GER 240 presents German poetry Slam

What can we learn from reading and writing poetry? Why is it still important? Where do we encounter poems in our everyday-life? How can we bring back the fun into reading and writing poetry? How can poetry contribute to successful second language learning?

These were the questions that students in GER 240 discussed during the spring 2018 semester. Yet, the students did not only discuss form and function of German poetry, but also engaged in writing poetry themselves. In addition, they created beautiful small booklets, and collected their own and their favorite German poems in these books.

At the end of the course, the students presented a German Poetry Slam as final project. They read their own and classic poems in German and English. After the event, students, faculty and staff  celebrated the students’ accomplishments and the end of the semester.


Dr. Uta Larkey presented at Hebrew University

During the spring semester 2018, Uta Larkey was invited to give a talk at Hebrew University. The talk examined the missing commemoration of the brutal expulsion of Polish Jews from Nazi Germany in October 1938 as well as the existence of hundreds of thousands Jewish displaced persons in German after WWII. Dr. Larkey discussed why these two historical events and developments have hardly played any role in the otherwise rich and considerate Memorial Culture in Germany. The talk was well received, and triggered a rich discussion.

Celena Dyal presents at Goucher Student Symposium

(from left to right): Scott P. Sibley, Celena Dyal, Uta Larkey

On April 26, Goucher sponsored a day long student and faculty symposium. The symposium includes multiple events in one, such as the Digital Media Showcase and Contest, the Julia Rogers Research Prizes, and Independent Study and Research Presentations on research-based and creative works that stem from student-faculty partnerships.


As part of the symposium, Celena Dyal (Chemistry Major, ’17) showcased the outcome of an independent study project she conducted in fall 2016 in German with Uta Larkey. Her presentation was titled “Patente auf Pflanzen in Deutschland” (Patenting of Plants in Germany). For the project, she researched and studied laws, regulations, and problems that occur with the relatively new practice to patent plants. In particular, she discussed problems that stem from the fact that most patent seeds are now controlled by a few large companies such as Monsanto. The presentation was well attended and ended with a Q & A session.

Dr. Uta Larkey introduces “Hanna’s Sleeping Dogs” at Baltimore Jewish Film Festival

On April 25, Uta Larkey introduced Hannas schlafende Hunde (Hanna’s Sleeping Dogs) at the 29th Baltimore Jewish Film Festival. The festival is one of North America’s longest running celebrations of Jewish-themed movies, presenting internationally renowned films of Jewish interest, many of them Baltimore and Maryland premieres.The festival ran this year from March 19 to April 30.

Uta Larkey introduces the film “Hannas schlafende Hunde” (Hanna’s Sleeping Dogs)​ at the Baltimore Jewish Film Festival, April 25, 2017.

The movie, Hanna’s Sleeping Dogs (Austria/Germany, 2016) is based on the novel by Elisabeth Escher of the same title, and the film was directed by the Austrian director Andreas Gruber. The film centers on the story of nine-year old Johanna who is growing up in the 1960s as a good Catholic girl in a provincial Austrian town. When her blind grandmother Ruth tells her the secret about their Jewish past, the “sleeping dogs” of the family history awake. But unlike her traumatized mother, Johanna doesn’t want to hide. To show her pride in her family heritage, Johanna changes her name to Hanna. After the screening, Dr. Larkey and Gary Meliker from the Baltimore Jewish Film Festival led a discussion about the film.

Trailer: Hanna’s Sleeping Dogs

The novel “Hannas schlafende Hunde” was published in 2010 by Elisabeth Escher.

Gwendolyn Moiles ’15 receives Congress-Bundestag scholarship

And some more good news to share: Gwendolyn Moiles ’15 was awarded a Congress-Bundestag scholarship for Young professionals for the academic year 2017/2018! The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (CBYX) will allow Gwendolyn to study and intern for one year in Germany. The fellowship is funded by the German Bundestag and U.S. Department of State and annually provides 75 American and 75 German young professionals, between the ages of 18-24, the opportunity to spend one year in each other’s countries. 

Gwendolyn Moiles graduated from Goucher in 2015 with a  BA in Environmental Studies and a minor in German. While being at Goucher, she continuously studied German – Gwen started with GER 110 at Goucher – went on the Berlin ICA in 2012, and she also lived and studied for a semester in Tübingen, Germany.

Since graduation, Gwen ran a farm stand at an apple orchard, taught creative writing to aspiring young authors, was the assistant art director for a feature horror movie about sea monsters, illustrated a series of 100 innovative women in 3-D design for a woodworking studio for women and gender-nonconforming furniture makers in Baltimore, and cooked and gardened at a marine summer camp on a remote island in the Penobscot Bay in Maine. She currently works as a Communications AmeriCorps VISTA at Urban Green Lab, an environmental education nonprofit in Nashville, Tennessee.

