Summer 2018 UW Germanics Newsletter

Dear Friends of Germanics and Alums,

Summer greetings from Denny Hall, where we have just finished another busy and successful academic year. Here are a few of the highlights from the spring quarter:

Sabine Wilke has been named Joff Hanauer Distinguished Professor for Western Civilization. She will teach the Hanauer seminar for graduate fellows in different disciplines in 2018-19.

Jason Groves received a UW Simpson Center for the Humanities Society of Scholars Fellowship and Annegret Oehme a UW Royalty Research Fund Award for work on their current book projects.  

Kye Terrasi directed our popular Spring-in-Vienna program this year. 15 students participated in the 10-week course of study that combined classroom work with in-depth tours, concerts, museums, and other amazing learning opportunities in Vienna and Salzburg. Many thanks to Kye, as well as to our local partners in Vienna, for providing such an enriching experience to our students.

At the end of spring quarter we enjoyed an exciting student production of Georg Büchner’s Romantic comedy Leonce and Lena, directed by Ellwood Wiggins.  The students’ remarkable performances captured both the youthful Weltschmerz and the brilliant wit in Büchner‘s play. Cheers to the wonderful cast and director!

We celebrated the accomplishments of our graduates in our departmental convocation ceremony on June 7 and enjoyed a festive reception afterwards with the students and their families, colleagues, friends and partners. Special recognition went to Nathan Bates, who along with his PhD received the Manfred Bansleben Award for Excellence in Teaching and now also has a job offer from the University of South Dakota. Congratulations to all.

I hope you will enjoy reading more about Germanics in the articles that follow. I wish you all a happy summertime ahead.


