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GSSviews: commentary and reviews from the department

Our blog won't tell you what we ate for breakfast, it won't give voice to outrageous rants, it won't contain any humblebrags. It will just keep you informed about our department, provide reviews of lectures, and give you something to read that might be of interest.

The first cotutelle PhD defence for GSS

Today our dual PhD supervision arrangement with the University of Mannheim in Germany, known as a cotutelle arrangement, resulted in its first successful defence.

The German Language in the Colonial Context

From 1885 until 1919, the German empire possessed several colonies in Africa and the Pacific. Doris Stolberg, a researcher at the Institute of German Language in Mannheim and currently working at the University of Waterloo, studies language products that emerged from the colonial influences in the Pacific. On Thursday, April 20, 2017 Stolberg presented her research to the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies.

Did Martin Luther Invent High German

500 years ago, Martin Luther published his 95 theses on indulgences that eventually became a crucial starting point for the Protestant Reformation. With this anniversary in mind, the Waterloo Centre for German Studies (WCGS)  is hosting a series of talks about Luther this year. On Wednesday, April 5, 2017 WCGS director Mathias Schulze gave a public lecture at the Kitchener Public Library, dealing with Luther from a linguistic perspective: Did the famous reformer really invent High German as many people tend to say?

Narrated Inscriptions in Medieval Literature - Materiality as a Quality of Communication

Texts don’t only exist on paper and smartphones: Script can also be found on other artefacts like ancient vases or as graffiti on walls. Dr. Michael Ott from the University of Heidelberg (Germany) and his colleagues study the representation of such texts in literary fiction. Currently a guest of the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies at the University of Waterloo, Ott presented his research to the department and the program in Medieval Studies on Friday, March 31, 2017.

March Break Open House: Cultural Identities and Language

Guten Tag, danke, bitte – everyone who attended the first sample lecture at this year's March Break Open House event now knows what these basic German words mean. Along with Prof. David Rozotto from Spanish and Latin American Studies, Prof. Emma Betz of Gerrmanic and Slavic Studies outlined why it is a good idea to learn other languages. University of Waterloo definitely offers many opportunities: all in all, 16 languages, including sign language, can be studied at the institution. Besides German language, Germanic and Slavic Studies also offers courses in Russian, Dutch and Croatian.

Career Booster

“German – what can we do with that?” This question by Paul Malone probably comes up a lot for many parents of German studies students. Malone, Associate Professor in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies at the University of Waterloo, used the question to open a panel discussion held on campus with several current and former students of the German language – and the discussion proved that there are many reasons to study German, or at least a second language in general.

The Holocaust as History and Warning

On Monday, February 6, 2017, the 8th annual Grimm Lecture was given by Timothy Snyder, Housum Professor of History at Yale University and a member of the Committee on Conscience of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Author of five award-winning works of history, Snyder based his talk on his current book, Black Earth. The Theatre of Arts was full for this event, part of the University of Waterloo's 60th anniversary celebrations, and the Consul General of Federal Republic of Germany in Toronto, Peter Fahrenholtz, was in attendance.

Reading: Almost Everything Very Fast

On Tuesday, November 1, 2016, the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies and the Waterloo Centre for German Studies hosted a reading by Christopher Kloeble at the Kitchener Public Library. Christopher, a guest of the Goethe Institute, read selections from his novel Almost Everything Very Fast, the recently released English translation of his 2012 novel Meistens alles sehr schnell,

Democracy in Disappearing Ink: The Politics of Exclusion in Germany before Hitler

On Tuesday, October 25, the 7th annual Jacob-and-Wilhelm-Grimm Lecture welcomed James Retallack as guest speaker. The Grimm Lecture 2016 had the topic Democracy in Disappearing Ink: The Politics of Exclusion in Germany before Hitler.

The Linguistics of Psychotherapy

While doctors utilize the healing powers of medicines, psychotherapists employ the healing power of words, making them a prime target for conversational analysis. In his October 21st lecture The Linguistics of Psychotherapy, Dr. Thomas Spranz-Fogasy outlined how Linguistics help to understand therapist-patient interactions. In many ways, he argued, these interactions are much like normal conversations but with a few key differences: the therapist has a professional stock of knowledge, contributes few of their own experiences, and, of course, sends a bill at the end.