UCI German Newsletter, Fall 2019

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Fall 2019

GERMAN PROGRAM NEWSLETTER Message from the Chair

We look forward to seeing you at our annual MLA Cash Bar arranged by the University of California, Irvine, German Graduate Program (also known informally as the “Best Party at the MLA”).

We begin the new academic year with news of a re-energized graduate program in German. We have a revised fellowship funding model that will help us to recruit new students, and we continue to share courses with UCLA German in order to improve our graduate course offerings. We look forward to recruiting the strongest applicants into our German Ph.D. program in the coming year. In the past year, we were proud to see that one of our graduate students, Yao Pei, received a DAAD dissertation fellowship. She is spending this year in Hannover, working on a dissertation focused on Robert Musil. We also congratulate both Yao Pei and Xuxu Song, who passed their qualifying examinations this past spring, as well as Steven Nave, who passed his M.A. exam. We welcome Jacob Schaubs back after his medical leave and also a new student into the German Ph.D. program,

Lucas Wright, who comes to us from UC Santa Barbara. We congratulate Mathew Cooper and Xuxu Song on their presentations at the 2019 German Studies Association annual meeting, and we welcome Colin Clark and Jonas Weaver into their new instructor roles as they begin teaching in the German language program. In the past year, we launched our M.A. in European Thought and Culture with a lecture and workshop by Professor Randall Halle from the University of Pittsburgh, and we welcome Ciaran Gilligan as a new student in the program this year. We also hosted 300 high school students to campus for our annual German Day activities, and we appreciate Glenn Levine’s work in organizing another successful event. Our faculty has completed research in the past year on a range of topics, including European

identity, language pedagogy, Bertolt Brecht, Ulrike Draesner, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Franz Kafka, Heinrich von Kleist, Thomas Mann, and Arno Schmidt. We invite you all to our UC Irvine German Cash Bar at the MLA Convention in Seattle, which will take place in the JEFFERSON ROOM in the Sheraton Grand Hotel on Saturday, January 11, from 7:15 pm – 8:30 pm. The JEFFERSON is on the 4th floor of the UNION TOWER. We look forward to greeting you in Seattle!

Best wishes, David Pan Chair, European Languages & Studies


Inauguration of the New M.A. Program in European Thought & Culture

Prof. Randall Halle, Klaus W. Jonas Professor of German Film & Cultural Studies and the Dir. Of the Critical European Culture Studies Program at the Univ. of Pittsburgh

As the inaugural speaker for the department’s new M.A. program in European Thought & Culture, we were fortunate to be able to invite Professor Randall Halle, Klaus W. Jonas Professor of German Film and Cultural Studies and the Director of the Critical European Culture Studies Program at the University of Pittsburgh. Over the last few years, Professor Halle has been instrumental in the attempt to establish the new field of Critical European Culture Studies (CECS), both in his directorship of a Ph.D. program in CECS at the University of Pittsburgh, as well as in his energetic leadership at the Council of European Studies and the annual conference held by this organization. During his two-day visit at the end of February 2019, Professor Halle gave a well-attended presentation on the topic “Critical European Culture Studies: How To,” in which he proposed a framework for the study of European culture, questioning the impact that the European Union has had on culture both historically and in the current political and

economic context of Europe, which presents itself as rather fraught. Professor Halle championed an approach that conceptualizes European culture as an open and varied process, as a historical discourse, and contested space that is less interested in “culture as union” but instead looks at the dynamics of European culture as “dis/union.” After a lively Q & A session a festive reception at the home of Professor John Smith concluded the day. On the second day of his visit, Professor Halle led an interactive workshop, which he termed “a practical guide to cultural policy and practice in Europe.” Attended by faculty and students across the School of Humanities, it familiarized participants with the major European cultural policies and funding agencies and encouraged attendees to integrate economic and political questions into their research on Europe. Professor Halle’s visit was a dynamic beginning to what we hope will be a series of interactions with

interested colleagues around the country who champion the study of Europe from the nuanced and principled perspectives that the Humanities can offer. We are very pleased that our first cohort of students in the M.A. program for European Thought & Culture will begin their studies this fall in the larger department of ELS.

