Tag Archives: Featured

The German Department is happy to announce a new book publication from Assistant Professor Joel Lande

Persistence of Folly challenges the accepted account of the origins of German theater by focusing on the misunderstood figure of the fool, whose spontaneous and impish jest captivated audiences, critics, and playwrights from the late sixteenth through the early nineteenth century. Lande expands the usual scope of literary historical inquiry, showing that the fool was not a distraction from attempts to establish a serious dramatic tradition in the German language. Instead, the fool was both a fixture on the stage and a nearly ubiquitous theme in an array of literary critical, governmental, moral-philosophical, and medical discourses, figuring centrally in broad-based efforts to assign laughter a proper time, place, and proportion in society.

Persistence of Folly reveals the fool as a cornerstone of the dynamic process that culminated in the works of Lessing, Goethe, and Kleist. By reorienting the history of German theater, Lande’s work shows that the highpoint of German literature around 1800 did not eliminate irreverent jest in the name of serious drama, but instead developed highly refined techniques for integrating the comic tradition of the stage fool.

The German Department is happy to announce a new book publication from Emeritus Ted Ziolkowski

Because of Romanticism’s vast scope, most treatments have restricted themselves to single countries or to specific forms,
notably literature, art, or music. This book takes a wider view by considering in each of six chapters representative examples of works — from across Europe and across a range of the arts — that were created in a single year. This approach by “stages” makes it possible to determine characteristics of six stages of Romanticism in its historical and intellectual context and to note the conspicuous differences between these stages as European Romanticism developed.

Book cover with spline and back jacket of Stages-of-European-Romanticism_Cover

Berlin in Film – Sonnen Allee

Department of German Film Series “Berlin in Film” presents:
October 18, 2018 @ 7:30 – 9:30pm
East Pyne 010

Michael is a teenager coming of age in 1970s East Berlin. He and his friends daily traverse Sonnenallee, a street bisected by the West Berlin border, an ever-present reminder of a free world just beyond the wall. The teens rebel against their insular communist surroundings by immersing themselves in contraband rock records and other forms of pop art. What is at first a fad becomes a lifesaver as each kid comes to face the crushing realities of impending adulthood.

Snacks and soft drinks provided.

Princeton in Munich concludes another exciting summer session in Munich, Germany

Princeton in Munich, the German Department’s study abroad program, concludes another exciting summer session in Munich, Germany. The program combines intensive language instruction at the Goethe Institut with seminars on literature and culture lead by professors from Princeton University’s German Department.
Email pim@princeton.edu for information about the summer 2019 program.

German Summer Work Program turns 60!

SWP theater image
This summer, the German Summer Work Program (SWP) celebrates its 60th year connecting Princeton undergraduates with internships in German-speaking countries, now the oldest and largest international internship program of its kind at the University. Since its founding in 1958, SWP has stimulated interest among students in German language and culture and promoted transatlantic understanding. Beyond job training, the students’ experiences enrich their classrooms and communities, returning with greater language skills and new perspectives on some of the most pressing issues of the day. They create a more vibrant, more informed, and far more interesting campus, from which we in the German Department and the University benefit greatly.

Last summer saw one of the largest cohorts in the program’s recent history: 31 students successfully completed internships in Germany, with many visiting the country for the first time. From Berlin to Munich, Cologne to Göttingen, Essen to Ingolstadt and beyond, our students discovered new passions and built lasting connections. Students once again had the chance to perform meaningful work in a variety of fields, at universities, hospitals, and research labs, cultural institutions and major corporations, law firms and media organizations, and in the service of the state and federal government. Their work deepened long standing relationships at the Bundestag, the IFO Institute, the St. Joseph Hospital, the law firms dtb Rechtsanwälte and von Trott zu Solz Lammek, the non-profit Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain, the TU-Darmstadt Energy Center, the refugee support program coordinated at the Hessen State Government, and the Jugend Museum Schöneberg and Museum Wiesbaden. Ruhr Fellowship recipients were well-represented this year, with three students accepted to its 2017 program. Students also pursued new opportunities, including internships at Microsoft and SAP, various Max Planck Institutes, the European Space Agency and the German Aerospace Center, and Exberliner magazine.
The program continues to benefit from the dedicated efforts of SWP Director David Fisher, Chair of the Princeton Alumni Association of Germany, who has secured support to provide modest scholarships for students with low- and unpaid internships. Students’ travel and immigration fees were again supported through the generous contribution of the Max Kade Foundation, without which the summer’s successes would not have been possible.
This coming summer, we look forward to supporting more unforgettable internship experiences; 25 students have been accepted to internships for Summer 2018. In addition, the feedback from last year led to the creation of unique opportunities for returning students, several of whom have since elected to major in German. We are committed to developing more internships in a wider range of fields, so that SWP can continue to benefit students in ways that are most meaningful to them—personally, professionally, academically—for years to come.
Read more about last summer’s internships, from the students themselves:

“Having access to the operating room is the most exhilarating thing I have ever experienced and it is an experience I will never forget, I can’t wait to be back in the operating room actually standing at the table!” Kerri Davidson, Class of 2019

“I loved my time in Germany and I am planning to apply to programs and companies that may allow me to return to Germany after graduation.” Marley Brackett, Class of 2018

“Overall, my internship and my two months in Wiesbaden were completely unparalleled in the quality of the language immersion, work experience, and overall cultural education I received.” Janice Cheon, Class of 2020

“I had a great time in Germany this summer! I definitely improved my German proficiency, and I got to experience German culture in a whole new way!” Jack Draper, Class of 2020

“My internship with a law firm was a great way to experience German culture — it was immersive, much more self-directed than a language program, and provided professional and intellectual experience in German reparations law that I will take with me after this program.” Sebastian Witherspoon, Class of 2019

“I already miss it. It was awesome!” Ekrem Ipek, Class of 2019

To learn more about the program and application requirements, please visit the SWP homepage on the German Department website, or check out the SWP Facebook Page @PrincetonGermanSWP.
For all other inquiries or to learn how to become involved as a future host organization or sponsor, contact SWP Assistant Director Hannah Hunter-Parker (swp@princeton.edu).

[Image credit: Heidelberg University Library, 141.1925, 0110]

2018 Summer School for Media Studies

Scaling. What happens when we scale things up or down?
Princeton-Weimar Summer School for Media Studies

June 16–22, 2018

The Princeton-Weimar Summer School for Media Studies -a collaboration between Bauhaus-Universität Weimar (Internationales Kolleg für Kulturtechnikforschung und Medienphilosophie, IKKM) and Princeton University (German Department)-returns to Princeton in 2018 for its eighth installment. The 2018 session will be devoted to the investigation of scale and scaling as operative concepts for the analysis of media. What happens when we scale? Does anything really change? Can scaling ever impact the inner blueprint of an object? Are there laws of scaling? Or does scaling resist any attempt at calculability, such that, to investigate it, we can only ever look at individual events of scaling? As a media practice, scaling is widely used. But, in contrast to the ubiquity of operations, scaling is hardly ever viewed on its own terms as a basic concept of media analysis. The Princeton-Weimar Summer School for Media Studies 2018 will attempt to map out approaches to scaling as a basic media-analytical tool.

The summer school will be directed by Bernhard Siegert (Weimar) and Nikolaus Wegmann (Princeton). The Princeton-Weimar Summer School for Media Studies invites applications from outstanding doctoral students throughout the world in media studies and related fields such as film studies, literary studies, philosophy, art history, architecture, sociology, politics, the history of science and visual culture.

Hanne Darboven’s Address – Place and Time

The opening of the exhibition Hanne Darboven’s Address — Place and Time on April 27, 2018, will be accompanied by a series of readings, lectures, and performances featuring presentations by composer and artist Seth Cluett and artists Nick Mauss and Ken Okiishi, as well as readings by students from Art & Archaeology, Comparative Literature, European Cultural Studies, German, and Classics.

Sponsored by the Department of Art & Archaeology, the Princeton University Art Museum, the Department of German, and the Program in European Cultural Studies.

