Why Study German at Wesleyan?

Meet some of our German Studies Alums!

Adam Baltner ’13  I was interested in philosophy when I came to Wesleyan and figured it would be a good idea to take some German classes so that I could read important source texts in their original form. Little did I know how much that decision would influence my future. Having enjoyed my intro language classes so much, I studied abroad in the spring of my sophomore year and declared German as a second major (in addition to College of Letters). After graduating I moved to Austria to teach high-school English through a Fulbright-affiliated fellowship. Not quite ready to return to the US after that, I subsequently did a Master of Arts in German at the University of Vienna, a degree program for which the Wes German department prepared me brilliantly. I’ve since stayed in Vienna and returned to working as a high-school English teacher at a bilingual school in the city, but on the side, I’m putting my academic German skills to good use as a professional translator, mostly of texts written in the critical social sciences and humanities. If you have questions, just email me.

Caroline Adams ’19  I double-majored in German and American Studies. Some of my favorite German classes included “Forward, without Forgetting: The GDR in Literature and Film” and “Deutschland Multikulti: Expressions of Germany’s Cultural Diversity.” In the summer before my senior year, I worked as a research assistant for Professor Iris Bork-Goldfield on the topics of family history and German-Jewish migration to Brooklyn in the mid-nineteenth century. The German department’s Reihlen fund enabled me to conduct research for my senior thesis, “Imagining Indianer: Karl May’s Winnetou and Germans’ Enduring Fantasies about Native Americans.” Currently, I am enrolled in a Master program in American Studies at Brown University. Questions? Just send me an email.

Wy Ming Lin ’16  I majored in German Studies and Neuroscience and Behavior. After Wes, I wanted to do something with both majors, so what better way to combine the two than by moving to Germany and pursuing some research opportunities? That’s exactly what I did through the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals where I had the chance to spend a year in Leipzig. I did an internship at the Max Planck Institute there and worked with some amazing and brilliant neuroscientists who convinced me to keep studying in Germany. Currently, I am doing my MA in Tübingen and plan on continuing on with a PhD in Germany! I’ll be happy to answer any questions just email me.

Christina Sickinger ’18  I double majored in German Studies andEconomics. I studied abroad in Berlin during the fall of my junior year. Now, I am living in New York City, where I work as a municipal credit analyst at Aberdeen Standard Investments. My team manages funds of municipal bonds, which provide local governments with money for infrastructure and other community needs. I continue to enjoy reading German literature (and drinking German beer) in my spare time. Questions, just send me an email.

Carter Dean ’18  I graduated from CSS and German Studies. German Studies, with its wide breadth of courses in film, literature and politics, compliments CSS’ focus on history and social theory with a more specific survey of German culture and history. In retrospect, minoring in German Studies also gave me the language skills crucial for my post-grad life: I’ve moved to Cologne, Germany for research and graduate school. All in all, the department’s professors are as patient as they are generous with their time and guidance. I would gladly speak to any prospective GRST students, especially if they are considering balancing an intensive program like CSS with a minor or double-major. Just email me.

Anna Apostolidis ’19  I graduated with a double major in Anthropology and German Studies and a certificate in Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory. I wrote my thesis about the Humboldt-Forum, a new museum in Berlin, and the politics of remembering German colonial history through the lens of the museum. Through funding from the German Department, I was able to travel to Berlin for a month to study the museum. I am currently working at Covey Law in New York City, a firm that provides legal aid to artists and musicians who are applying for visas to work on the US. The research experience and the knowledge I gained about the arts and international cultural exchange through the combination of the German Studies and Anthropology programs helped prepare me for this exciting opportunity. I hope to eventually pursue a PhD in Anthropology. Questions? Just send me an email.

LATEST NEWS: Lizzie Whitney ‘19 (GRST/COL) won a DAAD-Stipendium and will be starting at the Universität Konstanz in its MA program, Kulturelle Grundlagen Europas, in October 2019. Questions, just email her.

Click here for more information on our Alumi/ae careers.

Study abroad at our favorite program in Hamburg

The Smith program in Hamburg was the most rewarding experience, both academically and personally, in my life. The program challenged me to engage with people and the world around me in ways I never thought imaginable. I arrived in Hamburg timid, a little anxious, and with broken German (to put it nicely) and left with a newfound confidence in myself and my language skills. The Hamburg program offers the amenities and excitement of a big city with a strong support system to help guide you along the way.”  Scott Walkinshaw ’20 Questions? Send me an email.