If you have questions about the M.A., please contact John Smith, who serves as the Program Coordinator. Anke Biendarra, Associate Professor of German and Director of European Studies


Fifth Southern California German Day at UCI!

“Around 350 students from SoCal area schools in events”

We look forward to seeing you at our annual MLA Cash Bar arranged by the University of California, Irvine, German Graduate Program

In February, UCI German organized and hosted the fifth southern California German Day for area high school students! Around 300 students from SoCal area schools participated in events such as a German scavenger hunt, spelling bee, trivia game and poetry slam and workshops on German rock and pop music, studying abroad in Germany and Austria, and what it’s like to study German in college. For their support and

participation, we thank UCI School of Humanities Tyrus Miller, Associate Dean Yong Chen, and the AATG Southern California Chapter; and the UCI Study Abroad Center. Special thanks to our undergraduate majors and our Ph.D. students for all their help creating and hosting the events, and to Andrew Komoto, Bindya Baliga, Heather Layton, Suzanne Bolding and their student assistants for their excellent support with

logistics, organizational details and creating materials for the teachers and students. It was wonderful to again meet and get to know our SoCal German teachers and students. We’re already looking forward to the next German Day event in early 2020! Glenn Levine, Professor of German, and Director of the German Language Program


Faculty News Anke Biendarra

Anke Biendarra’s transitioning back to California and into a regular faculty role after three years away was intense, but ultimately rewarding. Her research currently focuses on contemporary prose texts of both ethnic German and transnational

Kai Evers

As the DGS I would like to take the opportunity to welcome Lucas Wright, our most recent recruit to our German graduate program. We are very happy that he decided to join our program this

language writers and their configurations of European cultural identity and citizenship, within the theoretical framework of transculturalism and European Studies. She has presented her work at a number of venues this year, of which the Conference for Europeanists that took place in Madrid was definitely a highlight. In September 2019, she followed an invitation to the University of Pittsburgh for an interdisciplinary methods workshop on Critical European Studies. Biendarra’s latest publications are on the topic of Travel and

Trauma in Julya Rabinowich and Terézia Mora, in an edited volume on Contemporary German Travel Literature (Boydell & Brewer, 2019) and on Sibylle Berg’s popcultural feminism in early journalistic texts (forthcoming January 2020 in Text & Kritik). With Friederike Eigler, she has co-edited a double issue of Colloquia Germanica on the topic of “Europe in Contemporary Literature,” which is in its last review stage and slated to appear sometime in 2020. Further publications on overcoming European trauma in the works of Ulrike Draesner, debates

year. With his current research interests in Schelling and Rosenzweig and his first articles already forthcoming he will continue to thrive at UCI. Despite the pressures and challenges that graduate programs in the humanities are facing in the Unites States, our German program continues to offer students the expertise and the

(usually catastrophic ones) in German and European political, military, and cultural discourses before and after the Second World War. Recently, I’ve worked in this context on Peter Weiss’s The Aesthetics of Resistance and Arno Schmidt’s postwar fiction and will present results at the GSA in Portland and a Tagung on Traditionsverlust in Hamburg, organized by Ulrich Kinzel and Ulrich Wergin. An essay on Schmidt’s representation of complicity with the past in postwar Germany is forthcoming with the

support to become strong candidates on the job market. We look forward again to recruiting the strongest applicants to our program. My own research continues to investigate past futures

among intellectuals on Europe’s crisis, and the topic of Europe in Poetikvorlesungen are also forthcoming in 2020. Apart from her research activities, Anke continues to serve as Faculty Director for Study Abroad on the UCI campus and as Director for European Studies for the ELS department.