Brigitte Prutti

Professor and Chair




The department congratulates all students of the graduating class of 2017-2018! Many thanks to those who joined us Thursday, June 7th as we honored the academic achievements of our incredible students. We wish everyone the best of luck in the journey ahead!   Bachelor of Arts - Germanics Katherine Carter Moonjeog Choi Francesca Cook Suiyue Cui Adam Easter Daniel Garratt Kathryn Hudak (minor) Garrett Love Connor McGregor Camille Mitchell (minor) Marilyn Moelhman Joseph Smith (minor… Read more
Warmest congratulations to Sabine Wilke on this special distinction. Her three-year term as Joff Hanauer Distinguished Professor for Western Civilization will start on September 1, 2018.   Sabine Wilke writes from Berlin, Germany:  “I was extremely pleased to receive this year’s nomination as Joff Hanauer Distinguished Professor for Western Civilization for 2018-21 and am humbled to be asked to follow in my esteemed colleague Jane Brown’s shoes who served as the university’s first Joff Hanauer… Read more
  "The end of the 2018 Spring in Vienna study abroad was an emotional affair.  After a rousing dance lesson, the group joined the program leaders and IKI coordinator for a Heurigenabend and enjoyed wine and typical Viennese dishes in an al fresco setting.  The tears flowed freely as students made speeches and said their goodbyes to friends, who, as many pointed out, had become like family during their two months stay in Vienna.  During their time abroad, the students explored, traveled, learned… Read more
The UW German Theatertruppe put on an innovative adaptation of an old comedy, proving that even 19th-century German humor can win laughs today.  Georg Büchner's Leonce und Lena (1836) is an absurdist parody of fairy-tales, romantic love, idealist philosophy, and melancholic teen angst. The students of German 304 (German Play) served up a performance of this comedy that drew inspiration both from Büchner's older sources (commedia dell'arte physical comedy and Shakespeare) and from … Read more
After an enthusiastic response to the previous interdisciplinary graduate student conference in spring of 2016, students from across the humanities again gathered to share their research and present papers in an exciting two-day event, May 11th and 12th. Hosted in the Simpson Center for the Humanities and co-sponsored by the Departments of Germanics, French & Italian, Comparative Literature, Cinema & Media Studies and entitled “Being a Hedgehog: Isolation, Creativity, and Destruction,”… Read more
A strange mixture of euphoria, exhaustion, relief, and melancholy has befallen me since I defended my dissertation last week. For those of you who have been through it all, you will know what I mean. It is wonderful and exhilarating to have reached this stage, but the time has come to leave the comfort of familiar surroundings, fantastic friends, and cordial colleagues, which is always a scary prospect. I will never forget those to whom I am so greatly indebted as I move on to new adventures. I… Read more
This was an exciting year for me in the Germanics Department. I finished my MA with a paper examining Maja Haderlap’s use of Slovenian-German code-switching within her novel Engel des Vergessens. I also started teaching German 101 and 102 this year. Teaching has been a lot of work, but it was so fulfilling to see my students learn and become more confident with their German abilities. I helped with our department’s Kaffeestunde events, where we offered students an extra… Read more
      "My name is Jeffrey Jarzomb and I had the privilege of being UW Germanics’ Max Kade scholar for the past academic year. Before coming to the University of Washington, I attended California State University Long Beach, where I earned a BA and MA in German Studies. In studying German I discovered a unity of my interests in literature, philosophy, history, and teaching. Fortunately, I am able to continue pursuing these interests under the tutelage of our qualified, knowledgeable, and kind… Read more
Isaiah Back-Gaal, a double major in German and CHID, has been awarded a Chester William Fritz Scholarship for the 2018-2019 academic year.  The scholarship is designed to provide financial assistance to highly deserving students in the Humanities. Congratulations on this fine achievement, Isaiah! Isaiah Back-Gaal writes from Vienna:  "Last Spring, Professor Kye Terrasi’s class introduced me to the world of fin-de-siècle Vienna. I was struck by the apocalyptic imagery that permeated the art.… Read more
      "I have always been fascinated by languages. I find it intriguing how so many different people can communicate the same thing in so many different ways; be it by using different languages, different dialects, and even different accents. I initially started studying German because of its close relation to English. I have always been interested in historical linguistics, and I love seeing the connections between different languages and how they are related to each other.  As a future… Read more
   "I never thought of learning another language. It was only until I came to UW for my Advising and Orientation that I began to consider the idea. It began as a way to make me more attractive to potential employers. However, as the year has progressed I have fallen in love with the language. I want to live in Germany, I want to experience the cultural, to walk the streets, and immerse myself in what Germany has to offer. It would be pointless to learn a language for an easy grade or to meet a… Read more
After graduation from the UW German department in 2008, Alexandra Duncan received an English Teaching Assistant Fellowship from the Fulbright Program, an international exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. As a Fulbright scholar, she lived in Cologne, Germany for two years before continuing her education.  She holds a master’s degree in International Relations and Economics from The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Her professional… Read more
I graduated from the UW Germanics program in 2011 with a major in German language and literature and a lot has happened since then! I’ve been living in Germany since 2012 and have gotten the chance to live and work in several regions throughout the country. Throughout my time here, I have worked in education, translation and also in the software industry. I now live in beautiful Heidelberg and am currently finishing up my MA in Translation at the Johannes Gutenberg University’s campus in… Read more
Since completing the requirements for a PhD in Germanics (dissertation on the syntax of German) at the UW in 1988, I have been employed as a professor of German, first at North Dakota State University (1987-1991), and since August, 1991 at Oklahoma State University, where I have been full professor in the Department of Languages and Literatures since 2006. From January to June 1999, I was a Senior Scholar at the Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft in Berlin, with the support of… Read more
Greetings,    I graduated in 1969 in German and got my MA in German at the UW in 1970 and was a TA that year.  I graduated from UW Law School in 1972 and then had a career in the food industry – semi retiring this week after 45 years.  I was an exchange student in Munich in 1965/66 in 11th grade and visited some old friend there in the summer of 2016 and have been in touch with them for over 50 years.  I read a book a month in German, so that I don’t lose it.  Have lived in LA since 1974, but I… Read more
Autumn 2018 offers several excellent English-language options for undergraduate students in the department and beyond:   German 195: Popular Film and the Holocaust Taught by Professor Richard Block. Recent events around the globe and here at home have revived frightful memories of the Holocaust and the devastating possibility that history could repeat itself.  Already, we have heard talk of arm bands, national registries of people of a specific faith, and even mass deportations.  The… Read more
Is compassion the foundation of human morality or a dangerously unreliable emotion? This course (German 385: The Rhetoric of Social Justice) examined the strategies and motivations in different media of fostering empathy for commonly held enemies or discriminated groups. The syllabus ran from Ancient Greece to depictions of Nazis and terrorists in modern film, and considered philosophical assessments of sympathy alongside examples of its aesthetic manufacture. Students worked together in… Read more

Support Us


Your donation helps us to:

  • Recruit and retain world-class faculty
  • Support graduate student research
  • Support and enhance the education of undergraduates through study abroad and internship opportunities

For more information, please contact the department


Our newsletter would not be complete without your contributions — stories about your lives and careers written in your own words. These anecdotes continue to be the heart of our newsletter.

If you would like to share any news about your recent projects, publications or travels, please contact the newsletter editor, Misha Neininger at

Stay Connected: