members from the previous year were on hand to welcome the new inductees and to decorate Maibäume (May Poles)—somewhat later than the traditional date of May 1st, but Spring also came later this year. Additionally, member Niki Sohnly had Delta Phi Alpha pencils made for the occasion. Many thanks to all those involved! Prospective members of Delta Phi Alpha can check out… Read more
Techies and Fuzzies: Why the liberal arts are at the center of innovation. Read the article about the panel in the Daily UW. 
    GERMAN 298 A: Topics in Literature and Culture (Click to follow link) Fairy Tales and the Environmental Imagination   Offered jointly with CHID 270 B  /ENGL 242 F /… Read more
  GERMAN 385 A: Rhetoric and Social Justice Sympathy for the Devil: The Rhetoric of Compassion   Offered jointly with CHID 498 C/ PHIL 301 A / C… Read more
Friends and colleagues gathered on a sunny June afternoon at the home of Jane and Marshall Brown to fête Rick Gray on the occasion of his retirement. After more than 25 successful years at the University of Washington, Rick's career was celebrated with long-time friends, amusing (and touching) toasts, and plenty of good food. Congratulations, Rick! We'll miss your regular presence around the department, but we also wish you many fabulous adventures in the next chapter of your life. Enjoy!

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