“Despite the pressures and challenges that in the humanities are facing in the Unites States our German program continues to offer students the expertise and the support to become strong candidates on the job market.”

journal Comparative Literature Studies. For the next spring, I look especially forward to the workshop “The Question of Ecology” that Catherine Malabou John Smith, and I are organizing. Once again, I look forward to a very interesting year at UCI.


Gail Hart

Gail Hart taught for the Humanities Core Course in Winter Quarter 2019 and continues to work with graduate students in the program. She completed an essay, “In the Beginning: Kleist, Genesis, and the Pursuit of Epistemological Salvation,” for a volume on Kleistian Paradigms,

Glenn Levine

Glenn Levine is the German language program director, responsible for coordinating the lowerdivision curriculum and working with the teaching assistants and lecturers in the program. He also

Herbert Lehnert edited by Jeffrey High and soon to appear with Camden House. She attended several conferences and presented one paper, “Keller and Gravitas,” for a series of panels commemorating Gottfried Keller’s 200th birthday at the 2019 GSA. She has also reviewed a number of article and book manuscripts for publication. She has taken several hiking trips to beautiful Western National Parks and caught operas at Teatro La Fenice and the Oslo Opera House.

offers courses in applied linguistics and language pedagogy, as well as in Germanic linguistics, German-Jewish literature and history, German and European culinary history, and German for the professions. This year he completed a monograph entitled A Human Ecological Language Pedagogy, to appear in early 2020 in The Modern Language Journal’s monograph series. Additionally, he coauthored an article with Bridget Swanson of the University of Vermont entitled, “Fostering Compassion through

The book, Thomas Mann, produced with Eva Wessell, was published early this year by Reaktion Books, London. Herbert is still revising his book "Thomas Manns Eintritt in die Literatur des Modernism. Publication by Wallstein Verlag is scheduled in February 2020.

Translanguaging Pedagogy in the German Willkommensklasse” will appear this fall in the journal Language Education and Multilingualism – The Langscape Journal, in a focus issue on migration, movements, and identities in European societies. Last winter, Professor Levine gave invited talks at the University of Vermont and the University of Mannheim. During the winter quarter, he received a DAAD grant to continue a multi-year study of the teaching of German to migrants—and

He received a DAAD grant to continue a multiyear study of the teaching of German to migrants—and particularly refugees—in Germany.

particularly refugees—in Germany. He worked in a secondary school in the Wedding district of Berlin, recording classroom interactions and interviewing instructors and learners. Finally, this summer he again had the honor and pleasure of teaching at the Middlebury College German School, a sevenweek immersion program located in rural Vermont. He taught the level 4 Sprachkurs and Literaturkurs with a phenomenal group of students.


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David Pan

In the past year, David Pan has taken over the editorship of the journal Telos and has written the introductions to Telos issues in spring, summer, and fall 2019, as well as the essay, “The Cultural Basis of Twenty-FirstCentury World Order: From World Literature to

John Smith

Working closely with coeditor, Clark Muenzer (University of Pittsburgh), and digital editor, Bryan Klausmeyer (Virginia Tech University), John has been busy launching the The Goethe-Lexicon of Philosophical Concepts (GLPC). We have summarized it as follows:

World Literatures” in the fall 2019 issue. In addition, his article “Merging Sovereignty and Meaning in Capital Punishment: Franz Kafka’s Der Proceß and Bertolt Brecht’s Die Maßnahme” has been published in Death Sentences: Literature and State Killing, ed. Birte Christ and Ève Morisi (Cambridge, UK: Legenda, 2019). He spent fall semester of 2019 as a visiting professor at Fudan University in China, during which time he taught a course on globalization and presented lectures on sacrifice and sovereignty in Heinrich von Kleist’s