 

LATEST NEWS ABOUT OUR GRST GRADUATES

Caroline Adams ’19 (GRST/AMST) received high honors for her German Studies and American Studies senior thesis Imagining “Indianer”: Karl May’s Winnetou and Germans’ Enduring Fantasies about Native Americans. Caroline was awarded the Blankenagel Prize and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in the spring. Next year, Caroline will be working towards her Masters in American Studies at Brown University and plans to continue her studies on “Indianthusiasm” in Germany. Her plans for the summer included researching the histories of German settlements in the Midwest.

Anna Apostolidis

Anna Apostolidis ’19 (GRST/ANTH) completed an honors thesis titled, Is Bigger Better? Postcolonial Memory and the Politics of Expansion at the Humboldt-Forum. Based on fieldwork conducted in Berlin in summer 2018, the thesis is a critique of the Humboldt-Forum, a new museum opening up in Berlin this fall. In it, she explores contemporary German politics of memory in relation to colonial history and the Berlin ethnological collections set to be displayed inside the museum, arguing that the liberal, conciliatory discourse of the museum prevents a real confrontation with its colonial past. Anna received high honors for her thesis from the Anthropology and German Studies departments. She was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa last fall. She will be applying to graduate programs in Anthropology.

Lizzie Whitney ‘19 (GRST/ COL) wrote an honors thesis entitled The German Novel in the Wake of the Refugee Crisis. In it, she examines six novels recently published in Germany that concern the refugee crisis and uses these readings to test the idea of a contemporary German transnational literature.

She was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, and received the Blankenagel Prize. She also won a DAAD-Stipendium and will be starting at the Universität Konstanz in its MA  program, Kulturelle Grundlagen Europas, in October 2019.  This program applies sociological and historical lenses to the study of literature.

 

Miranda Haymon

Miranda Haymon ’16 (GRST/THEA) directed her adaptation of Franz Kafka’s short story In the Penal Colony (orig. title, In der Strafkolonie) last September in The Tank in New York City. Critic Darryl Reilly of Theater Scene wrote, “Brilliantly realized … a symbolic exploration of race in the United States. It’s a jolting blend of dance, movement, and physical theater dynamically performed by an African-American cast.” He called Haymon’s staging “electric,” and her adaptation “pared down yet faithful.” Several Wesleyan graduates helped with her production, so it is no surprise that Miranda called it a “very Wesleyan” production.

More information about Miranda, the play, and her staging:

Alumni News

German major and alum, Ezra Kauffman ’18, recently returned from a fantastic year teaching English in Innsbruck, Austria on a program administered by Fulbright Austria. He taught students 14-19 years old at a large technical high school. Ezra embraced the opportunity to spend as much time in the mountains as possible, so in his free time, he hiked, skied, and ran. He wrote, “although I learned Hochdeutsch at Wesleyan and lived with four Germans in Innsbruck, it was fascinating to hear the Austrian dialect, where the intonations and vocabulary can change depending on the valley.” He took an intensive German course at the Innsbruck Universität, which vastly improved his vocabulary and speaking confidence. He hopes to continue speaking German in New York, where he recently started a job working in business development at a real estate technology company.

Fellowship opportunities in Germany

The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (CBYX), a fully-funded fellowship opportunity, is currently accepting applications for the 2019-2020 program year.

The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (CBYX) is a year-long fellowship that gives students and recent graduates the opportunity to study and work in Germany. CBYX for Young Professionals is open to students in all fields of study and at all levels of study, including graduating students.

CBYX is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and German Government and is administered by Cultural Vistas and the GIZ. More information and the online application can be found at www.CBYX.info.

The CBYX program annually provides up to 75 participants with:

  • Two months of intensive German language training
  • A semester of study at a German university or university of applied sciences
  • Internship with a German company in the participants’ career field
  • Homestays with German host families, in shared apartments, and student dorms
  • Transatlantic airfare, health insurance, and monthly living expense stipends
  • Local in-country support throughout the program

Prior German language knowledge is not required, though it is preferred. Applicants should have clear career goals and some relevant work experience in their career fields, which may include summer, part-time, or internship work. Participants must be between the ages of 18.5-24, possess a high school diploma or equivalent, and be U.S. citizens.

The application deadline for the 2019-2020 program is December 1, 2018. For a more detailed overview of the program, we invite you to attend our CBYX Informational Webinar on October 22 at 3:30pm EST. Please RSVP by sending an email to Ronda Rutherford.

Internships in Germany and in the U.S.

Cultural Vista’s internship and work abroad programs allow students and professionals to develop the expanding set of competencies demanded in today’s global economy through sustained immersion in a foreign country – language learning, interdisciplinary problem solving, empathy, and respect for cultural attitudes and ideas, to name a few.

