The Waterloo Centre for German Studies publishes an annual report of its activities. Here is the report for 2020-2021; reports for previous years follow it.

Annual Report 2020-2021

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Waterloo Centre for German Studies remains active in the fields of scholarly inquiry and student support.

The University of Waterloo campus has been more or less closed since March, 2020, but the work of WCGS has continued. One positive outcome of the pivot to online working has been the increase in webinars and presentations available to anyone with a computer or smartphone. Through our WCGS social media accounts, website, and newsletter, we’ve been promoting lectures and events put on by universities and institutes around the world, and we’ve noticed a marked increase in our communications traffic. With the help of Alice Kuzniar from the University of Waterloo, we mounted our own online series of “works in progress” featuring Ontario colleagues Ann Marie Rasmussen, Melanie Jackson, Paola Mayer, Ruediger Mueller, Myrto Provida, and James Skidmore. Since the COVID situation remains unsettled in Ontario, we expect to organize more online events for the foreseeable future.


One of our most important contributions to research dissemination is our annual book prize, now in its third year. The winner for books published in 2019 was Matthew H. Birkhold for his wonderful Characters before Copyright: The Rise and Regulation of Fan Fiction in Eighteenth-Century Germany, an engrossing study of the impact of fan fiction on the development of copyright. We hope to have Matthew give an online presentation about his work in Fall 2021.

For books published in 2019, we had 26 nominations and 7 books were shortlisted.


In response to the increased concern about issues of diversity and inclusion in our institutions, WCGS launched its Diversity and Inclusion Grants program to assist colleagues across the country as they work to make German studies more inclusive and reflective of our student populations. Five grants were awarded to support projects at universities in British Columbia, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Project descriptions can be found on the WCGS website, and during the year we’ll be providing updates as the projects come to fruition.


Pie chart outlining expensesExpenditures for the WCGS broke down as follows:

  • Total expenditures: $41,300
  • 66% administration (salaries, publicity, and office expenses)
  • 15% internships
  • 12% scholarships
  • 7% WCGS Book Prize


Even though study abroad programs have been on hiatus, our Stork Awards in German Studies continue to support students in their acquisition of German. The Canadian Summer School in Germany, directed byJohn Plews at St. Mary’s University, usually takes students to Kassel for two months every summer. This year they’ve mounted an innovative virtual immersion program, and WCGS was very happy to be able to cover the $500 program fee for 10 of the students.

We are grateful to everyone who supports and takes an interest in the activities of the Waterloo Centre for German Studies.

Stay safe and stay in touch!

James M. Skidmore

A PDF version of the WCGS Annual Report 2020-2021 is available here.