Event Poster and Schedule:

Exhibition Information:

The works in the Department of German (207 East Pyne Building) can be viewed 9 AM – 12 PM and 2 PM – 4 PM, Monday through Friday, Through June 12th.
More information at European Cultural Studies

Superstition and Magic in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods

“The Magical and Superstitious Past as a Foreign Country”
Michael Bailey, Keynote Speaker, Iowa State University
Date: Friday, April 20th
Time: 9:00 am — 10:30 am · Jones Hall 202

Co-organized by:
Jonathan Martin, PhD, Department of German 2018
Sonja Andersen, Graduate Student, Department of German

In an age when authorities attempt to assault our modern modes of critical thinking, the term “superstition” and its premodern associations take on rearranged values. Current political discourse denounces fake news and climate change as humbug with a zeal not unlike that of medieval and early modern establishments censuring false prophets and fallacious astrologers. Given these similarities, the classic narrative of a medieval society emerging into a modern one, “the disenchantment of the world” (Max Weber), urgently needs reappraisal. This conference proposes the examination of a wide range of evidence in various genres over time in order to foster this dialogue. In returning to the original meaning of “superstition” as an excessive fearfulness or belief, or a misapprehended and abused knowledge of a supernatural subject, how can we refine our understanding of superstition and magic in the premodern world? How can we make the overlaps between science, superstition, and magic productive?

Co-organized with Princeton Medieval Studies

Download Medieval Studies Graduate Conference

How Literatures Begin: A Comparative Approach to Problems and Methods

Prof. Joel Lande (Department of German)
Prof. Denis Feeney (Department of Classics)

Symposium for Friday, April 13, 2018

(Event is organized by Denis Feeney and Joel Lande. Sponsored by the Department of German, Department of Classics, East Asian Studies, The Humanities Council, Comparative Literature, and Slavic)

2018 Graduate Student Symposium

Princeton University

Department of German
Graduate Student Symposium

Friday, April 6th, 2018
2:00 – 5:00PM

Rocky-Mathey Theater
Rockefeller College


Andreas Strasser
“Heimat ist das Entronnensein”: Heimat in the Writings of Theodor W. Adorno

In light of the ongoing debates around the term Heimat, Theodor W. Adorno’s dispersed comments on Heimatcan help us understand the presuppositions and contexts the term comes with. First, this talk looks at how the Dialectic of Enlightenment presents a general dialectical account of Heimatas standing opposed to myth. Then, I turn to Adorno’s comments on why he returned to Germany to specify this dialectic in relation to language and individual experience. Finally, a close reading of Adorno’s short text “Amorbach” presents a model of individualized historical experience of Heimat, which needs to be understood in its historical context.


Mary Grayson Brook
Mutterherz: Maternal Inheritance in Adalbert Stifter’s Brigitta and Theodor Storm’s Der Schimmelreiter

Adalbert Stifter wrote, “The mother’s heart is the most beautiful and most lasting place for the son, even when his hair has turned gray. And everyone has only one such heart in the whole universe.” Read closely, this tribute to motherhood disrupts traditional notions of father-son inheritance, while the positioning of the mother’s heart in spatial terms creates an image of motherhood as landscape. This talk will explore latent maternal affinities in two German realist novellas written four decades apart, following the calls of recent scholarship to explore otherness and eccentricity in the German realist canon. In each, an expansive model of motherhood emerges from the particularity of the landscapes Stifter and Storm describe. In addition to these charged landscapes, both authors use phonemically or anagrammatically similar character names to denote lines of kinship beyond the shared family name. These spatial and textual clues present a latent inheritance that transcends biology and conventional notions of family.


Alexander Draxl
Freud and Schicksal: Reality, Fantasy, and Tragedy

The German word Schicksal is a peculiar term:
Immanuel Kant, for instance, declared the word Schicksal unfit for usage as its vagueness defies determination. By analyzing Sigmund Freud’s use of Schicksal this talk examines how a term as ambiguous as Schicksal demands consideration precisely because there seems to be so much at stake in the ambiguities of its figural and literal implications. Perhaps what has been referred to in terms of ambiguity and indeterminacy should be addressed as ambivalence – and more accurately, in psychoanalytic terms, ambivalence as indicative of conflict. Investigating invocations of Schicksal thus holds the promise of uncovering conflicts that are usually concealed by the seeming precision of the ideas from which that term is derived.

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