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Honors Course on Narratives of Injustice in Modern German Literature

Dr. Sarah Henneboehl will offer German 190: Narratives of Injustice in Modern German Literature, MWF from10:10-11:00 this Fall '19 semester. Schedule #28150. No knowledge of German is required for this course.

Historically, Germany experienced great turbulence in the twentieth century. It was a century of extreme violence, as witnessed during the years 1914 and 1939 with the outbreak of World War I and the unleashing of World War II and the Holocaust. It was also a century of revolutions: the revolutionary autumn in 1918 and the establishment of Germany’s first democracy, the Weimar Republic; and the peaceful revolution of the late 1980s that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of a country that had been divided into East and West as a result of its defeat during World War II. The course will examine the uniquely German experience of the twentieth century by situating a variety of novels and films into their socio-political context, and tie them to them to political debates of the 21st century, inside and outside Germany.

Professor of German Daniel Purdy Wins the Class of 1933 Distinction in the Humanities Award

Daniel Purdy's contributions to German Studies and to the German Program at Penn State as a scholar, teacher, mentor, and leader have been recognized with his receiving the Class of 1933 Distinction in the Humanities Award from the College of Liberal Arts. After graduating from Cornell, his first book, The Tyranny of Elegance, published with the Johns Hopkins University Press in 1998, established his reputation as a specialist in the Enlightenment and Romantic periods and in the work of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Daniel Purdy became the editor of the North American Goethe Yearbook from 2009 to 2013, and served as President of the North American Goethe Society from 2016 to 2018, during which tenure he organized a successful triennial Goethe conference held here at Penn State in the Fall of 2017. Meanwhile, he was expanding into two new areas of cultural analysis that continue to occupy him: architecture and urban design; and the reception of Asia and especially China in the early modern period in Germany and Europe. On the Ruins of Babel : Architectural Metaphor in German Thought appeared in 2011, and the edited volume (with Bettina Brandt) China in the German Enlightenment in 2016. Dr. Purdy continues to work simultaneously on two monographs, one on Chinese-German cultural relations, and the other on contemporary architectural practices and urban design.

Congratulations, Daniel!

Erika Pugh (Russian B. A. 2019) Wins Outstanding Undergraduate Thesis Award

Erika Pugh (center in photo), a dual major in Russian and Finance, received first place for her thesis, “The Rise, Fall and Renaissance of Shostakovich’s Third Ballet: Reconciling ‘The Bright Stream’ with Post-Soviet Culture.” The award is sponsored by the University Libraries. A complete account can be found here. The thesis adviser was Dr. Adrian Wanner, Liberal Arts Professor of Slavic Languages and Comparative Literature.



Robert Klosinski wins the Harold F. Martin Award for Graduate Assistant Outstanding Teaching

German Ph.D. candidate Robert Klosinski has received the most prestigious teaching award for graduate students at Penn State: The Harold F. Martin Graduate Assistant Outstanding Teaching Award recognizes graduate assistants for outstanding teaching performance.
Robert Klosinski, who is shown here receiving his award from President Eric Barron, has taught German language classes on all levels and has consistently received exceptionally high marks and laudatory comments as a language instructor. In his teaching philosophy, Robert wrote: "At the core of my teaching philosophy lies the belief that students should communicate freely without anxiety to be misunderstood or to make mistakes. Being able to teach my native language German allows me to take on several important perspectives, as I not only can share my culture and experiences in Germany first hand with my students, but also have personally experienced the long and tough process of learning a foreign language, and thus have empathy when students encounter difficulties while learning the language.” Congratulations, Robert!

Lara Schwarz receives a 3-year postdoc at TU Dortmund

Congratulations to Lara Schwarz for receiving a 3-year postdoc ("Wissenschaftliche Angestelltin") at the Technische Universität (TU) Dortmund. She will be working with Prof. Dr. Ulrike Freywald, Professor of Linguistik des Deutschen: Grammatik und Fachdidaktik in the German department. Her duties will include teaching 2 courses of semester, research, and administrative duties. This position will begin on July 1, 2019. Congrats, Lara!

Hyoun-A Joo (Ph.D. German & Language Science 2018) Gains Tenure-Track Position at Furman University

Dr. Hyoun-A Joo, who received her Ph.D. in 2018 under the direction of Michael Putnam, will move from her current position as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, into a tenure-track position in German at Furman University to begin Fall 2019. Congratulations, Hyoun-A!

Penn State Students Experience Moscow During Spring Break 2019

Thirteen Penn State students enrolled in the one-credit embedded course, Moscow Cultural Immersion, traveled to the Russian capital over Spring Break. All of them had previous coursework in Russian language or culture, but only half of them are majoring or minoring in Russian.

