Asian German Film Series

These contemporary German productions represent diasporic characters of Central, West, South, Southeast, and East Asian descent in a variety of genres and intersecting themes including stereotypes, gender, generation, mixed race identity, class, disability, and more.


(1) Get Up (Steh auf!), a 2019 short drama, directed by Seung-Hyun Chong. Taeshik, a German-born 26-year-old of Korean descent is torn between his Korean upbringing and his life in Germany. (2) Fruits & Vegetables (Obst und Gemüse), a 2017 short comedy-drama by Vietnamese director Duc Ngo Ngoc. At first glance, the Vietnamese greengrocer and his employee, who is as attached to the Berlin soccer team FC Union as he is to alcohol, have little in common. At second glance…

Tschick (Goodbye Berlin), a 2016 coming of age film, directed by Fatih Akin, based on Wolfgang Herrndorf’s bestselling novel Tschick. The film depicts two teenage outsiders from Berlin who steal a car and go on an eccentric roadtrip through Germany that will probably change their lives.

My Blind Date with Life (Mein Blind Date mit dem Leben), a 2017 biopic, directed by Marc Rothemund, based on the autobiographical book by Saliya Kahawatte. An ambitious young man struggles to achieve his dream of becoming an employee in a Munich luxury hotel despite being strongly visually impaired.

Semi-Detached (Doppelhaushälfte), a 2022 German TV comedy series. A family moves from hip Berlin to a semi-detached house in the idyllic countryside and gets to know their very different neighbors…

Online German 101 Superintensive with the Goethe-Institut

  • January 2-9: Preparatory asynchronous modules to be completed
  • January 10-23: Mondays-Saturdays 10am-11:30am (Eastern Time)
  • January 25: Final Exam

This 3-week superintensive online course allows students who were not able to attend GRST 101 this fall, to enroll in GRST 102 this spring. German 101 Superintensive is an introduction to German and leads to communicative competence in German by building on the four primary skills–speaking, listening, reading, and writing–while developing participants’ awareness of life and culture of German-speaking countries.

The German language opens vistas into a world of ideas that is as complex as it is elemental. It provides access to many fields, from philosophy to the natural sciences and many disciplines between: history, musicology, art history, and environmental studies. The course sequence 101/102/211 prepares students to study abroad in Germany, on one of the two Wesleyan-approved programs in Berlin and Hamburg or continue with GRST212 here at Wesleyan.

The cost of this non-credit course, offered by the Goethe-Institut – worldwide leader in German Language education – is $1350 but offered to all members of the Wesleyan community at a 20% discount. Registration is open through December 23 by emailing Learn more about the Goethe-Institut online. Students with additional questions are welcome to contact Professor Bork-Goldfield in Wesleyan’s German Studies Department.

Martin Bäumel: Creating Attention: Poetry, Form, and the Observing Self, 1680-1750

October 17th @ 6pm at Daniel Family Commons

This talk explores the medial and communicative conditions of the (German) Enlightenment creation of the modern observing self, broadly defined as a self that encounters the world both rationally and sensually and has to account for the validity of its cognition without recourse to something outside itself. It contends that lyric poetry is at the forefront of attempts to practice and theorize this human world encounter. In an investigation spanning roughly the first half of the eighteenth century, it explores the connection between poetic speech and philosophical attempts to understand and evaluate processes of cognition as well as the incorporation of an observing self into a larger social whole. In particular, it shows how an increasing use of poetic mediality profoundly shapes what humans can pay attention to, and how they can account for the accuracy of an observation that can never be observed in the moment of cognition.

A Historical Walking Tour through Hamburg-Blankenese

Wesleyan students Miles Cohen ‘23, Anna Tjeltveit ‘23, Josh DuBois ‘23, and Thoma Mitsuya ’23, who have been studying at Hamburg University with the Smith-Hamburg program since March 2022, joined Professor Bork on a historical walking tour through Blankenese, a suburb of Hamburg. They arrived at the S-Bahn station, built in 1867 and located next to Erik Blumenfeld Platz. The location was named after Erik Blumenfeld (1915-1997). As the son of a Jewish father and Danish mother, he was deported to Auschwitz in 1943. Luckily, he survived this death camp and returned to Hamburg. He became a German politician in the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the German Bundestag, and the European Parliament.

During the tour, we passed Prof. Bork’s great-grandparents’ former house. Two Stolpersteine remind the passers-by of their deportation to and death in Theresienstadt.


Near the local market, a memorial stone reminds us of eight young men from Blankenese who participated in the 1848 uprising of Schleswig-Holstein. In 1640, Blankenese had become part of the Duchy of Holstein, which was then reigned over by Danish kings for more than 200 years. In the mid-19th century, it was briefly ruled over by Austria, then by Prussia, and since 1938, Blankenese has  been a district of Hamburg.