Sissi- A German Musical

Familiar with Sissi, the Bavarian princess who later became Empress Elisabeth of Austria? You might have been familiar with the classical figure, cast by Romy Schneider. However, the sweet royal fairy tale is neither the true nor the whole story…Come to Boger 112 around 7 pm, October 13th and enjoy a German Musical. The screening is hosted by German Haus!

Elisabeth is a German-language musical commissioned by the Vereinigte Bühnen Wien (VBW), with book/lyrics by Michael Kunze and music by Sylvester Levay. It portrays the legendary life and death of Empress Elisabeth of Austria. 

This is a German musical, but English subtitle will be provided. So don’t worry whether your German is proficient enough. There will be an intermission between Act I and Act II. Refreshments will be served. The audience is welcomed and encouraged to bring friends who might also be interested. 

Please contact Binxin Wang if you have any questions. 

German Studies Majors and Minors News

Adam Rashkoff Baltner ’13 (GRST major) has been living in Vienna for the past few years. From 2013-2015, he taught English at two high schools in Vorarlberg, Austria. He then worked for another year as an English teacher at a technical school in Vienna. Since 2015, he has been in a Master’s program in the Department of German at the University of Vienna. He just finished all his course work and is currently writing his thesis. Adam recently published an article about the teacher strikes in the United States which was published on the Austrian political blog Mosaik.

Adam is married and will become a father in October.

Madalene Smith-Huemer ’14 (GRST/HIST major) has been pursuing an M.S. in Foreign Service at Georgetown University and is spending the summer working at an anti-human-trafficking NGO in Belgrade, Serbia, called Atina. Her work includes helping to teach German at the refugee camps near Belgrade and designing and writing a guidebook for Serbian employers on how to hire refugees.

Wy Ming Lin ’16 (GRST/NS&B) is currently working at a psychology researchlabat New York University following his year-long stay in Cologne and Leipzig through the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program. Wy Ming will be moving to Germany in the fall to pursue a Master’s degree in Neural and Behavioral Science at the University of Tübingen in Baden-Württemberg. He is looking forward to speaking German again, enjoying some German beer, and visiting friends around the country!

Philip Katz

Philip Katz ‘17 (GRST/HIST) is planning to apply to law school in the fall while continuing to work as a paralegal in New York.

Carter Deane ’18 (CSS major and GRST minor) will be spending this summer working at a restaurant before moving to Köln with the support of DAAD’s 10-month Research Fellowship. The latter will allow him to continue his research on the legal history and current status of Islamic religious groups that remain unacknowledged by the government of Nordrhein-Westfalen. His research will be centered around recently unsealed documents in the State archive which detail the first application for official status and rights by an Islamic religious community. This first application, like all those that followed, was ultimately rejected by the State.

Jack (Hans) Guenther

Jack Guenther ’18 (GRST, HIST, COL) received high honors for his honors thesis, “‘Gateway to the World’: Hamburg and the Global German Empire.” He graduated with University Honors, received the Blankenagel Prize and Robbins Memorial Prize, and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. Jack has received a full scholarship for a 5-year Ph.D. program in history at Princeton University. This summer he will return to Hamburg, Germany to do more research at the Warburg Archive.

Katherine Peterson

Katherine Paterson ’18 (THEA/ENVS and GRST minor) completed an honors thesis in Theater this year called (at)tend, which explores urban farming and theater as sites of coming together and building community. The thesis included a performance component which involved building a greenhouse and growing vegetables. This year, Katherine received the Outreach and Community Service Award from the Theater Department and the Sophie and Anne Reed Prize for the best poem/group of poems. She was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa last fall. Future plans include touring with a production of up your aesthetic in July. up your aesthetic, a former Wesleyan theater capstone project, premiered in the Theater Studio in the spring of 2017. The show is touring in upstate New York, Vermont, Philadelphia, and ending at the Capital Fringe Festival in DC. If you are in the area, please come see it! After the tour, Katherine plans to continue working in the theater, eventually making the move to New York City in the fall. Hopefully German will find a way into these plans as well!

Sophia Shoulson

Sophia Shoulson ’18 (GRST/COL) received high honors for her thesis, “All Tales Are True.” She received the Prentice Prize and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa last fall. After graduation, she will work at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, MA.

Christina Sickinger

Christina Sickinger ’18 (GRST/ECON) received the Scott Prize for her work in German Studies, the Plukas Teaching Apprentice Award, and she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa last fall. She is working for Aberdeen Standard Investments in Manhattan.

