Award for staff publication: “Constructing a German Diaspora”

Aston Reader in German Dr Stefan Manz’s book on German emigration has been named a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title 2015. The book has been reviewed in a number of highly regarded academic journals as being ‘a very significant contribution to the field of breathtaking scope’, ‘essential’, ‘a model of historical scholarship’, ‘pioneering’, ‘innovative’, ‘unique’, ‘fascinating’, and ‘important.

From the publisher:

“This book takes on a global perspective to unravel the complex relationship between Imperial Germany and its diaspora. Around 1900, German-speakers living abroad were tied into global power-political aspirations. They were represented as outposts of a “Greater German Empire” whose ethnic links had to be preserved for their own and the fatherland’s benefits. Did these ideas fall on fertile ground abroad? In the light of extreme social, political, and religious heterogeneity, diaspora construction did not redeem the all-encompassing fantasies of its engineers. But it certainly was at work, as nationalism “went global” in many German ethnic communities. Three thematic areas are taken as examples to illustrate the emergence of globally operating organizations and communication flows: Politics and the navy issue, Protestantism, and German schools abroad as “bulwarks of language preservation.” The public negotiation of these issues is explored for localities as diverse as Shanghai, Cape Town, Blumenau in Brazil, Melbourne, Glasgow, the Upper Midwest in the United States, and the Volga Basin in Russia. The mobilisation of ethno-national diasporas is also a feature of modern-day globalization. The theoretical ramifications analysed in the book are as poignant today as they were for the nineteenth century.”

Test Dept symposium a great success

The launch of the Test Dept book attracted about 40 visitors to Aston. The audience heard five speakers from various UK universities talking about the band.

C360_2015-05-28-16-19-50-071

Apart from a Q&A panel with original band members Paul Jamrozy and Graham Cunnington, the highlight of the event was the talk by Stephen Mallinder, formerly frontman of Cabaret Voltaire. His presentation about the role of radical music during the Thatcher years was accompanied by a slide show including a number of iconic images and photographs.

 C360_2015-05-28-16-23-25-854There was also an after event party at Vividworks wich was well attended. It included DJ sets from Test Dept, Stephen Mallinder and Alexei Monroe.

Kraftwerk conference at Aston resounding success

Kraftwerk_astonimage

The Kraftwerk conference held at Aston University on 21/22 January 2015 was a resounding success, attracting an audience of over 160 participants. Particular highlights were the keynote address given by Dr Steven Mallinder (formerly of Cabaret Voltaire) and a lively presentation by DJ Rusty Egan (formerly of Visage) who also DJed at the after conference party in the student union bar. The conference attracted considerable media coverage by a number of publications and on several BBC radio channels as well as the BBC Breakfast TV programme.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03rlLjppzz4&spfreload=10

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-30907513

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/the-kraftwerk-conference-why-a-bunch-of-academics-consider-the-german-electropoppers-worthy-of-their-own-symposium-9993879.html

Aston to host first ever academic conference on Kraftwerk

Kraftwerk performing their retrospective at MOMA Photo: ©BOETTCHER
Kraftwerk performing their retrospective at MOMA Photo: ©BOETTCHER

On 21 and 22 January, 2015, Aston University is hosting the first-ever academic conference on the groundbreaking German electronic band Kraftwerk. Uwe Schütte, organiser of the conference: “I think Kraftwerk are fascinating, and deserve critical, scholarly attention. They’ve received that, but only a little.”

Founded in the early 1970s, they were ahead of their time with regard to the use of technology in producing music. To quote the conference website,

Kraftwerk have long been recognised as major pioneers of electronic music. The group attracted keen interest particularly in the UK, where their innovative sound had a decisive influence on the development of 1980s synth pop.

Over two days, a diverse group of scholars will speak about such diverse topics as “Fun Fun Fun on the Autobahn: Kraftwerk Challenging Germanness”, “We Are the Robots! On the Cultural-Historical Origins of the Man-Machine” and “Cabaret Voltaire and Dada Modernity”. And instead of the usual sit-down conference dinner, participants will get the chance to shake it up at the Kraftwerk Disco.