“The GLPC is a collaborative research initiative investigating the central role played by concepts and their reinvention in Goethe’s development as a philosopher. Guided by the writer’s estimation of his own approach to philosophical problems as ‘heterodox,’ the project’s international team of cross-disciplinary collaborators will identify, collect, and explicate a network of philosophical concepts that, when taken together, allowed Goethe to reformulate central questions of traditional metaphysics. Drawing on digital technologies, the

Herrmannsschlacht at Fudan University and Nanjing University, on “The Counter of Enlightenment: Language as the Medium of Reason” at Shaanxi Normal University, and on “The Impossibility of World Literature” at Shanghai Jiaotong University. After his return from China, he presented papers on “The Uses and Misuses of Academic Freedom” at the 2019 MLA Convention in Chicago, on “Interpretation and Decision: The Political Theology of Carl Schmitt and Walter Benjamin” at the Telos-Paul Piccone Institute in New York, on

The Political Meaning of German National Identity,”at the LeibnizZentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung in Berlin, and on “World Literature to World Literatures” at the International Comparative Literature Association conference at Shenzhen University, China. He continues to serve on the Executive Council of the Modern Language Association, and, in September 2019, he began participating as a member of the Commission on Unalienable Rights established by the U.S. State Department.

lexicon will position users to connect Goethe to an exemplary line of predecessors and successors in philosophical conceptualization. It will also facilitate ‘reading’ and systematically organizing a vast Goethe-database of 146 volumes, thereby putting each of the writer’s discrete disciplinary practices into a virtual dialog with all the others on the basis of shared philosophical investments.”

of North America four panels at the 2018 German Studies Association conference. At the GSA in 2019, we are conducting a seminar (together with Karin Schutjer, University of Oklahoma) on “Goethe as a Heterodox Thinker.” In April of 2019 we held the first annual workshop at the University of Pittsburg, with some twenty US and international Goethe specialists. Future workshops: Cambridge, England (July 2020); UC Irvine (2021); Zurich (2022). Please contact me if you might be interested in participating.

To lay the groundwork of this long-term project, we organized together with the Goethe Society


Graduate Students News Matt Cooper

I was invited to a writing residency last fall through the Research Ambassadors project at the Universität Bremen. In addition to looking at archival materials in Munich and Berlin, I made

headway with dissertation writing. I continued this work in rural Tirol from Nikolaustag through the winter break. Back at UCI for the winter and spring quarters, I was awarded the TA of the year in the European Studies department. Most recently, I spent the summer in Mexico City developing a paper that I will be giving at the GSA titled “Art’s Relation to Reason in Schelling’s Identity Philosophy”. This upcoming year I am looking forward to teaching Writing 39C, Argument and Research

Milestones: passed the PhD candidacy exam

Program, April 2019-May 2020

Honors and awards:

3. DTEI Pedagogical Fellow, January 2019January 2020

Matt Cooper Yao Pei Steven Nave Xuxu Song Jonas Weaver Colin Clark Lucas Wright Kierstin Brehm Jacob Schaubs

in the Composition Program. I spent the last weeks of summer crafting a syllabus designed to hone students’ writing and research skills as we jump into philosophical and scientific readings organized around the theme of climate change.

“I was awarded the TA of the year in the European Studies department”

Yao Pei

1. DAAD One-year Research Grant, October 2019 - May 2020 2. Humanities Organizational Leadership and Communications

Invitation: UCI School of Humanities, one of the 22 banners.

She received a DAAD OneGrant


Steven Nave

Steven Nave received his B.A. in German Studies from Colgate

Xuxu Song

Overall, for me, two of the proudest things accomplished over the 2018-19 academic year are: 1) the pass of my Qualifying Exam, which has made me PhD candidate in German Studies and given me a clear direction for my dissertation project; and 2)

Jonas Weaver University in 2017 and his M.A. from UCI in 2019. His scholarly interests are in German perceptions of Asia, especially Orientalisms in philosophy and literature. He is also invested in undergraduate engagement, organizing and facilitating the UCI Kaffeestunde and Filmabend. He served as Graduate Representative during the 2018-2019 academic year.