We continued our walk by then visiting the Hessepark. It is named after George Heinrich Hesse (1785-1861), who was one of the founders of the German Commerzbank. Before him, around 1800, Mr. and Mrs. Klünder lived in what became the Hessepark. Friederike Klünder introduced smallpox vaccination in Blankenese and the surrounding villages by personally vaccinating 2,168 children and adults against the disease.

We then entered the “Treppenviertel” (staircase quarter), with its over 5,000 steps, and descended 150 steps to the river

Elbe on the Strandtreppe. At the bottom is the well-known Strandhotel famous for its two reliefs featuring Hermann and Dorothea from Goethe’s novel of the same title.

Our one-hour long tour continued through Baurs Park, named after the businessman Georg Friedrich Baur (1768-1865), whose manor house was built by the famous Danish architect, Hansen (1756-1845).

Not far from this beautiful park, our tour ended with “Kaffee und Kuchen” on Prof. Bork’s balcony. Miles was exhausted and rested in the Strandkorb.

Wesleyan Students in Hamburg-Blankenese

Jenna Lacey ’21 has been studying at the University of Tübingen since fall 2021. She is pursuing a MA in Public Policy and Social Change. This is a two-year program. She recently received a DAAD scholarship to finance her second year of study.

During her spring break she visited Professor Bork in Hamburg. They took the ferry from Blankenese to Landungsbrücken and visited the Elbphilharmonie, as well as many other interesting sites.








One evening Miles ’23 and Anna ’23 joined them to learn how to cook asparagus. In Germany asparagus is white and needs to be peeled—a painstaking process that is not for the faint of heart.

News about our GRST Majors and Minors

Anna Tjeveit’23, a GRST and ENGL double major, is currently studying at the University of Hamburg through the Smith in Hamburg study abroad program. After finishing her classes in July, she will use the generous funding from the German Studies Department’s Reihlen Fund to do research for her thesis, which is a novella focusing on nature conservation efforts in the GDR. Her novella focuses on a nature- conservation volunteer who struggles to reconcile her work with the government’s increasingly destructive environmental practices. Anna is interested in the way in which we as individuals process environmental destruction and in how concern for nature may or may not translate to political engagement. Through this project, she hopes to study East German perspectives towards nature and environmentalism while illuminating parallels between the GDR’s environmental movement and current international struggles against climate change. Anna will be visiting several cities in the former East-Germany.

Yasemin Schmitt ’24, a GRST and Neuroscience double major, will be volunteering this summer at the New York Blood Center, helping blood donors recover and watching for adverse reactions. In addition, she will be volunteering at Staten Island University Hospital and an Assisted Living Memory Care facility where she will help run activities and visit patients. Starting in July, Yasemin will work as a teaching assistant for a bioinformatics course for high schoolers at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City. In her spare time, she plans to practice her German and read many German books. A good for site for practicing German is Deutsch für Dich.

Linus Mao ’23, a GRST and COL major, is spending this summer in Germany, where they is doing research for their senior thesis. Linus has already visited the Walter Benjamin Archive in Berlin, which—as they wrote to Prof. Bork—“was already an unforgettable experience.” Linus will spend three weeks in the Deutsche Literaturarchiv located in Marbach, doing research on the German/English author, W. G. (Max) Sebald. Then Linus will visit Frankfurt to study at the DFF Archive and Study Center, which holds all the archival material of German film director Rainer Werner Fassbinder. This research has been funded by the German Studies Department’s Reihlen Fund. Linus will return to the US in mid-July to do further study and start applying to graduate schools.

Jake Neuffer ‘23, a GRST and CSS double major, received the Reihlen and Davenport grants to doresearch in Berlin this summer. He will be studying the rise of Germany’s military budget in light of the Ukraine conflict and whether the war represents a reconfiguration of the relationship among the German people to nationalism, democracy, and the government. The Berlin Social Science Center (WZB) has offered Jake the position of Guest Scientist to aid in his research.

John Sutherby ’23, a GRST and ECON double major, will be moving to New YorkCity this summer and attend the Deutsche Bank Internship Program in Investment Banking. He is excited about this opportunity as well as living in the Big Apple for the summer and returning for senior year! He is hoping to explore the city and do some weekend trips to New York State and Pennsylvania to do some fishing and hiking as well!


Sofia Khu ’24, a GRST and COL double major, will be interning for the literary journal The Perch. Afterwards she hopes to find work in journalism, and continue to work on her thesis novella which received High Honors.