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especially novels and films, emerging from a century of transnational flows between Germany and Japan. In the process, I also demonstrate how the German-Japanese context necessarily provokes new and productive readings of existing postcolonial theory. I started learning Japanese years ago while still a student in Berlin, intrigued by a language that looked and sounded so different from my own. I did not know back then that what started as a hobby would come to influence my work and research in a profound way. The more I learned about the language and the culture, the more interested I became in the cultural connections between my native country and Japan. This past summer I was able to continue my research on Germany and Japan as a Fellow of the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). Generous financial support from the JSPS, the Coalition of Women in German and the School of Graduate Studies of the University of Toronto enabled me to travel to Japan for a three-month residency at Rikkyo University in Tokyo, where I also accessed various archives and museums. My stay also proved truly transformational in reviving my interest in the Japanese language and my love for its arts and literature, most especially for kabuki, a unique form of Japanese theatre. Of course, I also spent my spare hours hunting for the best places to enjoy Japanese food. In 2011, I graduated with a Master’s degree in European Literature from the Humboldt University in Berlin. The fundamental questions pressing upon Europe at this time - its relations to others within and beyond its borders, as well as how European culture should shape its foreign policy - have never left me. In 2013, I had the honour of becoming a fellow of the Kolleg Europa for a three-year period. The Kolleg, an interdisciplinary community of researchers funded by the German Exchange Service and the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes, enables a cadre of over one hundred fellows to meet regularly in different European cities to exchange ideas on the future of the European Union. As I enter my fourth year in the PhD program and begin considering options following the dissertation, I aim to pursue a vocation that combines my researches on Japan, Germany and Europe with my interest in arts and politics.

Al and Malka Green Yiddish


Anna Shternshis, Al and Malka Green Associate Professor of Yiddish Last year, 13 students were enrolled in Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced Yiddish language courses. The Yiddish program is going strong, and is even busier in 2015-16, with a new undergraduate course designed specifically for German speakers - GER463. Graduate students will be able to take a similar course - GER1051Y - that prepares them to successfully pass a Yiddish Reading graduate test. This pilot program in North America will seamlessly integrate Yiddish studies into German graduate education. We have also welcomed two new graduate students planning to work in the field of Yiddish – Vardit Lightstone, who joins us from Hebrew University and our own Ruth D’Souza, who will enroll following completion of our MA program. Both students will also join the collaborative program within the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies. In April 2015, the Department hosted its 8th Annual Symposium in Germanic Studies, this year devoted to Global Yiddish Culture in the historical years of 1938 – 1948. Co-hosted with the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies, and co-sponsored by eight other departments, the Symposium was both very well attended and very well received. Co-organizers of the event, Professors Anna Shternshis, Doris Bergen, and Jeffrey Kopstein hosted both senior and emerging scholars from the United States, Israel and Europe.

Press coverage was provided by Yiddish and English Forwards, C a n a d i a n Jewish News and Russianlanguage media of Greater Toronto. Select papers will appear in a special issue of the leading journal East European Jewish Affairs. One conference highlight included a special concert prepared by the Russian-born poet and musician Psoy Korolenko in collaboration with Prof. Anna Shternshis – presenting rare, previously unknown Yiddish songs first recorded in the 1940s in the Ukraine. In collaboration with the Ashkenaz Festival and Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre, the event was widely publicized and attracted over 250 people. Unfortunately, we also have very sad news to report: Ms. Malka Green, a devoted supporter and friend of the Program, passed away on June 21, 2015. We will never forget what the Green Family has done to support Yiddish at the University of Toronto – everything we do is owing to their generosity.

2015 annual newsletter of the department of germanic languages and literatures at the university of  
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