Jonas Weaver is going into his second year of the program and is focusing on preparing for his MA.

my newly gained and fruitful experience in teaching discussion sessions for European Studies courses, which required a different set of pedagogical skills from teaching language classes. Although there is still much for me to improve, it was invaluable professional experience. Another exciting achievement is that I have completed the certificate program, Public Speaking: Activate to Captivate, over the fall quarter and obtained valuable professional training in this skill. Moreover, on this year’s German day at UCI, I worked with another graduate student on leading the Pedagogy Workshop (on the use of

debate in German classrooms) for the AATG-SoCal chapter’s spring meeting. It was “fun and informative”. Last but not least, I have also been accepted as a seminar participant to the upcoming GSA 2019 conference in Portland, Oregon. I’m very much looking forward to it as well as the new academic year!

“He is also invested in undergraduate engagement, organizing and facilitating the and Filmabend”

“I have also as a seminar participant to the upcoming GSA 2019 conference”


Grad Alumni Chuck Hammond A new article of mine, entitled “I Witness Testimony: Assigning Guilt in Franz Kafka’s Das Urteil,” will be appearing this fall in Colloquia Germanica. Rose Jones, Ph.D., UCI, German ’09, is currently director of the UCI Scholarship Opportunities Program (SOP) and Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest, most prestigious academic honor society. In the Division of Undergraduate Education, SOP encourages and supports UCI undergraduates and recent alumni (i.e., one year out from graduation) in applying for the nation’s most

prestigious merit-based scholarships—such as Fulbright, Goldwater, Truman, Rhodes, and the National Science Foundation—providing personalized and strategic advising; access to pastwinning applications; drafting of application materials such as personal statements, research proposals, and CVs; mock interviews and other skills development. As the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honor society, founded in 1776 at William and Mary, Phi Beta Kappa recognizes excellence in the liberal arts and sciences. With only 1% of juniors and 5%

of seniors invited to join each year, PBK is more selective than Latin honors and offers lifelong membership in a community devoted to learning, its letters referring to its Greek motto: “Love of learning is the guide of life.” Since its founding in 1974, UCI’s PBK chapter has inducted over 8,000 members. Notable Phi Betes at UCI include Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI Head Basketball Coach Russell Turner, and UCI’s two Nobel Laureates Frederick Reines and F. Sherwood Rowland, after whom two buildings on the UCI campus are named.

Undergraduate Awards Noah Stein

Noah Stein is a Senior in the Program for International Engineering, in which he is doublemajoring in Mechanical Engineering and German Studies. He entered this

program to learn both automotive engineering and Germany’s language, history and culture in his pursuit of a career in European motorsport. His additional coursework in UCI School of Humanities helps him improve his writing and communication skills in both English and German. In the School of Engineering, he is the Program Manager of Anteater Racing, the Formula SAE race car engineering design project. He would like to thank Matthew Cooper, Dr. Rafi and Professors Hart, Smith, Evers, and Levine in the Department of European Languages and Studies for their support.

“UCI School of Humanities helps him improve his writing and skills in both English and German”


Winnie Hoh “I hope to continue my German and never give up on this passion.”

Being a double major in Biomedical Engineering and German Studies

definitely was one of the best decisions I’ve made during my college years. I was fortunate to have German professors who really cared about the students (shoutout to Professor Kai Evers, Professor John Smith, and Professor Glenn Levine) as well. I’ve learned not just the German language but also its culture which makes me more interested in going to work at Germany in the future. Being awarded the German Program Award was a proud

moment for me as well because I came into UCI not knowing any German language and decided to just double major it. I really enjoy my time at UCI with the friends I’ve made in German classes as well (yes Seth, it’s you). I hope to continue my German knowledge and never give up on this passion.

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