Tag Archives: Featured

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.

Download PDF

Prof. Geoff Winthrop-Young (University BC, Vancouver)

“Why a Student is a Willing Termite rather than an Irish Elk: Karl Escherich and the (De)Nazification of Universities and Social Insects”

East Pyne 205
April 4th, 2018,

This is a lecture about a disturbing lecture. In November 1933, Germany’s leading entomologist and pesticide pioneer is appointed President of the University of Munich. In his inaugural address he mobilizes his expertise to discuss possible similarities between the social insect colonies and the new Nazi regime, and how this will impact the role of the university and the relationship between students and instructors.

Geoff Winthrop-Young is Professor of German at the Department of Central, Eastern and Northern European Studies at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver). His main research areas are German theories of media, materialities of communication and/or memory and theories of cultural evolution.

Sophomore Open House

Date: March 29, 2018
Time: 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Place: East Pyne 207

 Hanna Schygulla in the lead role in R.W. Fassbinder’s 1974 adaptation of Fontane’s “Effie Briest” 

Thinking about majoring in German but unsure what exactly this might entail? Come to the Sophomore Open House to meet fellow undergraduates who are majoring in German as well as faculty members who can give you first hand insights into departmental life, classes, advising, summer support, etc. The Director of Undergraduate Studies Prof. Thomas Y. Levin will be on hand to answer any technical questions you may have about the different major tracks (where you have the choice to focus on literature, or media and aesthetics, or philosophy and intellectual history, or German Culture and Politics), about our study-abroad program in Berlin, about the much-beloved Summer Program in Munich, and our popular Summer Work Program. Come learn about the amazing range of interesting things that our majors go on to do after graduation —from Law School and Medical School to careers in Finance, from Graduate School and Teach for America to interesting positions in museums and new media companies like BuzzFeed. You’ll meet lots of interesting people, enjoy some tasty snacks, and who knows – you might just figure out what to major in! The students and faculty of the German Department look forward to meeting and speaking with you!

Refreshments will be served.

Image: Hanna Schygulla in the lead role in R.W. Fassbinder’s 1974 adaptation of Fontane’s “Effie Briest”

SWP Workshop Series

Cultural Vistas (Work Permit Waivers, Visas)
Date: March 29th
Time: 7:00PM
Location: East Pyne 011


Open to SWP Applicants for Summer 2018: What exactly is a “Work Permit Waiver”?
Who needs a visa to enter Germany?
What documents are required for SWP internships?
Join Cultural Vistas Senior Program Director Katerina Holubova for an informational session on the work authorization process and more.
RSVP by 3/16!


*Please note: you do not need to have a confirmed SWP internship for Summer 2018 to attend!

Prof. Dr. Insa Härtel (International Psychoanalytic-University Berlin)

“Sexuality as failure: Psychoanalytic concepts, cultural perspectives”

Date: March 13, 2018
Time: 4:30pm
Location: 106 McCormick

This lecture will examine the ways in which the so-called scandal of the sexual (Oberlehner 2005) is negotiated today. In Western societies a removal of the old sexual moral is predicated: there is talk, for example, of negotiating morals accompanied by the “demand for an agreed-upon, ratified sexual behavior” (Schmidt 1998). While there is of course much to be said for communicative consent, something nevertheless seems to escape consideration here. From a psychoanalytic perspective one might ask: what about sexuality in its potential dis-integrating quality? Shown in view of selected cultural productions, this lecture will confront the question as to what is missing in today’s cultural concepts of sexuality.

Organized by the Program in Contemporary European Politics and Society and co-sponsored by the Program in European Cultural Studies and the Department of German.