Barbara Schmenk

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Applied linguistics (language education, gender studies)


  • Dr. phil (Bochum)
  • Staatsexamen II (Essen)
  • MA (Bochum)
  • Staatsexamen I (Bochum)


A native of the Ruhrgebiet, my early childhood dream of becoming a striker with the VfL Bochum turned out to be overly ambitious, so I eventually studied language and literature and obtained a PhD in Applied Linguistics from the Ruhr-Universität. Before I came to the University of Waterloo in 2004, I had taught at high schools in Germany, at Clemson University in South Carolina, at Trinity College Dublin, and at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum. My research interests lie in the area of language education and include topics such as language and gender, language and culture, autonomy, drama pedagogy, multilingualism, the educational value of inflatable toys in the language classroom, teacher cognition, etc.
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Teaching interests

Applied linguistics, German language

Recent courses:

  • GER 420/615/715: Topics in Language Education: Grammatikunterricht
  • APPLS 301: Language and Culture
  • CI 100: Cultural Identities Today

  • GER 101, 102, 201

  • GER 603/RUSS 603: Language Didactics

  • GER 614: Power/Language

  • GER 614: Gender and Language

  • GER 615: Philosophies of Language Education

  • GER 615/715: Michel Foucault's Impact on Applied Linguistics

  • GER 615/715: Decolonization and Language Education

  • ENGL 720/GER 615/715: The 'Native Speaker' in Language Education

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Research interests

Applied linguistics (foreign language education, gender studies, and cultural theory)

Selected research:

  • Das Native-Speaker-Konstrukt im Fokus. Kritik und Kontroversen. Zeitschrift für Fremdsprachenforschung, 33(2), 2022, 163-187.
  • Governmentality and the autonomous subject: Persistent contradictions in philosophies of (language) education. In J. Lossau, D. Schmidt-Brücken & I. Warnke (Eds.), Spaces of Dissension. Contradiction Studies (pp. 169-189). Wiesbaden: Springer, 2019.
  • Sloganizations in Language Education Discourse. Conceptual thinking in the age of academic marketing (ed., with Stephan Breidbach & Lutz Küster).Bristol: Multilingual Matters, 2019.
  • Performative Zugänge in der Sprach-, Literatur- und Kulturdidaktik. Tübingen, Germany: Narr, 2019 (ed., with Susanne Even & Dragan Miladinović).


Professor Schmenk's publications can be found on her page: