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PD Dr. Marcel Lepper visits Princeton’s German Department

PD Dr. Marcel Lepper visits Princeton’s German Department as Short Term Academic Guest during the fall semester. PD Dr. Lepper is Director of Research at the German Literature Archive in Marbach. Since the founding of the American Friends of Marbach by Emeritus Professor Dr. Walter Hinderer and Professor Dr. Ulrich Raulff in 2008, the Princeton German Department has enjoyed a special relationship with the German Literature Archive in Marbach.

Dr Marcel Lepper

Dr Marcel Lepper

Andrew Nelson named one of 2016 Moses Taylor Pyne Prize winners

Andrew Nelson

Andrew Nelson

Andrew Nelson is named one of two that won the 2016 Moses Taylor Pyne Prize.
The Pyne Honor Prize, established in 1921, is awarded to the senior who has most clearly manifested excellent scholarship, strength of character and effective leadership. Previous recipients include the late Princeton President Emeritus Robert F. Goheen, former U.S. Sen. Paul Sarbanes and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Andrew Nelson is majoring in German and pursuing certificates in European cultural studies, values and public life, and French language and culture. His academic honors include the Arthur Liman Fellowship in Public Interest Law, the Guggenheim Internship in Criminal Justice, Phi Beta Kappa, membership in the Behrman Undergraduate Society of Fellows, and the Department of German’s book prize.

For his senior thesis, Andrew Nelson is writing about the works of Robert Walser, an early 20th-century Swiss author he first encountered in a seminar led by Inka Mülder-Bach, a visiting professor of German.

“Andrew is admirably smart; Andrew asks excellent critical questions in a most polite manner; Andrew is a most philologically astute reader,” said his thesis adviser, Barbara Nagel, an assistant professor of German. “But what is really unique about Andrew is that in his case knowledge is integrated in ways of living. To put it differently, Andrew seems to be deeply interested in the variety of human experience and how it expresses itself — in literature and philosophy in particular, but also beyond the confines of the academy. ”

Link to Princeton article here.
Link to Daily Princetonian article here.

Topics in Medieval Literature: The Song of the Nibelungs and the German National Myth


GER 321G—Summer 2016
Topics in Medieval Literature: The Song of the Nibelungs and the German National Myth
Prof. Sara S. Poor

When: May 31st, 2016 – June 24, 2016
Where: Munich, Germany

Seminar on quintessential German epic, the Nibelungenlied (1200). We will read the modern German translation while visiting sites in and around Munich related to historical background and geography of story. Students examine myth of German hero as epitomized in Siegfried and Hagen (later adopted in nationalist discourses) as well as vilification of heroines Brunhild and Kriemhild. Field trips address medieval notions of learning (manuscripts), space (castle, monastery), and art (objects, paintings, and sculptures in local museums). At conclusion of the course, students consider the transformation of tale in modern re-workings (Wagner, Lang).

For more information, please email
GER 321G

Bad New Days – Oct 20th

Who: Hal Foster in Conversation with Devin Fore
What: Bad New Days: Art, Criticism, Emergency
When: Tuesday, October 20th, 2015 at 6PM
Where: Labyrinth Books, 122 Nassau Street, Princeton NJ

One of the world’s leading art theorists dissects a quarter century of artistic practice – please join us for a presentation and discussion with author Hal Foster and fellow critic and scholar, Devin Fore.

Hal Foster is Professor of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University. A co-editor of October magazine and books, he is the editor of The Anti-Aesthetic, and the author of many influential books, including Design and Crime, Recodings, The Return of the Real, Compulsive Beauty, The First Pop Age, and The Art-Architecture Complex. Devin Fore is Associate Professor of German at Princeton. He, too, is an editor at October magazine. Fore is the author of Realism After Modernism: The Rehumanization of Art and Literature. His new book, All the Graphs: Soviet Factography and the Emergence of Avant-Garde Documentary, is forthcoming from Chicago University Press.


Three German Concentrators elected to Phi Beta Kappa

Congratulations to the following for being elected to Phi Beta Kappa:

Philip Daniel Mooney
Cody Lee O’Neil
Margot Byrd Pinkerton

Professor Emeritus Walter Hinderer to Receive Golden Goethe Medal


Walter Hinderer will receive the Golden Goethe Medal, which has been given since 1910 as the highest honor of the Goethe-Gesellschaft, at a public ceremony on May 28th at the National Theater in Weimar. Previous recipients of the Golden Goethe Medal include Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Lew Kopelew, and Victor Lange, who taught at Princeton from 1957 to 1977. Hinderer joined the faculty of the German Department at Princeton in 1978. He is one of the premier scholars of the Goethezeit. One of his areas of expertise is the so-called Weimarer Musenhof, founded by Anna Amalia and frequented by figures such as Goethe, Wieland, Herder, and Schiller.

Besides teaching at Princeton, Hinderer was a fellow at the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin, Madison (1976-1977), the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin (also Institute for Advanced Study, Berlin) (1985-1986), and the Rosenzweig Research Center for German-Jewish Literature and Cultural History at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (1995).

Hinderer has been the recipient of a number of other highly distinguished awards, including the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (1995), the Alexander von Humboldt Prize (1998) and the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art (2006).

