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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

German Language Tables

Forbes College hosted by Allison Murawski on Tuesdays, 6:30pm – 7:30pm

Wilson College hosted by Prof. Joel Lande on Tuesdays, 6:00pm – 7:00pm

Whitman College hosted by Sean Toland on Mondays, 6:00pm – 7:00pm

Rockefeller College hosted by the Princeton German Association on Wednesdays, 6:00pm – 7:00pm. Graduate students are welcome!

(Sean’s table will always be outside the card-checker area, so graduate students and upperclassmen without meal plans can attend)

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 for information about the summer 2019 program.

‘60 Minutes’ features German major Mason Cox

The CBS program “60 Minutes” featured Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber and several students, focusing on how Princeton and other colleges and universities are increasing college access and success for first-generation and low-income college students.

GER314: Theatre Complicité / Simon McBurney’s “The Encounter” was a GREAT Success!

Session was on Wednesday May 9th 7-10pm in East Pyne 205

“The Encounter” is a play by international theatre company Complicite and its artistic director Simon McBurney, inspired by the novel Amazon Beaming by Petru Popescu. It was first performed at the Edinburgh International Festival on 8 August 2015, and received its London premiere at the Barbican in February 2016 before embarking on a world tour. The play is performed by a single actor working with sound technicians to create a range of voices and aural effects conveyed to the audience via headphones. It tells the story of National Geographic photographer Loren McIntyre, who, in 1969, found himself lost among the people of the remote Javari Valley in Brazil. It was an encounter that was to change his life, as he began to explore, through the indigenous culture in which he was immersed, the limits of human consciousness. The play traces McIntyre’s journey and experiences through a constantly shifting sound world created live on stage in front of the audience. A ‘Note on the Text’ in the published script explains that ‘During the introduction the audience are asked to put on a set of headphones, which they then wear for the duration of the performance. Everything they hear is through these headphones. The actor uses a range of microphones that can be modified to create the voice of Loren McIntyre and other characters. The actor also creates a variety of live foley sound effects onstage, and uses loop pedals to create exterior soundscapes and the interior worlds of the characters. The performer also plays some sound and audio recordings live through their mobile phone, iPod, and various speakers. All sounds created or played onstage are picked up and relayed to the audience’s headphones through a variety of onstage microphones, one of which is binaural. Other sound is played and mixed live by two operators who in part improvise in reaction to the performer onstage.’ The Complicite production was directed and performed by Simon McBurney, co-directed by Kirsty Housley and designed by Michael Levine, with sound design by Gareth Fry with Pete Malkin.

The German Department provided a unique experience with over a dozen stereo headsets, so that listeners would be immersed in the “aural” separations and effects.

Listeners watching “The Encounter”

The setup for GER314

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 (

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

“A Baroque Tale of Male Erasure” – Sonja Andersen, Princeton Research Day Ten-Minute Talk

Date: Thursday May 10, 2018
Time: 10:30am – 5:00pm
Location: Frist Campus Center

“A Baroque Tale of Male Erasure”
Sonja Andersen, Princeton Research Day Ten-Minute Talk

How did 17th-century women in Europe write about their experiences in a war-torn and male-dominant environment? Women who dared to go against the grain of rigid expectations by publishing religiously controversial material or overstepping their prescribed education levels could expect to be publicly shamed and disowned by their former allies. An even more ubiquitous form of subjugation was that of male erasure, or the appropriation and alteration of women’s intellectual work by men. This talk looks at examples of male erasure that occurred in the career of the Austrian-German poet Catharina Regina von Greiffenberg (1633–94). Despite the fact that male supervisors strove to curb women’s political and creative expression, how did women like Greiffenberg succeed in publishing highly original poetry and political treatises? Indeed, can we understand Greiffenberg’s poetry as an outlet to process the trauma of sexual coercion she experienced throughout her life, starting in her youth? This presentation makes a feminist intervention into the existing scholarly conversation, and ventures to see if Greiffenberg’s poetry and political writings might illuminate a broader narrative, both of her time and ours.
Princeton Research Day Website

