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Lauren Brooks defends Ph.D. dissertation comparing Kafka with Seinfeld

On Friday, 16 March, Lauren Brooks (front row, center in photo at right) successfully defended her doctoral dissertation entitled: "Kafka Goes to New York: Reading Kafka in Seinfeld's America." The dissertation examines authority, respect and their absurd and meaningless nature as demonstrated through the works of Austrian writer Franz Kafka and the U.S. situation-comedy Seinfeld. Congratulations, Lauren!

Poetry Without Borders Event March 21 6-7 p.m. in Foster Auditorium

Once again this year students, faculty, and community members will come together to read world poetry in its original languages in Foster Auditorium. English translations are projected in the background during the readings. In commemoration of the 1968 student protests, the poems will be on themes of protest and resistance.

More information about the event can be found at the Poetry Without Borders website:


Penn State Now an Official Testing Center for the Zertifikat Deutsch Examination

Penn State German has contracted with the Goethe Institute to become the only official testing center for the Zertifikat Deutsch German examination in the state of Pennsylvania. It will be offering the exams in Burrowes Building on the University Park campus once in Fall and once in Spring. The next exam date will be 14 April 2018.

The ZD exam is open to anyone upon payment of the examination fee. The fee is heavily discounted for graduate students and undergraduate majors and minors in the Penn State German program.

The six levels of the ZD exam, A1 through C2, are recognized worldwide as accurate assessments of German language competence. The higher levels are important certifications for gaining access to employment and higher education in German-speaking countries.

Those interest in taking the exam should contact the department head, Thomas Beebee (; 814-863-4935)

GSLL Hosts Noted Russian Translator Alexander Cigale

Alexander Cigale of Queens College, the CUNY system, New York City, visited the University Park campus from 28 to 31 January. On Monday he gave a talk in the Comparative Literature Luncheon Series, "On the Evolution of an Absurdist Proto-Existentialist: the Physical, Mental, and Spiritual in the Art of Daniil Kharms (1905-1942)," gave that afternoon, together with Andrew Singer, a reading from his translations for the forthcoming Russian Ballet edition of Trafika Europe, and on Tuesday was a guest in the translation seminar of Dr. Adrian Wanner.

Alex Cigale’s first full book is Russian Absurd: Daniil Kharms, Selected Writings, which appeared in 2017 in the Northwestern World Classics series, is . In 2015, he was awarded an NEA Fellowship in Literary Translation, for his work on the poet of the St. Petersburg philological school, Mikhail Eremin, and guest edited the Spring 2015 Russia Issue of the Atlanta Review, blogging about it for one week on Best American Poetry. His own poems in English have appeared in the Colorado Review, The Common Online, and The Literary Review, and his translations of classic, Silver Age, and contemporary Russian poetry in Harvard Review, Kenyon Review, Modern Poetry in Translation, New England Review, PEN America, TriQuarterly, The Hopkins Review, Two Lines, Words Without Borders, and World Literature in Today. He is the guest editor of the Penn State affiliated Trafika Europe Russian Ballet issue. 

Cigale's visit was sponsored by the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures, and the Department of Comparative Literature

Russian Writer Linor Goralik to Present Her New Book, Found Life, on 16 February

One of the first Russian writers to make a name for herself on the Internet, Linor Goralik writes conversational short works that conjure the absurd in all its forms, reflecting post- Soviet life and daily universals. Her mastery of the minimal, including a wide range of experiments in different forms of micro-prose, is on full display in this collection of poems, stories, comics, a play, and an interview, here translated for the first time.

Ms. Goralik will present and read from Found Life on 16 February, from 3:30-5:00 p.m., in Foster Auditorium on the University Park campus. Her visit is sponsored by the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures, Penn State Students in Russian, and the Woskob Family Endowment in Ukrainian Studies.

Ines Martin defends Ph.D. dissertation

On Monday, 4 December, Ines Martin successfully defended her dissertation entitled “Bridging the Gap between L2 Pronunciation Research and Teaching: Using iCPRs to Improve Novice German Learners’ Pronunciation in Distance and Face-to-Face Classrooms.” This dissertation investigated the effectiveness of a homework-based, computer-delivered method of pronunciation instruction, called iCPR. Results revealed that foreign language pronunciation can be taught via homework-assignments and can be included in distance learning environments. 

Congratulations, Dr. Martin!

Beate Brunow (Ph.D. German 2011) accepts new position at University of Georgia

Ph.D. alumna Beate Brunow has been named director of Student Affairs, academic partnerships and initiatives at the University of Georgia. Currently, Brunow is a tenured assistant professor of German at Wofford College and serves as coordinator for the German Program and Gender Studies Program, as well as interim dean of the Center for Innovation and Learning.

Brunow’s appointment is effective Jan. 1, 2018. In this role, she will provide consultation and support Student Affairs in the creation and enhancement of academic partnerships. She will work to create educational experiences connecting academic courses, clubs and organizations, instructional initiatives, civic engagement and other experiences, as well as advance Student Affairs as a principal laboratory for research and experiential learning opportunities.

Congratulations, Beate!

Trafika Europe Offers Internships at Penn State University

Trafika Europe is an exciting and innovative project at Penn State, showcasing new European literature in English translation, offering internships for full course credit in Spring 2018 semester.

The project includes an online literary journal as a publication of Penn State University Libraries, a literary events calendar, online bookshop, audio interviews and literary animated videos, and preparing to launch Trafika Europe Radio – Europe’s literary radio station, online.

Based in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures, TE internships give selected students (at any level) experience with publishing and the literary/creative sector, new media and communications. Interns can establish career contacts, explore cultures, and depending on qualifications, may learn skills related to non-profit management, literary translation and editing, outreach and promotion, events organizing, cultural journalism, database
management, audio recording, website development and so on. Possibility exists to grow with the project. The internship combines tasks to be carried out independently with regular on-campus meetings and supervision.

For more information about TE internshipts, please contact Andrew Singer at .

Trafika Europe Literary Project

Trafika Europe Literary Project

The Trafika Europe literary project is affiliated with the Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures Department at Penn State, showcasing new literature in English translation from across Europe. We maintain a prestigious online literary quarterly, as a Library of Congress-indexed series publication of Penn State University Libraries, publish annual print anthologies with Penn State University Press, and have been developing additional project features in support of contemporary European literature, including a literary events calendar, a virtual online bookshop, and preparing to launch Trafika Europe Radio – Europe’s literary radio station. Internships are suitable for students seeking to gain experience in publishing and the literary sector generally, new media and communications. Qualified students may learn skills related to non-profit management, literary translation and editing, outreach and promotion, events organizing, cultural journalism, database management, audio recording, website management and so on. For more information, please contact director Andrew Singer:


Jake Van der Kolk defends Ph.D. dissertation on Austrian writer Hermann Broch

On August 16, 2017, Ph.D. candidate Jake Van der Kolk successfully defended his thesis, entitled "The Self-Destructing Text: Hermann Broch's Der Tod des Vergil and the Limits of Avant-Garde Narrative." The thesis examines how the notoriously difficult novel The Death of Virgil (1945) by Hermann Broch -- written largely in the US where Broch was in exile during WWII -- engages the reader in literary and existential self-inquiry, and in so doing demonstrates the impossibility of avant-garde narrative. Congratulations, Jake!