Another Productive Year for our Graduate
Stefan Soldovieri, Associate Professor of German
The most recent graduate of our Ph.D. program is Dr. Jason Lieblang, who successfully defended his PhD thesis, “The Representation of Masculinity in Crisis as a Problem: A Prologue and Five Essays.” We wish Jason continued success in his current position as Lecturer at the University of British Columbia. Another doctoral candidate, Nicola Vöhringer, embarked on a new career chapter as DAAD lecturer and Director of the DAAD Information Centre at the Tajik National University in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Best of luck from all of us, Nicola! Our current cohort has once again successfully secured an array of funding from the Joint Initiative in German and European Studies (JIGES), Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), School of Graduate Studies (SGS) and other organizations. We are extremely proud of all our award-winners, including Yasmin Aly, Lara Pehar, Veronika Rummel, and Anna Stainton. As well, Marlo Burks was the recipient of a highly competitive International Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS), one of only 21 university-wide. Will Ohm garnered a prestigious CGS SSHRC; and Teresa Sudenis a domestic OGS. Christin Bohnke, whose researches took her to Japan last summer, won a fellowship from the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science and was also distinguished with the Zantop Award of the Coalition of Women in German. This year the Graduate Program Committee also led an initiative to reconfigure the comprehensive examination that serves as gateway to writing the PhD thesis. With feedback from students and faculty, an updated format is now in place that offers students increased flexibility in designing their own reading lists and is intended to facilitate and streamline the path to the thesis. This Fall, we have admitted another
promising and enthusiastic cohort, whose intellectual interests are aligned with the research strengths of our distinguished faculty at the interfaces of literature, philosophy, cinema studies, and postcolonial/ colonial studies. We welcome Katharina Heinz, Vardit Lightstone, Robby Muff, and Bukurije Nimani-Gashi, as well as Ruth D’Souza, who is returning to complete her MA and enter the PhD program. The strike of Unit 1 teaching assistants in Spring 2015 was a trying time and highlighted a number of issues facing our graduate students. The ensuing university-wide dialogue on the state of graduate education and the challenges to the humanities has been necessary and is welcome. An open letter of support on the part of German faculty recognized the concerns of graduate students and the need for a continued conversation about the graduate experience. The Department as a whole is committed to improving the working and learning conditions for our graduate students and has formed a working group to address those issues still unresolved. I am hopeful that the dialogues initiated in the Department and within the University at large will lead to positive, tangible results. Finally, a word of thanks to our indefatigable and resourceful new Graduate Assistant, Helena Juenger, who hit the ground running last year and has quickly become indispensable to our program.
Perspective on German-Japanese Cultural Flows
Christin Bohnke, PhD Candidate
I came to Toronto in 2012 to pursue a PhD in German literature and culture. I had never been to Canada before and had only a vague idea that studying at a Canadian university would be fundamentally different from earning a degree in Germany. I quickly discovered that, while there are unique challenges to the Canadian university system (and to Canadian winters), the German Department’s resources enabled me to freely explore my interests in ways that would not have been possible in Germany. In my dissertation, I am examining the intersectionalities of race and gender as they manifest in cultural production, most