German Symposium-Meaningful Presence: Lived Experience (Erlebnis) and Representation

Thursday, February 15

5:00-7:00 p.m. at Russell House, 350 High Street

Keynote Lecture by David Wellbery (University of Chicago): “’Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön.’ Image as Dramatic Motivation”

Moderator: Martin Bäumel (Department of German Studies, Wesleyan University)

Friday, February 16 

The following events will take place at the Center for the Humanities, 95 Pearl Street, Room 106

9:30 a.m.-1:10 p.m. Epistemologies

9:30-11:10 a.m. Conceptualizing Presence; Moderator: Daniel Smyth (College of Letters, Wesleyan University)

9:30-10:20 a.m. Aleksandra Prica (Department of Germanic & Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill): “Signatura rerum. On Presence and Method”

10:20-11:10 a.m. Ethan Kleinberg (Center for the Humanities, Wesleyan University): “The Sourcery of the Text: Chladenius and the Historico-Theological Presence of the Past”

11:10-11:30 a.m. Coffee Break

11:30 a.m. – 1:10 p.m. Knowing Oneself, Knowing the World

Moderator: Julia Goesser Assaiante (Department of German Studies, Trinity College)

11:30 a.m.-12:20 p.m. Michael Meere (Department of Romance Languages & Literatures, Wesleyan University): “Imagining the Self, Inventing the Other: Representation and Presence in Montaigne’s Essays and Travel Journal

12:20-1:10 p.m. Kirk Wetters (Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, Yale University): “Presence and Absence in Georg Forster’s Voyage Round the World

1:10-2:30 p.m. Lunch Break

2:30-7:00 p.m. Technologies

2:30-4:10 p.m. The Presence of the Ephemeral; Moderator: Ulrich Plass (Department of German Studies, Wesleyan University)

2:30-3:20 p.m. Marco Aresu (Department of Romance Languages & Literatures, Wesleyan University): “Aurality and Corpus in Medieval Italian Literature”

3:20-4:10 p.m. Gabriel Trop (Department of Germanic & Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill): “The Aesthetics of the Paradox”

4:10-4:20 p.m. Coffee Break

4:20-7:00 pm Presence Techniques; Moderator: Stephanie Weiner (Department of English, Wesleyan University)

4:20-5:10 p.m. Jocelyn Holland (Department of Germanic & Slavic Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara): “Die Kunst des Fügens: Materials, Techniques, Schemas”

5:10-6:00 p.m. Courtney Weiss Smith (Department of English, Wesleyan University): “The Echo Historians: Prosody and Natural History in Eighteenth-Century England.”

6:00-6:10 p.m. Break

6:10-7:00 p.m. Natasha Korda (Department of English, Wesleyan University): “Gyno Ludens: Puppenhäuser and the Gendered Phenomenology of Play”

Saturday, February 17 

9:30 a.m.-3:20 p.m. Sociability

10:20 a.m.-12:20 p.m. Aesthetics and Ethics; Moderator: Roger Mathew Grant (Department of Music, Wesleyan University)

10:20-11:10 a.m. Frauke Berndt (Deutsches Seminar, Universität Zürich): “A.G. Baumgarten’s Epic Voice”

11:10-11:30 a.m. Coffee Break

11:30-12:20 Dorothea von Mücke (Department of Germanic Languages, Columbia University):  “The Presence of the Poet and The Enlightenment’s Author Function”

12:20-1:40 Lunch Break

1:40-3:20 p.m. Visualizing Social Cohesion; Moderator: Natasha Korda (Department of English, Wesleyan University)

1:40 -2:30 p.m. Michael Armstrong (Department of Romance Languages & Literatures, Wesleyan University): “Master Mistresses on the 17th-Century Spanish and English Stage: Actresses, Boy Actors, and the Proto-History of Screwball Comedy”

2:30-3:20 p.m. Joel Lande (Department of German, Princeton University): “Goethe’s Many”

3:20-3:45 p.m. Closing Remarks

Organized by the Department of German Studies and the Center for the Humanities, with generous support from the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service), the Thomas and Catharine McMahon Memorial Fund, the College of Letters, the Center for the Study of Public Life, and Academic Affairs. 

The Cakemaker

Wesleyan’s Israeli Filmfestival starts this semester with The Cakemakera story about German/Israeli/Jewish relations. The film will be shown on Thursday, February 1 at 8PM at the Goldsmith Family Cinema.

We are also very fortunate to have the director of the film, Ofir Raul-Glazer, an Israeli living in Berlin, introduce the film and conduct a Q/A session with the audience after the screening.


Scholarships for Germany

Departmental Scholarships

The Helmut and Erika Reihlen Fund

In 2017 Dr. Helmut Reihlen ’55 and Dr. Erika Reihlen generously established a fund whose income supports especially meritorious student projects in German studies, including but not limited to research for theses and capstone projects.

Non-Departmental Scholarships

The Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD)/ German Academic Exchange Services provides students with the opportunity to study internationally in Germany. Since its inception in 1925, DAAD has been working to promote cultural understanding and international exchange. Each year they provide financial assistance to over 67,000 students and scholars. Only the top-students are recruited for their programs. They offer multiple fellowships and scholarships to students who academically-prove they deserve them.