Fulbright scholarship recipient: Conor Snow ’15

We are happy to announce that Conor Snow ’15 received a Fulbright scholarship for teaching English in Germany in 2017/18! Graduating from Goucher College in 2015 with a degree in History and minor in German, Conor Snow will be serving as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in the northern-most Bundesland of Schleswig-Holstein. The grant period will last from September 2017 until the end of June 2018, and his primary focus as a teacher will be assisting his host school with instructing pre-university level students, particularly of refugee/immigrant/minority background, in English and American studies.

Whilst a student at Goucher, Conor took numerous courses in the German department, studied abroad in Lüneburg in the fall of 2013, and was a recipient of the German Embassy Prize of the Federal Republic of Germany upon graduating in 2015. Conor also graduated summa cum laude and was inducted into Goucher’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.

He is currently employed by the Baltimore City Department of General Services as the agency’s Special Properties Associate in Historic Preservation Administration.

Reception at Goucher College for 2017 Fulbright recipients: (from left to right): Dr. Antje Krüger, Conor Snow, Dr. Uta Larkey

Student Presentations at the Holocaust Student Symposium in Baltimore

(student presenters from left to right): Madeleine Moss, Jenson Simmons, Elyse Pyle, Melissa Michon (not pictured), and Dr. Uta Larkey

On April 9 2017, four Goucher students who are currently taking Dr. Uta Larkey’s class “Literature and Film of the Holocaust” presented at the Holocaust Student Symposium. The event was sponsored and hosted by the Jewish Museum of Maryland. The symposium gives students the opportunity to publicly share their work while also inviting audience discourse and feedback.  The Goucher students explored topics such as the “Aktion T-4” – a program during which more than 70.000 people were killed in psychiatric institutions -, children in hiding during the Nazi regime, and individual stories of Holocaust survivors and non-Jewish victims. Dr. Larkey and Dr. Martin Shuster – who is currently teaching “Ethics after Auschwitz” took both of their classes to the event – a total of 30 Goucher students. All of the students attended the symposium and explored the current exhibitions in the Jewish Museum of Maryland after the presentations.

Workshop & Lecture by Simon Schwartz

The German graphic novel artist and author Simon Schwartz visited Goucher College on Sept. 12+13 2016. He gave a workshop on drawing techniques for interested students, and also lectured about his graphic novel drüben! (2009). Born in Erfurt in 1982, Schwartz writes in drüben! about his parents’ difficult exit from the GDR to West Berlin (West Germany) in 1984. He recounts their lives in the GDR, their experiences with oppressions and state-surveillance, and how they came to the decision to leave. His paternal grandparents who had been life-long


ardent supporters of the real-socialist state resented that decision and refused all contact with their son and his family afterwards. In the lecture, Simon Schwartz gave insights into the production and writing process of the graphic novel, and also talked about his conversations with his parents and grandparents. Looking back, Simon Schwartz says that a tremendous rage at his family’s inability to speak with each other was the motivation behind drüben! His insightful lecture ended with a book signing that included original drawings by the author. This lecture was sponsored by the German program and the Evelyn Myers lecture fund.


Alumnae/i Profiles: Samantha Fried (Communications and Media Studies/German Minor, ’11)

Hi there! My name is Samantha Fried. I’m a PhD student at Virginia Tech in Science, Technology & Society (STS), and a Graduate Research Fellow in the Remote Sensing IGEP, or Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program.


Samantha Fried (Class of 2011)

Broadly speaking, my remote sensing group works on issues pertaining to satellite development. It is an interdisciplinary group because those issues are interdisciplinary at heart: the engineers design and built the satellites, the foresters understand the tree chemistry on which those satellites are collecting data, the statisticians analyze that data, and the STS-ers study all of those scientists doing what they do!

