Sounds of Migration - Call for Papers

The German Graduate Student Association of the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures (GGSA) will host its inaugural annual conference at the Pennsylvania State University from September 10 – 12, 2020.  

Sounds of Migration - Call for Papers

Submit Abstract

Keynote speakers:


The growing flow and circulation of migrants and refugees across the world introduces unfamiliar voices and sounds into new environments. This conference will examine the diverse expressions and echoes of what we call the sounds of migration. Drawing from Arjun Appadurai’s (1996) definition of technoscapes, we conceptualize “the sounds of migration” as encapsulating the fluid nature of sounds, bodies, and cultural elements coming together to construct imagined worlds, as seen in a globalized space. We invite a broad range of submissions that explore various aspects of the oral and aural dynamics related to migrations, displacements, refugees, and diasporas. How do minority voices emerge? What impact do experiences of migration have on everyday life, both from those relocating and the receiving society? How is literature, language, music, and/or other forms of culture and artistic expression created? How do languages in contact influence each other and lead to changes in pronunciation, word formation or sentence structure?

Possible topics may include, but are not confined to:

  • Phonetics / Phonology
  • Syntax
  • Morphology
  • Contact languages and languages in contact
  • Performance / Stage
  • Mixtures of dialects and languages
  • Archives of migration
  • Literature about refugees’ experiences
  • Music in exile
  • Visual culture and arts
  • Displacement and memory in art and theory
  • Migration and education


We welcome papers across languages and disciplines which engage with the theme of “Sounds of Migration.” Presenters will be allotted 20 minutes of presentation time, followed by 10 minutes of discussion. The submission deadline is Sunday, March 15, 2020. Abstracts are limited to 500 words (excluding references).

  • Professors, faculty, and graduate students are encouraged to apply.

Keywords: dialects, displacement, exile, memory, migration, minority, morphology, musicology, phonetics, phonology, pedagogy, translation, sound studies, syntax


Kinoabend - Selection of German Films

Spring 2020

Join the German Graduate Student Organization and the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures as we present this semester's selection of German films, along with faculty-led-introductions and discussion. Films will be shown in German with English subtitles.

Questions? Please email

Assistant Professor Yuliya V. Ladygina Publishes Book on Ukrainian Woman Writer

Congratulations to Dr. Yuliya V. Ladygina (German and Slavic Languages and Literatures), whose book, Bridging East and West: Ol’ha Kobylians’ka, Ukraine’s Pioneering Modernist, has been published with Toronto University Press earlier this month.

Congratulations to Dr. Yuliya V. Ladygina (German and Slavic Languages and Literatures), whose book, Bridging East and West: Ol’ha Kobylians’ka, Ukraine’s Pioneering Modernist, has been published with Toronto University Press earlier this month. Dr. Ladygina’s work explores the literary evolution of one of Ukraine’s foremost modernist writers, Ol’ha Kobylians’ka, who was a major contributor in the most significant intellectual debates of her time. Investigating themes of feminism, populism, Nietzscheanism, nationalism, and fascism in her works, Bridging East and West presents an alternative intellectual genealogy in turn-of-the-century European arts and letters whose implications reach far beyond the field of Ukrainian studies. Kobylians’ka emerges in this study as an unlikely, but no less active, trailblazer in the social and aesthetic theories that would define European debates about culture, science, and politics in the first half of the twentieth century.

For more information about the book, please visit Toronto University Press website at

Cultural Immersion in Post-Soviet Georgia: All RUS Courses

Spring 2020 embedded program in Post-Soviet Georgia Tbilisi, Georgia-Springbreak

Program Summary

This one-credit embedded course in Georgia provides a one-week immersion in Georgian culture combined with lectures on the long history of Georgian-Russian love-hate relations. Georgia is famous for its ancient culture, beautiful nature, exquisite cuisine, and unparalleled hospitality. The course is open to all students enrolled in an eligible Russian class (listed below) regardless of the level of language proficiency. It can also be combined with area study courses. Students of Russian will receive training in Russian by the faculty leaders.

The program includes a tour of the Georgian capital Tbilisi and its surroundings, as well as visits to several museums and monasteries, and interaction with local students. The program is organized and supported by the School of Russian and Asian Studies, a leader in innovative programming in the post-Soviet space for over 20 years. The students will receive one credit at the level of the residential course in which they are enrolled.

Embedded Course Information

Eligible participants must be enrolled in a Russian class (RUS 002, RUS 100, RUS 142Y, RUS 143, RUS 200, RUS 400, RUS 403, RUS 496, and RUS 83) at University Park or Altoona campuses for the Spring 2020 semester. Participants will also be enrolled in the one-credit course associated with this embedded program that corresponds with the level of their residential Russian course in Spring 2020 (ex. RUS 199, 299 or 499).

Prerequisites: Varies by RUS course

This additional credit may or may not add to a student’s cost of tuition depending on their part-time vs. full-time student status. Please visit the Penn State Tuition website for additional information about tuition costs. Tuition costs are NOT included in the embedded program fee.

Faculty Leaders

Professor Irina Mikaelian (

Estimated Program Costs

  • Embedded Program Fee: $1,461
  • Airfare: Approx. $700-1,000
  • Transportation to Domestic Airport: Approx. $250-150 depending on the number of participants
  • In-Country Costs: Minimum $150 for meals in-country, plus additional money for souvenirs

*NOTE: The Embedded Program Fee will be billed to participants’ PSU Bursar Accounts in late December/early January and the payment will be due January 22, 2020.

The Embedded Program Fee for this program includes: accommodations; transportation in-country related to academic activities; all breakfasts and one additional meal per day; fees related to academic activities/walking tours/speakers

The Embedded Program Fee for this program does NOT include: airfare, domestic transportation to/from the airport, meals, spending money (souvenirs, etc.), gratuities, or tuition

Application Deadline and Process: Commit by November 20, 2019

Eligible participants must be enrolled in a Russian class (RUS 002, RUS 100, RUS 142Y, RUS 143, RUS 200, RUS 400, RUS 403, RUS 496, and RUS 83) at University Park or Altoona campuses for the Spring 2020 semester.

Submit your interest in the program by completing this interest form: Interest Form: Cultural Immersion in Post-Soviet Georgia, All Russian Courses

Interested students should also enroll in one of the Russian courses listed above for the Spring 2020 semester.

Commit to the program by thoroughly reading and submitting the commitment form by November 20, 2019Official Embedded Program Commitment Form: Cultural Immersion in Post-Soviet Georgia, Spring 2020

Students may contact the faculty leaders with questions: Professor Irina Mikaelian,

A new course, RUS 83, on Putin’s Russia with Dr. Yuliya V. Ladygina

THE RUSSIAN PROGRAM IS EXCITED TO ANNOUNCE A new course, RUS 83, on Putin’s Russia with Dr. Yuliya V. Ladygina TTH @ 1:35-2:50pm Spring 2020

By examining the relationship between individuals and the state in present-day Russia, this course seeks to answer a set of critical questions: How come post-Soviet Russia has emerged as a state characterized by authoritarianism and crony capitalism? What are the factors that gave rise to and sustained Vladimir Putin's regime? What are its key pillars and contradictions? What is the Russian people’s response to Putinism, its punitive domestic politics, and its aggressive posture toward Russia’s neighbors and the West?
The course is taught in English, fulfills the General Humanities requirement, and is designated as an International Cultures course.

For more information, contact Dr. Ladygina at

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!