  • Undergraduate Scholarship– seniors looking to conduct thesis research or an internship in Germany are encouraged to apply for this award. Preference is given to students whose work will be based out of a German university. These scholarships can be allotted as either an individual award or part of an organized study abroad program. This scholarship awards a monthly stipend of € 650 for a length of four to ten months.
  • Study Scholarship– graduating seniors at the top of their class are eligible to receive this scholarship. It provides funding for one year of independent study or a full master’s degree program at a German university. These study scholarships are granted for one year of academic study (10 months) with the possibility of a one-year extension. Students will receive a monthly stipend of €750 plus money for health insurance and travel costs.

Cultural Vistas is focused on connecting the globe through international exchange by enriching minds, advancing global skills, and building careers. They provide both American and international students the opportunity to study abroad. Cultural Vistas offers programs all over the globe. Here are a few programs for students who are interested in going to Germany:

Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals– the CBYX program provides 75 American and 75 German young professionals the chance to change countries for a year to study, intern, and live with hosts in a cultural exchange program.

Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship Program– this is an intensive language training program. Students will attend top German institutions and engage in thorough work phases while meeting with leaders all across Germany and Europe. This program is only open to the most devoted of students.

Work Immersion Study Program– this three-month work-study immersion program is designed to give students studying in vocational fields the chance to advance their skills while improving their German language skills and directly experience German culture. A monthly stipend of EUR 300 is provided along with free accommodations and work authorization.

Students interested in a unique political studies opportunity may qualify for a short-term internship with the German government through the Émigré Memorial German Internship Program. Students will gain true, governmental work experience while improving their German language skills and encounter German culture firsthand.

American Graduates are eligible for the German Chancellor Fellowship Program through the Humboldt Foundation. Students that show true leadership skills in their fields such as politics or public policy, law, media, business, arts, and the non-government sector are the only ones qualified for Chancellor Fellowship Program. While in Germany, Fellows will work at their host institutions on independent projects. The topic of their research should be focused on a topic or issue within their field of interest. Only 10 students from America are selected for this award annually. Accepted applicants receive EUR 550 per month for as long as they stay in Germany and will cover the cost of traveling expenses.

The U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is a grant program that enables students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad, thereby gaining skills critical to our national security and economic competitiveness. The Gilman Scholarship Program is open to U.S. citizen undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university to participate in study and intern abroad programs worldwide.

Fellowships after Graduation

For Germany the Fulbright Program offers more grants for university study, projects in the arts, and teaching assistantships in English than for any other country. Students interested in Fulbrights should consult the Fulbright Program Advisor, Kate Smith in the Fries Center for Global Studies ( Only American citizens are eligible for Fulbright grants. Teaching assistantships for American citizens are also available through USTA (U.S. Teaching Assistantships at Austrian Secondary Schools).

Students of all nationalities are eligible for the study/research grants and grants in the arts sponsored by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Baden-Württemberg Exchange.  The DAAD scholarship provides funding for one year of independent study or a full master’s degree program at a German university. These DAAD study scholarships are granted for one year of academic study (10 months) with the possibility of a one-year extension. Students will receive a monthly stipend of €750 plus money for health insurance and travel costs.

The Baden-Württemberg–Connecticut Exchange grant also provides funding for one year of studying at a German university in the state of Baden-Württemberg. Travel expenses are not covered.

For the latter two categories of grants, students should consult Professor Krishna Winston in the German Studies Department (

Novelist and screenwriter Merle Kröger will present her novel Havarie

The novelist and screenwriter Merle Kröger will present her novel Havarie in Professor Plass’ seminar on “Newest German Literature” on October 17, from 3:30 to 4:30, in Fisk 101. She will do so virtually, via large-screen videoconference from the University of Minnesota. Merle Kröger will first read from Havarie, a documentary-fiction thriller about the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean Sea. After the reading, there will be a discussion. Reading and discussion will be in German. 

Bork-Goldfield Elected to American Association of Teachers of German Council

Iris Bork-Goldfield, chair and adjunct professor of German studies, has been elected to serve as the Northeast Region representative to the Executive Council of the American Association of Teachers of German.

The American Association of Teachers of German (AATG) supports the teaching of the German language and German-speaking cultures in elementary, secondary, and post-secondary education in the United States. The AATG promotes the study of the German-speaking world in all its linguistic, cultural and ethnic diversity, and endeavors to prepare students as transnational, transcultural learners and active, multilingual participants in a globalized world.

Bork-Goldfield will act as an as ambassador and advocate for the AATG to both the association’s members and to external constituents; serve on one or more committees as appointed by the president; attend committee meetings; discuss meeting agenda items as necessary with key leaders in her region prior to meetings; and keep abreast of emerging professional issues.

In November, Bork-Goldfield will attend the AATG / American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages Annual Convention and World Languages Expo in Nashville, Tenn. There, she will participate in two days of meetings and participate in the assembly of chapter presidents.

Bork-Goldfield has already served as president of the Connecticut AATG chapter and is a long-time member of the chapter’s executive committee.

“Iris’s election provides evidence of the support and respect she enjoys among AATG members for her many valuable contributions to teaching the German language and culture,” said Wesleyan colleague and Connecticut AATG executive committee member Krishna Winston, the Marcus L. Taft Professor of German Language and Literature.

At Wesleyan, Bork-Goldfield teaches German language, literature, and culture courses at all levels. Born and educated in Germany, Bork-Goldfield has lived and worked in China, England and Israel. She is the recipient of the Rosenbaum-Anderson Award for Teaching in 2009 and has received research grants from the German government, German Embassy and Wesleyan.

by Olivia Drake