2022 Diversity & Inclusion Grants Recipients

WCGS Diversity & Inclusion Grants on multicoloured windows with a blue sky

Here are the 2022 recipients of our Diversity and Inclusion Grants. These grants have been created to support scholars and programs in their efforts to diversify German studies in Canada.

On this page, you will find links to any resources or recordings created through these initiatives. This year we are funding three Graduate Research Grants and four Curriculum and Programming Grants.

Graduate Research Grants

Jordyn Bailey, PhD Candidate in History, University of New Brunswick 

The Intimacy Frontline: Female Sexuality and the East German Ministry of State Security, 1950-1989
While most scholarships on women and intelligence services focus on individual stories of 'exceptional' women or are titillating accounts of 'sexy' spies, this project looks at the gendered and sexualized nature of Cold War espionage. Although some women informed the Stasi (East Germany's state security service) voluntarily, others, including Black women and those categorized by the Stasi as ‘prostituting citizens’ or ‘women who had intercourse with frequently changing sexual partners,’ were strong-armed into the role. Using memoirs of former agents in addition to official Stasi records, Bailey contends that the Stasi took inventory of women whose bodies were considered threats to public health and the socialist agenda and exploited their bodies for political advantage. Her dissertation works to change the narrative of the “sexy spy” to reflect the lived experiences of women during the Stasi era.

Maike Isaac, PhD Candidate in Sociology, McGill University 

The Recruitment and Training of Refugees as Elder Care Workers in Germany
Isaac’s PhD project explores how refugees are integrated into German society via their training and subsequent employment in public elder care work, a traditionally female-dominated, low-skilled, and poorly remunerated occupational realm that, in the European context, has traditionally been held to embody Christian values. Her research captures how refugees decide to become elder care workers and how they themselves, the management and the staff of elder care homes navigate their own and each other’s expectations and needs in the recruitment and training process. Her research consists of both observing and interviewing representatives in the eldercare sector and refugees, mostly young Muslim men, who are currently training as care workers in Germany. Placed at the intersection of gender, race, and religion, Isaac’s project will expand the literature on migrant care workers: She studies elder care homes as potential sites of societal inclusion, where (assumed) racial and religious differences are renegotiated between (male) refugees, their colleagues and the elderly they care for.

Kate McGregor, PhD Candidate in History, University of New Brunswick

“There is only one way to be pretty!” Racialized Beauty Norms in the Global German Empire, 1884 - 1939
German historians have yet to fully address the connection between beauty, race, and power in the social hierarchy of female space. By underestimating beauty in this way, we fail to understand the relationship between colonial German women and the local Indigenous female populations. Through the examination of memoirs, colonial novels, advertisements, periodicals, archival documents, and beauty products from 1884 to 1939, McGregor’s dissertation addresses this gap by analyzing the perception, application, and consumption of beauty ideals and appearance in the various cultural settings of the empire. The project proposes that colonial women attempted to solidify their own identity through beauty and appearance while relegating local women to a lower standing in the racialized colonial hierarchy. Ultimately, her dissertation will lead to an understanding of the racial hierarchy of colonial systems and the impact it had on Germany.

 Curriculum and Programming Grant

Claudia Dueck and Sofia Bach, German-Canadian Studies, University of Winnipeg

What They Can Teach Us: Stories from German-Canadian Women, 1950-1993
The University of Winnipeg is creating an online trilingual (English, German, French) interactive collection of edited transcripts of oral history interviews with German women who migrated to Canada in the 1950s. The aim of this online collection is to create a space where students, researchers, and the general public engage with archived oral history accounts from women who survived the Second World War, left their homeland, and made a life for themselves in a new country—at a time when, as one of the interviewees stated, “being a woman was one of the main problems.” The project is being led by Claudia Dueck and Sofia Bach, in collaboration with the Chair in German-Canadian Studies, Prof. Alexander Freund, and German Studies Prof. Kristin Lovrien-Meuwese. The Waterloo Centre for German Studies Diversity and Inclusion grant will be used to cover software, website, and illustration costs as well as to pay for an undergraduate research assistant.

To see their completed project, click here.

Markus Hallensleben, Department of Central, Eastern, and Northern European Studies, University of British Columbia

Decolonizing and Indigenizing German, European and Migration Studies
Prof. Markus Hallensleben is leading a team developing workshops at the University of British Columbia that will develop methods and provide opportunities for the integration of Indigenous storytelling practices in courses of the Department of Central, Eastern, and Northern European Studies. Supported as well by a SSHRC Connection grant, the workshops will be guided by the question as to how settler scholars can gain and share knowledge in ways that are more responsible and reciprocal while building sustainable relations with the people and the land by integrating Indigenous research and teaching methods. The Waterloo Centre for German Studies Diversity and Inclusion grant will be used to facilitate the appearance and contributions of Indigenous scholars and storytellers at the workshops.

Check out these websites to learn more about Prof. Hallensleben's project:

JA Morrow, Wirth Centre for Austrian and European Studies, University of Alberta

The Uses of Convivial Tools for Equitable Urban Planning: Stadt Wien and the Practicalities of Gender Mainstreaming
This project documents how Stadt Wien (Vienna) uses design to make urban living equitable for girls and women. Since the 1990s, the city has required all policies, legislation, and resource allocation to provide those who identify as female with "fair shares in the city." And the strategy has been successful at all levels of city government, but urban planning furnished the greatest gains. Dr. JA Morrow, a researcher with the University of Alberta's Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies, will develop a series of workshops and a policy manual that introduces Wien's methods to Canadian planners and university students. The Waterloo Centre for German Studies Diversity and Inclusion grant will be used to hire a graduate student to organize the workshops and develop the manual.

Matt Pollard, Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies, University of Victoria

Developing Inclusive Teaching Materials and Assessment Tools for First-Year German
Dr. Matt Pollard is an Associate Teaching Professor of German at the University of Victoria. It has become clear to Dr. Pollard that more needs to be done to integrate diversity and inclusion practices into the language curriculum. His project will see the University of Victoria German program adopt an OER (open educational resource) elementary German textbook, Grenzenlos Deutsch, and create supplemental learning materials for the textbook. The textbook aims at presenting a representative breadth of perspectives that enable learners to see themselves in these representations and speak about their own lives. To further the textbook’s commitment to inclusion and diversity, Prof. Pollard will develop additional materials such as in-class exercises, activities emphasizing inclusive gender pronouns, and a module addressing contemporary experiences of inclusion or marginalization. The Waterloo Centre for German Studies Diversity and Inclusion grant will be used to hire a graduate student who will support Prof. Pollard in this work.

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