Dr. Nadya Clayton illustrates Russia’s rich history in the arts and role as a critical cultural player in connecting the east and west. In collaboration with the Museum of Russian Art in south Minneapolis, she works to provide students with opportunities to learn about the over 200 ethnic groups and minorities in Russian culture and their unique impact on the world.
In a world filled with digital media, GNSD’s director of graduate studies Matthias Rothe highlights the theatre as a tool for critiquing society. He indulges his lifelong appreciation for the stage by researching the cultural importance of theater and shedding new light on a prominent German playwright, Bertolt Brecht.
“Once you find your passion and the piece of you that clicks, everything else falls into place.” That’s the advice of 2018 graduate Lily Obeda, whose double major in GSD with a Scandinavian & Finnish emphasis and speech-language-hearing sciences has prepared her for an exciting career in academia.
Senior Kat Hurlbutt reflects on her experiences as a transfer student immersed in the German program. She appreciates GSD’s emphasis on developing cross-cultural understanding alongside language skills, and plans to move to Germany after she graduates.
This academic year marks the end of a 39-year career at the University of Minnesota for Professor Poul Houe. In his last semester of teaching, Professor Houe discusses his early days in academia and the importance of taking ownership of one’s authenticity.
The newest addition to the University of Minnesota Department of German Scandinavian and Dutch, Prof. Benjamin Bigelow, shares his insights on the influence of Scandinavian visual arts as well as the connections between Minnesota and Scandinavian culture.
Going where few scholars have gone before, Professor James Parente has made a career of studying what others have missed. He recently began examining how premodern texts changed as they migrated through various cultures and time periods, and how that journey has shaped the way we know them today. Multilingualism and comfort with complexity are critical to this approach, making Parente the perfect candidate to develop a transnational perspective on literary history.
Director of Language Instruction Helena Ruf is described as the “linchpin” that connects everything going on in GSD. “This job gives me the opportunity to affect change and make things happen,” she says. “It’s a very exciting and rewarding experience, and I wish I could do even more.” One of the many ways she does that work is by serving as co-chair of the department’s Outreach Committee. The committee works hard to develop the best strategies for spreading the word about studying the German, Scandinavian, and Dutch languages.
Sisters Elaine and Amanda Benke share a passion for the German language and culture, leading each of them to minor in German alongside their majors in science and design. They spent last summer in Berlin enrolled in a language immersion program and their time there has changed how they connect to the world around them.
What does the life of a language instructor really look like? It involves a lot more than classes, lesson plans, and office hours! Senior Lecturer Jenneke Oosterhoff gives us a glimpse of what keeps her busy beyond the classroom.
With only a handful of American universities offering Finnish courses, senior lecturer Daniel Karvonen uses technology to collaborate with other institutions, giving students on multiple campuses more opportunities to study Finnish language and culture.
Senior Sophie Grieger began her journey with German much later than most who study a foreign language, but she hasn’t let that hold her back. Just one year after she started taking German language classes, Grieger earned a GSD scholarship to study abroad through the Junior Year in Munich program.
Visiting DAAD Professor Rudy Singer examines what makes something funny and questions cultural expectations of humor. He is currently teaching a course on the topic and enjoys training a new generation of scholars to take humor seriously.
Ginny Steinhagen is the Faculty Coordinator for the German College in Schools program, which gives high school students the opportunity to experience college-level courses. The German department helped pioneer the program at the University. Over 500 students participate from twenty-four different schools throughout Minnesota. To foster community, Steinhagen organizes two field days every year where CIS students can connect with other high school students who also learn German.
Professor Leslie Morris took a very indirect path to becoming who she is today. She was adamant about pursuing a degree in English, but was “bitten by the bug” of German during her last year of college. As a comparatist, much of her work has revolved around the aftermath of the Holocaust and setting German literature in a broader European and Anglo-American context.
Sophomore Annamarie Moline is an energetic GSD student and serves as co-president of the University of Minnesota Swedish Club. She enjoys being in the department because her classes have given her a broader world perspective. “I’m starting to realize that I hit a goldmine and am lucky to be a part of something so great,” she says.