The program included lectures on Russian Contemporary Arts, Opera, Geography and Peoples, and the Novgorodian Birch-Bark Letters at the Moscow Higher School on Economics (National Research University This academic program was supplemented with guided tours of the city including Moscow Kremlin, Bolshoi Theatre, the Tretyakov National Art Gallery, and more provided by SRAS Other activities included attending a rap Concert, a hockey and soccer games, the museum of Gulag, Maslenitsa (the Russian carnival), and a ballet. The students enjoyed Russian and Georgian cuisine and had many opportunities to explore the city on their own or guided by HSE student-volunteers.

The program was organized by Teaching Professor of Russian Irina Mikaelian and led by herself and Associate Teaching Professor Yelena Zotova. 

Edith Birnbaum Milman Memorial Fellow Dr. Bettina Brandt

Dr. Bettina Brandt currently works as Teaching Professor in the Department of German and Russian Languages and Literatures at the Pennsylvania State University (USA). She holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature (French, German, and American) from Harvard University (USA). As the Edith Birnbaum Milman Memorial Fellow, at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, Dr. Brandt is conducting research for her project, "With Love from Vienna: The Daily Life and Fate of Elderly Jews in Austria after the ‘Anschluss.’" This monograph-in-progress is a collective biography about four generations of an extended Austrian-Jewish family with a focus on the Holocaust Years and the care for the elderly left behind in Vienna after the Anschluss.

Dr. Brandt is the author of numerous book chapters and articles on transnational multilingual German-language authors such as Yoko Tawada, Emine Özdamar and Herta Müller, and editor of several books and journal issues on a variety of similar topics. Most recently, she edited a special issue about the “Politics of Archives” for Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies (2017) and, together with Daniel Purdy, China in the German Enlightenment (University of Toronto Press, 2016). Brandt, who is also translator, has been  the recipient of several other research awards and fellowships. In 2017 she received a Botstiber Fellowship for Austrian-American Studies to conduct research in Vienna (Austria), and a Martin Miller and Hannah Norbert-Miller Visiting Fellowship at the University of London to conduct research in British archives (Great Britain). In the Fall of 2016 she was a Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies in the Netherlands.

Dr. Brandt is fluent in English, German, French, and Dutch, and can understand and read Italian and Spanish.

While in residence at the Mandel Center Brandt is conducting research to shed light on the many challenges faced by the elder community in Vienna after the Nazi takeover in their daily lives and while trying to emigrate to the United States where they were hoping to join their children. Through her monograph, Brandt will draw attention to the community of elderly left behind, while also analyzing how the younger generation managed to flee, which different networks helped them to do so, and how, once in the United States, they started new lives all the while trying to rescue their parents.

GSLL to Host Symposium on the Euromaidan on April 11

 A symposium, “Assessing the Euromaidan of 2014 Five Years Later: The State of the Ukrainian State,” will be held in 102 Weaver Building at the Penn State University Park campus on April 11 from 9 to 4 p.m. It is free and open to the public, no registration necessary. 

Sponsored by the Woskob Endowment in Ukrainian Studies, the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages, the College of Agricultural Sciences, and the Department of History.


COFFEE AND TEA (9-10 a.m.)


SESSION I (10 a.m.-noon)

Dominique Arel (Chair of Ukrainian Studies U. of Ottawa),

            “Maidan 5 Years Later: Revisiting the Use and Impact of Violence”


Marta Dyczok (Associate Professor - U. of Western Ontario),

“Media in a Post-Euromaidan Ukraine”


Mykola Riabchuk (Research Scholar - The Kuras Institute for Political and Ethno-national Research of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine)

        “‘Dills’ versus "Potato Beetles": Ethnic Othering and Stereotyping During the Russo-      Ukrainian War”


LUNCH BREAK (noon – 1 p.m.)


SESSION II (1 p.m. – 3 p.m.)

Tamara Martsenyuk (Associate Professor University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy - Ukraine),

“Gender (In)Equality Issues in Ukraine: Five Years after the Euromaidan Protests”

Nicholas Denysenko (Associate Professor Valparaiso University)

“The Euromaidan and the Aftermath of the Granting of Tomos to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Ukraine”

Open discussion by symposium visitors along with Catherine Wanner (Penn State) and Michael Naydan (Penn State)

COFFEE AND TEA BREAK (3 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.)

SESSION III (3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.)

A Book Presentation of Maria Matios’ novel (translated by Michael Naydan and Olha Tytarenko) Sweet Darusya: A Tale of Two Villages (Spuyten Duyvil Publishers) featuring English readings of the translation by Dr. Charity Ketz of the Department of English

GSLL announces Spring 2019 Student Enrichment award winners

The Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures is proud to announce the Spring 2019 Student Enrichment award winners: William Baumgardner, Erin Baumgartner, Celeste Belknap, Rachel Finley, Olivia McCormick, Allison Ruman, and Abigail Slate.