GDS Semester News

By rcgrubb
Jun 07, 2012 Bookmark and Share

Alamanya the Turkish-German and German Minority Studies Workshop, has joined the list of Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshops.  From February 12-16, it hosted Neco Çelik, a Turkish-German director, who screened two of his films and attended undergraduate classes. Kader Konuk and Nick Block are coordinators for Alamanya.

In May, the Transnational German Studies Workshop brought a dozen international graduate students and two professors from the University of Warwick to Ann Arbor to join our graduate students and faculty in topic discussions, conference panels, and faculty presentations. The workshop was held at the University of Michigan from May 10-14, and was organized by Kader Konuk and Scott Spector with the help of Nick Block.  A follow-up phase in Europe is anticipated for next year.

We also once again hosted the German Film Institute in May, directed by Anton Kaes and Rick Rentschler and organized by Johannes von Moltke.  This year’s theme was “The Cinema of Crisis: German Film 1928-1936,” and filled a wonderful week of film screenings and intensive discussions among a group of scholars of German film.  For the institute program, see

Kerstin Barndt was an invited panelist at the MLA in Seattle, discussing "German Graduate Education 2020: Strategies for the Future." In February, she participated in the Cross Currents Conversation Series celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Museum Studies Program. With Kristin Hass (Program in American Culture), she presented on "History, Nation, and Memory in the 21st Century Museum: Berlin and Washington in Comparative Perspective." In May, she participated in an interdisciplinary conference on "Gleichzeitigkeit. Modelle der Simultaneität in den Wissenschaften und Künsten" where she delivered a paper on the representation of layered timescapes in contemporary museum culture. Her essay "'Dioramas of a New World': Siegfried Kracauer and Weimar Exhibition Culture" appeared in Culture in the Anteroom. The Legacies of Siegfried Kracauer, ed. by Gerd Gemünden and Johannes von Moltke (University of Michigan Press, 2012).

Nick Block’s panel entitled “German-Jewish Book Culture: Text and Illumination” was accepted by the German Studies Association Conference. He will be presenting his paper on the panel in October. Nick presented a chapter of his dissertation to the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies as the last requirement for the Certificate for Judaic Studies.  His presentation on April 24 was entitled “German-Jewish Book Culture and the Practice of Self-Invention.”  Nick also presented “The Shifting Locales of Jewish Orients in Abraham Zvi Idelsohn's Hebräisch-orientalischer Melodienschatz” at the Transnational German Studies Workshop.

Jennie Cain has successfully defended the prospectus of her dissertation on “Spiritual Modernism.”  In early May she also gave a paper entitled "Notes on the Margin: Rudolf Steiner, the Esoteric and German Modernism" at the University of Washington Germanics Student Conference “Acceptance in German Literary and Visual Culture.”  Jennie received the Rackham Centennial Award for spring/summer 2012 funding, as well as the Sweetland Junior Fellowship to prepare and teach a self-created writing-intensive English composition course.

Kathleen Canning will be the Helmet F. Stern Professor and Fellow at the U-M Institute for the Humanities next year, where she will be completing her book manuscript on “Citizenship Effects: Gender and Sexual Crisis in the Aftermath of War and Revolution in Germany, 1914-1930.”

David Choberka was hired by the University of Michigan Museum of Art as Academic Coordinator, a position supported by a Mellon Foundation Grant to promote the art museum as a research and teaching resource and to coordinate academic involvement in the production of museum exhibitions and related activities.

Courtney Glore Crimmins defended in April, successfully completing her PhD requirements (conferral in August). Her dissertation title is “Ruin, Restoration, and Return: Aesthetic Unification in Post-Socialist East Berlin.” Courtney also published a book chapter, “Reinterpreting the Soviet War Memorial in Berlin's Treptower Park after 1990” in Remembering the German Democratic Republic: Divided Memory in a United Germany, edited by David Clarke and Ute Wölfel (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).

Shubhangi Dabak won a professional development grant from CRLT attend a one week seminar by Goethe Institute called 'Migration and Integration'. The July seminar is in Berlin.

Nic Heckner co-created the class SAC 333 Fascist Cinemas with Prof. von Moltke. He also received the Frank X. Braun award for Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor. Nic’s article, “Deleting Memory Space: The Gaming of History and the Absence of the Holocaust” was accepted for publication in 2012 and will be published in an Anthology named Immersive Gameplay (, upcoming this Fall/Winter).