A Familiar Face Curates Major Exhibition – on Faces

Following her retirement as the Director of the Zentrum for Literatur- und Kulturforschung [Research Center of Literature and Culture (ZfL)] in Berlin, Prof. Sigrid Weigel, the much-beloved permanent visiting professor in the German Department from 2005-2016, has remained just as incredibly active professionally as she always was. Besides co-editing two major volumes in 2017 on Testimony and Empathy respectively (details below), Prof. Weigel most recently curated a major exhibition “Das Gesicht: Eine Spurensuche” [The Face: A Search for Clues] which was on view from August 19th 2017 to February 25th, 2018 at the renowned Deutsche Hygiene-Museum in Dresden. Weigel also edited the accompanying catalogue Das Gesicht: Bilder, Medien, Formate [The Face: Images, Media, Formats], published in August 2017 by the Wallstein Verlag, which features essays by no less than twenty-seven different authors on specific images, media and formats that engage the many fascinating issues – emotional, technological, cultural, and artistic – raised by faces.
By means of a thoughtful montage of an extraordinary range of work including videos, photographs, historical documents, collages, surveillance feeds, painted portraits, anthropometric mug shots, and advertising materials (for a sample click here), this important exhibition raises issues that are at once centuries old and still deeply contemporary – questions that were also the focus of an undergraduate seminar (GER314 “Reading Faces – Methods of Deciphering in Literature, Sciences and Art) that Prof. Weigel taught at Princeton in the Spring semester of 2014. Not surprisingly, the show was widely reviewed and very well received, as evidenced by the selection of print, radio and television reports that can be explored here. Coming full circle, there is even a very thoughtful review written by Mladen Gladić, the editor for “Kultur und Alltag” at the Berlin paper Der Freitag. who had taken one of Weigel’s seminars during his years as a graduate student in Princeton’s German Department.

In the same year as the “Faces” exhibition, Prof. Weigel also published no less than two further co-edited volumes. The first, with Sybille Krämer, is a collection entitled Testimony/Bearing Witness Epistemology, Ethics, History and Culture (Rowman & Littlefield International, 2017) that “establishes a dialogue between the different approaches to testimony in epistemology, historiography, law, art, media studies and psychiatry. With examples including the Holocaust, the Khmer Rouge and the Armenian genocide the volume discusses the chances and limits of communicating epistemological and ethical, philosophical and cultural-historical, past and present perspectives on the phenomenon and concept of bearing witness.” The second, co-edited with Vanessa Lux, is entitled Empathy: Epistemic Problems and Cultural-Historical Perspectives of a Cross-Disciplinary Concept and was published by Palgrave/Macmillan in 2017. An outgrowth of an undergraduate seminar Weigel taught at Princeton in Spring 2013 (GER306 – Compassion, Pity, Empathy), this timely volume on the complex archaeology of empathy investigates (according to the publisher’s blurb) “controversies, epistemic problems and unanswered questions encapsulated within its cross-disciplinary history. The authors ask how a neutral innate capacity to directly understand the actions and feelings of others becomes charged with emotion and moral values associated with altruism or caregiving. They explore how the discovery of the mirror neuron system and its interpretation as the neurobiological basis of empathy has stimulated such an enormous body of research and how in a number of these studies, the moral values and social attitudes underlying empathy in human perception and action are conceptualized as universal traits. It is argued that in the humanities the historical, cultural and scientific genealogies of empathy and its forerunners, such as Einfühlung, have been shown to depend on historical preconditions, cultural procedures, and symbolic systems of production. The multiple semantics of empathy and related concepts are discussed in the context of their cultural and historical foundations, raising questions about these cross-disciplinary constellations.”

An evening of Kammermusik, March 2, 2018

Students, faculty and friends of the German Department in collaboration with the Princeton Chamber Music Society presented an evening of chamber music and poetry by German composers and authors. The evening included selections from Bach, Brahms, Schubert, Shumann and Strauss. In spite of the snow, wind and frosty weather outside, the event was well-attended and enjoyed by all. We look forward to continuing this collaboration in another event soon.