Chris Steidl

 

Chris Steidl ’18 (GRST/HIST) will be moving to Boston in September to do nonprofit work! Still up in the air is what that work will be, but he is as always optimistic and open for whatever comes.

Caroline Adams ’19 (GRST/AMST) will be living in Brooklyn this summer where she conducts research for Professor Bork about family history and German-Jewish immigration during the 19th century. She will also be delving into research for her own German Studies senior thesis about Karl May’s indianer novels and their impact on modern cultural perceptions of indigenous life in German culture. Additionally, she is taking a class at Brooklyn College and learning for the first time how to navigate the New York subway system! She is very excited to pursue this research with the generous help and support from the Helmut und Erika Reihlen fund, Professor Bork, Professor Winston and the German Studies department! She is looking forward to a wonderful, wonderful, German-centric summer!

Anna Apostolidis ’19 (GRST/ANTH) received the Blankenagel Prize and a scholarship from the GRST Helmuth and Erika Reihlen Fund to support her research in Berlin this summer. Anna will be spending four weeks in Germany’s capital where she will conduct archival research on the Humboldt-Forum’s planning, looking at correspondence and records of buildings and exhibits.

Lizzie Whitney

Lizzie Whitney ’19 (GRST/COL) will be spending part of her summer in Hamburg and Berlin. In preparation for her honors thesis, she will see as many plays as she can and explore how classic German texts are performed and reinterpreted in the contemporary sociopolitical climate. For her research project, she received funding from the GRST Helmuth and Erika Reihlen Fund.

 

Lily Davis ’20 (FGSS/PSYCH major and GRST minor) will be interning at an organization called Environment Oregon. She is working on a campaign to keep plastic out of the Pacific Ocean and keep our planet safe.

OUR STUDENTS ABROAD

Will Bellamy ’19 (GRST/ENGL), Hannah Cooper ’20 (GRST/FILM), and Scott Walkinshaw ’20 (GRST/COL) are currently studying with the Smith program in Hamburg. Karen and Julia from Smith College the Hamburg program director, Jutta Gutzeit, together with Wesleyan students Will, Hannah, and Hendrik recently visited Professor Bork in Hamburg-Blankenese. After a walking tour through this picturesque village on the Elbe River, they relaxed for a few hours on Frau Bork’s balcony with Kaffee und Kuchen. As the German semester is still in session, they are busy studying before they can ultimately relax and enjoy their well-deserved vacation.

Will is currently also collecting material for his honors thesis. He is planning to write about the Austrian writer Elfriede Gerstl (1932-2009).

Hannah has been focusing this semester has been on improving her language skills and exploring German culture and history in the decades following the Second World War. She’s looking forward to returning to Wesleyan in the fall to continue her studies.

With great sadness we share this news

Our colleague and friend Peter M. Frenzel, Marcus L. Taft Professor of German Studies, Emeritus, passed away on Sunday, May 20, 2018, at the age of 82.

Peter Frenzel playing the Glockenspiel with the pep band during homecoming weekend in 2010.

Peter arrived at Wesleyan in 1966 after receiving his B.A. from Yale, M.A. from Middlebury, and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. He retired in 2003 after 37 years at Wesleyan. During his time here, Peter served on virtually every major committee, including Advisory and EPC, and he served in a number of administrative roles, including as an Associate Provost, Dean of Arts and Humanities, chair of German Studies, director of the Wesleyan Program in Germany, and as the Commencement Marshal. In his retirement, Peter served on the Advisory Board for the Wasch Center for Retired Faculty and was editor of the Center’s newsletter. He was a carillonneur who oversaw Wesleyan’s carillon bells, and he played the glockenspiel with the pep band during football games.

Peter was one of the foremost experts on the German Minnesang tradition of lyric- and song-writing, with particular expertise in the early forms of Medieval German literature and the connection between poetry and music. His scholarship on medieval music and literature and German music and culture of the 19th century contributed much to our knowledge of the Middle Ages. 

His colleague Herb Arnold said, “Peter loved music in its more modern expression, as well, often sitting down at his piano for an impromptu riff or chasing the perfect Wagner Ring around the globe, visiting what seems like every operatic venue from New York to Sydney.”

Peter is survived by his wife, Laurie Neville Frenzel; grandchildren John Frenzel and Rita Frenzel; daughter Kim Frenzel and partner John Lucey; and his older brother, Robert. A memorial gathering will be held at the Wadsworth Mansion from 1:30 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 17, 2018. Memorial contributions can be made to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, P.O. Box 97372, Washington, D.C. 20090-7372, or to the Susan and William Wasch Center for Retired Faculty, c/o Jessie Steele, 51 Lawn Avenue, Middletown, CT 06457.