Solveig Heinz presented a paper at the Sensing Senses conference at the University of Massachusetts in February: “A New Art for the Senses: Technology, Perception, and Synesthesia in the Operas of Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal.”

Sara Jackson will be a graduate student fellow at the Institute for the Humanities in 2012/2013.

In the past year, Peter McIsaac had two book chapters appear: “Die performative Basis von anatomischen Zurschaustellungen vor und um 1900“ in the volume Geschlechter Spiel Räume: Dramatik, Theater, Performance und Gender (ed. by Gaby Pailer und Franziska Schößler); and “Preserving the Bloody Remains: Legacies of Violence in the Austrian Heeresgeschichtliches Museum,” in the volume Contemplating Violence: Critical Studies in Modern German Culture (ed. by Carl Niekerk and Stefani Engelstein). With Gabriele Müller and Diana Spokiene, he also edited a special issue of Seminar entitled Visions of Tomorrow: Science and Utopia in German Culture. In March, he presented “Rethinking Non-Fiction: Distant Reading the Nineteenth-Century Science-Literature Divide” at the St. Louis Symposium on German Literature and Culture, which this year examined Digital Humanities approaches in German Studies. The same month, he joined Brian Kennedy of the Toledo Museum of Art for a Cross-Currents conversation on the topic “Museum Ethics in Collecting and Ownership.”

Andrew Mills received a faculty grant of $1,000 from the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching for the faculty seminar “Critical Issues in the Translation Classroom,” which is being offered in the context of the upcoming Translation theme semester.

Johannes von Moltke recently published two co-edited collections of work by and on Siegfried Kracauer, respectively: Siegfried Kracauer's American Writings: Essays on Film and Popular Culture, co-edited with Kristy Rawson (SAC PhD) appeared with University of California Press this May, as did Culture in the Anteroom: The Legacies of Siegfried Kracauer, co-edited with Gerd Gemünden and published by our own U-M Press. Johannes also organized, or helped to organize, several events over the past months, beginning with the inaugural workshop of the Michigan Association for Screen Studies (M.A.S.S.) in January, a workshop on "Media and Experience" that brought together two graduate seminars and two outside speakers in early April, and the German Film Institute in late May. During the past semester, Johannes presented work at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies and in the German Studies Colloquium.

Kathryn Sederberg received the Rackham Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award. She also received the Rackham Pre-Doctoral Fellowship for 2012-13.

Scott Spector wrote the chapter on “The Habsburg Empire,” in The Cambridge Companion to European Modernism (Pericles Lewis, ed.).  He was a presenter and discussant at an IRWG-sponsored roundtable on Patricia Simon’s book The Sex of Men in Premodern Europe. In March he presented “Blood Lies: The Truth About Modern Ritual Murder Cases,” in the German Studies Colloquium, and presented a comment at the Symposium on “Jews and Political Thought” at the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies. He presented  “Kafka’s Patrimony” at workshop “Kafka and the Middle East” at U-M organized by Kader Konuk, and participated in the conference “German-Jewish Echoes in the Contemporary Middle East” at the Franke Institute for the Humanities, University of Chicago in May. In June he presents a lecture, “Assimilierung vergessen,” at the Moses Mendelssohn für europaäisch-jüdische Studien at the University of Potsdam.

Silke Weineck gave the keynote lecture at a Kleist conference in Alberta and invited lectures at Harvard University and Carthage College, organized a major conference on Our Ancient Wars, complete with two theater performances by the “Theater of War,” traveled to Berlin to organize a graduate and faculty exchange with the Sonderforschungsbereich Transformationen der Antike, and is otherwise enjoying her leave.

Hermann Weiss published two papers: “From Reichsautobahnlager to Schmelt Camp: Brande, a Forgotten Holocaust Site in Western Upper Silesia, 1940-1943,” Yad Vashem Studies 39:2, 2011, 81-119; and “Reichsautobahnlager Geppersdorf (Upper Silesia), 1940-1942,” Slaski Kwartalnik Historyczny Sobótka 67, 2012, 55-71. The first paper appeared in December, 2011.
In addition, Hermann also published an article on a blog on May 4: “Die Oberste Bauleitung Reichsautobahnen Breslau und der Holocaust”: