2014-2015 has been another successful year at the Waterloo Centre for German Studies. Here's a rundown on some of the year's highlights.
- A number of activities commemorated the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. WCGS Director Mat Schulze gave a lecture about the momentous events of October/November 1989. The Centre also hosted an exhibition on Dictatorship and Democracy that was developed by the Institute of Contemporary History in Munich. In May, 2015 Marc Bauder, a Berlin filmmaker, spoke at the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies conference on his installation Lichtgrenze.
- The Centre supported a couple of interesting performing arts projects. Coffee, My Beloved! was a collage of scenes produced and performed by students in an undergraduate course entitled Performance German. Führerbunker was a new work of opera by noted Canadian composer Andrew Ager that received its premiere in Kitchener.
- The Centre was also able to host the visits of some creative artists working in German and/or Germany. Daniela Wolff (pictured at right) is a local resident who writes German crime novels set in Hannover. Maria Speth is a Berlin-based filmmaker known for her provocative feature films and documentaries featuring the lives of women and youth in modern-day urban Germany.
- Again this year some prominent scholars presented research talks at the Centre. The annual Grimm Lecture, the Centre's flagship lecture, featured Dennis Mahoney from the University of Vermont speaking on landscapes in the German Romantic tradition. Ann Marie Rasmussen, the new holder of the Diefenbaker Memorial Chair in German Literary Studies, gave her inaugural lecture on medieval misogyny. Bryan Smith from Arizona State University lectured on what learners do when they learn a language.
Oral history project
Work continued on the Oral History Project, an initiative funded partially by local German-Canadians. Over 100 interviews with German-Canadians have been recorded and transcribed, and an editorial team comprising Centre members Mat Schulze, Grit Liebscher, and Sebastian Siebel-Achenbach are working on a collection of articles that will summarize the many themes emerging from this rich collection of oral history.
Thanks to the generous donations of local citizens, the Waterloo Centre for German Studies is able to support students in their pursuit of knowledge about all things German. Go to our scholarships page to learn more about these funds and the students they support.
- The Centre's finances remain in excellent shape. Revenue from the endowment continues to exceed Centre expenses. The WCGS is therefore able to support a number of projects and research initiatives.
- Centre administrative assistant Lori Straus has been making a variety of improvements to the Centre's online presence. The website has been adapted to the University of Waterloo's new content management system, and this has allowed for a number of improvements in the presentation of the Centre's activities. Lori is also establishing the Centre's presence on Facebook and Twitter; more information about these will be available in fall 2015.
- The university has established a new policy on Research Centres and Institutes. The Centre's Executive Committee taken steps to enact a charter for the Centre that will incorporate the procedures required by the policy into the Centre's governance structures.
- Centre Director Mat Schulze was on sabbatical in January to June 2015. Centre member James Skidmore filled in for him while he was away.