84. Hauptversammlung der Goethe-Gesellschaft – Programm

German major Cody O’Neil awarded ReachOut Fellowship

Cody O’Neil, along with Princeton University senior Bina Peltz, have been awarded 2015 fellowships from ReachOut 56-81-06, an alumni-funded effort that supports yearlong public service projects after graduation. Each student will receive a stipend of $30,000.

O’Neil, whose home is in British Columbia, is a German major who is focusing on philosophy and intellectual history. He is also pursuing a certificate in planets and life. He has received the 1956 ReachOut International Fellowship, and will be working with the National Research Centre for Truth and Reconciliation in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to explore the effectiveness of reconciliation initiatives of Aboriginal Canadians.

Further reading on the award article here: Two seniors awarded ReachOut fellowships…

Prof. Inka Mülder-Bach (LMU-Munich) returns to Princeton for Spring Semester 2015

Professor Inka Mülder-Bach, one of three Permanent Visiting Professors on the German Department faculty, will be in residence in Princeton for the Spring semester 2015 during which she will teach a graduate seminar (GER 515/COM512) entitled “Studies in 19th-Century Literature and Culture: The Art of the Plot” and an undergraduate class (GER 306) on “Labyrinths of Literature.”

Prof. Mülder-Bach’s graduate seminar will take place on Wednesday afternoons from 1:30-4:20pm and will be conducted in both English and German. She describes the class — which will consider works such as Euripides’ Iphigenia in Tauris, Shakespeare’s Othello, Schiller’s Die Verschwörung des Fiesco zu Genua and Wallenstein, Goethe’s Iphigenie, and Büchner’s Dantons Tod — as follows:

Though plotters and intriguers usually are up to no good, their scheming is closely related to the art of drama and narrative. Storytellers and dramatists create entanglements, set snares and tie knots which then somehow have to be disentangled and untied. The Aristotelian notion of plot (mythos) as “construction of events” thus encompasses the two complementary operations of desis and lysis, “complication” and “denouement.” The seminar will examine plot structures, figures of the intriguer, metaphors of intriguing and their transformation in tragedies and historical dramas from Greek antiquity to German literature of the early 19th century.

Regarding the undergraduate class, which will be taught on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 1:30-2:50pm, Prof. Mülder-Bach writes:

In literature, art, dance and architecture the labyrinth delineates a path that has been interpreted in various ways, as a figuration of the polarity of chaos and order, for example, or as a trajectory of initiation symbolizing the experience of separation, disorientation and rebirth. On the basis of selected pictorial material as well as selected readings of the myths of Theseus and Dedalus, the seminar will focus on the relation between the structure of the maze and narrative structures in 20th century German literature.

The reading list for this seminar, which will be taught in English, includes Ovid’s Metamorphoses (selections), Joyce’s Ulysses ((selections; 1922) Kafka’s Der Bau (1923/24), Robert Walser’s Der Räuber (1925), Walter Benjamin’s Berliner Kindheit um 1900 (1932ff) and Thomas Bernhard’s Das Kalkwerk (1970).

Prof. Mülder-Bach received her PhD from the University of Tübingen after academic training at Tübingen, Oslo, and Berkeley. Before joining the Institute of German Philology at Ludwig Maximilian Universität (LMU) in Munich in 1998, she held positions at the Freie Universität and the Zentrum für Literaturforschung in Berlin. Mülder-Bach has been a visiting professor at Columbia University (New York), the IFK (International Research Center for Cultural Studies, Vienna), the Heinrich-Heine-Universität (Düsseldorf), and New York University. Her research focuses on German literature from the 18th to the 20th century in a comparative perspective, traditions of aesthetics and poetics, theories of narration, scenes of origins and constructions of the beginning of modernity, and Robert Musil. She is editor of the works of Siegfried Kracauer and co-editor of POETICA.

Prof. Mülder-Bach is a Vertrauensdozentin der Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes. In 2008-09 and 2010-11 she held an Excellence-in-Research professorship at the LMU Munich, and from 2009-2010, served as Vice-President of the LMU. In 2013 she was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Devin Fore awarded the MLA’s Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Studies in Germanic Languages and Literatures


Professor Fore received the prize, which is awarded biennially for outstanding scholarly work in the field of Germanic Studies, for his book Realism after Modernism: The Rehumanization of Art and Literature, published in 2012 with MIT Press. The committee wrote, “Devin Fore’s Realism after Modernism is an innovative study of German artists and writers of the interwar period in the twentieth century. Highly focused yet displaying great intellectual range, it draws on anthropological and economic thought, criticism of literature and art, and comparisons with other cultures, especially Russian, to advance the argument that realism after modernism is not the abandonment of avant-garde practices in favor of a premodern groundedness in reality but rather the emergence of a new ‘prosthetic man’ dependent on technology and on media. Fore’s book thus intervenes decisively in debates about realism and modernism. Its vision of an ‘anthropomorphism found within the technical matrix of the artwork itself’ opens important new avenues in German studies and beyond.”

Updated Editions of Departmental Publications Now Available

The updated versions of three key departmental publications — the Undergraduate Handbook, the Graduate Handbook, and the Guide to Independent Work (for Junior Papers and Senior Theses)– are now available as downloadable PDFs on the departmental website. The handbooks, a compendium of departmental information and FAQs, have been fully revised for the 2014-2015 academic year. Suggestions or corrections for future editions are most welcome and can be sent to the Departmental Manager Pat Heslin.