Screen Shot 2015-10-18 at 8.18.30 PM

Here’s an image of Southwest Virginia, where I live, collected by Landsat-8. It looks all cool and rainbow-y because I ran something called Principal Component Analysis on it. It’s a statistic that cuts “unnecessary” or “repetitive” data. I use scare-quotes because it’s my job to question algorithms that simplify. 🙂


STS, too, is an interdisciplinary field. It encompasses the history, philosophy, sociology and anthropology of science. Scholars in my field study the ways in which knowledge is produced, what constitutes “trustworthy” knowledge, how knowledge is represented, etc. If you’d like to read more about my field (which I think is awesome and deserves your further reading attention, natürlich), I’d actually recommend checking out the STS Wikipedia page or Concepts in STS, a page created by another STS department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Actually, I first learned to appreciate interdisciplinary themes in the German department at Goucher. I majored in Communications and Media Studies (my focus in Comm was primarily critical theory of film and television) and minored in German. Antje and Uta encouraged me to to design an interdisciplinary independent study that combined these subjects. The result was a course called Women in German Heimatfilm. Heimatfilms are those pertaining to a strong sense of German patriotism. They can be straightforwardly nationalistic, but can also be critical. Many of the films I watched in this course acknowledged both of these themes (think: The Sound of Music). Through this independent study, Antje introduced me to some of my all-time favorite movies: particularly Das Schreckliche Mädchen (The Nasty Girl) and Die Siebtelbauern (The Inheritors).


I learned another important theme when I was a student in the German department that I carry with me in my research now: not all words, phrases, and ideas translate across languages. Problems that occur when we expect things to translate neatly are a feature of multiple meanings; connotation; symbolism; complexity in our rhetoric. There is always nuance behind what we say, and no language exists in a context-less vacuum. I suppose I also should specify, then, the nuanced meaning that I’m applying to the word language here. In the context of this blog post, the word language has two different connotations: language as a mode of dialectical representation, and language as a mode of disciplinary representation. Simply put, just as words and concepts do not always cleanly translate from English to German and vice versa, words, concepts, and symbols do not automatically translate from, say, History to Biology and vice versa.


So, let me walk you through my musings on this. People in the U.S. grow up with a different cultural history, different practices, and different identities from people in Germany and other countries, of course (naturally, there are dominant and subjugated narratives that are reflected within sub-dialects, but for the sake of time I won’t expound on that). As language is situated within those different contexts, words and concepts naturally evolve to represent those different cultural histories, practices, and identities, in subtle and less-subtle ways. I’ll use the word Heimat as an example. Sure, it means home. But it means something other than home as it is inflected in English. It means something like, a home that exists in your heart, that you feels very strongly about and connected to. A Heimat isn’t necessarily where one sleeps or where one grew up. It’s where one belongs.


We don’t have a word for that in English. I just explained what it means, roughly, using English words. But there is no direct translation. Why? I don’t think there is an easy answer. But I would conjecture that this very particular cultural concept doesn’t exist as strongly or pervasively in English-speaking countries. The historical events that led to this are complicated and varied, and I’m not sure it is possible to trace all of them or understand them in their entirety. But I do think it is significant and fascinating that there is no English-language counterpart for the word Heimat — and that the explanation for this instance of lost-in-translation is culturally-situated.


Believe it or not, this kind of revelation also maps onto my interdisciplinary remote sensing group. For instance — and please note that I am way oversimplifying — the idea of lens means something different to an electrical engineer than it does to a philosopher of science/technology. To an engineer, it’s the curved piece of glass that one sees through; to a philosopher, it’s the theoretical framework through which one views or approaches a problem. And when in a conversation about a lens, the electrical engineer and the philosopher might talk past each other, totally misunderstanding where the other is coming from. These disciplinary misunderstandings actually have a name in my field: STS-ers say these misunderstandings manifest in the form of incommensurability (T.S. Kuhn, 1962). We would say that the philosopher’s idea of lens is incommensurable with the engineer’s idea of lens. Some translational work has to be done so that the philosopher and the engineer ultimately understand each other. And in order to do that translational work, we must first be aware that these instances of mistranslation exist in the first place!


This was a roundabout way of showing you how the things I learned almost 10 years ago in the German department are things I think about every single day. Even if you never use your Goucher-required language-lessons again (which is doubtful), I still think there are important lessons to be learned when you grapple with a second language. After all, language is way more than a bunch of words. It’s a manifestation of culture and, in turn, I think that culture is a manifestation of language as well. Goucher’s German department has a knack for keeping the themes of culture and language close. This pedagogical approach helped me to become more thoughtful about symbolism, and this thoughtfulness translates to to the stuff I think about now. If you’re not convinced that this is important, I will add that I also met some of my favorite people in the German department. And that I learned how to use and pronounce words like merkwürdig and Krankenhaus and Wiedervereinigung and Tschüss, which I think I’ll say now. Tschüss!

*Important Note: the concept of incommensurability was introduced by T.S. Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions, a highly influential volume for STS. It’s a total beach read.


Samantha completed her MA in Communication, Culture & Technology (another interdisciplinary program!) at Georgetown University. There, she wrote a thesis about the origins of population-counting and quantification of personhood in Germany, France, and the United Kingdom. It’s entitled, Quantify This: Statistics, the State, and Governmentality.