The conference has garnered great international attention, with a host of international speakers and more than 200 registered participants from across the world. It has also been reported on in the national and international press, for example in The Guardian, leading music magazine NME and German music platform Ampya.

PhD Studentships in German Studies at the University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham’s Department of Modern Languages (German Studies) and Institute of German Studies have announced a range of AHRC-funded studentships for September 2014, through their involvement in the Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Partnership. They will consider applications for PhD study in all areas relevant to their research. Queries can be addressed to Dr Nigel Harris (n.w.harris@bham.ac.uk) (Department of Modern Languages) or Dr Sara Jones (s.jones.1@bham.ac.uk) (Institute of German Studies).

These scholarships are open to applicants from the EU, including the UK. They will enable the recipients to undertake meaningful and stimulating research under the guidance of a supportive and distinguished group of academics. To apply for funding, students must have applied for a place to study at the University of Birmingham and have already provided two academic references via the university’s application system. The deadline for funding applications is 12pm, Thursday 9 January 2014.

For further information, please visit: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/ahrc-funding

Or email: ahrc@contacts.bham.ac.uk

 

Book launch Uwe Schütte: Urzeit, Traumzeit, Endzeit. Versuch über Heiner Müller

Do you remember the last staff publication we presented to you on the 5th of October?

Uwe Schütte’s new book “Urzeit, Traumzeit, Endzeit” will be envisaged by himself, tonight. Following Dr. Schütte will discuss his new cultural anthropologic essay with B. K. Tragelehn. This event is a prelude to the series “Müllermontag” which is dedicated to Müller’s work.

Agenda of the opening event:

  • Buchvorstellung
  • Weiterer Gesprächspartner: B.K. Tragelehn
  • Moderation: Falk Strehlow
  • Eine Veranstaltung des Literaturforums im Brecht-Haus

The event is taking place tonight at 8pm in the Palais am Festungsgraben in Berlin

Address: in the premises of the Saarland gallery, Am Festungsgraben 1, 10117 Berlin

New book publication by Uwe Schütte

Following his recent major study of Heiner Müller’s hitherto much neglected prose works, Uwe Schütte revisits key texts by this controversial East German writer in his latest book. Schütte shows how concepts of cultural anthropology can serve to open new perspectives on Müller’s works, providing a fresh analysis of some of his most influential plays as well as a fruitful exploration of his less familiar short prose and poetry.

Click here for more details.

German Reasearch at Aston

The summer  provides us with time to relax and reflect on the events of the past academic year – but it is also a good time for research. Here are some examples of recent publications by German at Aston staff:

Claudia Gremler:

“Utopien, Epiphanien und Melancholie : Der Norden als Erfahrungs- und Imaginationsraum in der deutschsprachigen Gegenwartsliteratur.” IN: Martin Huber et.al. (ed), Literarische Räume. Berlin: Akademie Verlag 2012.

“‘Warum bleiben wir eigentlich nicht immer hier?’ Schweden als Projektionsraum für deutsche Sehnsüchte in Kurt Tucholskys ‘Schloß Gripsholm’ und seinen beiden Verfilmungen”. Text und Kontext, 33 (2011) , pp. 21-47. (Full text available here.)

Stefan Manz:

“Intercultural transfer and artistic innovation: German musicians in Victorian Britain.” German Life and Letters, 65,2 (2012), pp. 161-180.

“Expellees, counterfactualism and potatoes : enlargement and cross-national debates in German-Polish relations.” IN: Ljiljana Šarić et.al. (ed.),  Contesting Europe’s Eastern Rim. Bristol: Multilingual Matters 2010.

Gertrud Reershemius:

“Research cultures and the pragmatic functions of humor in academic research presentations: a corpus-assisted analysis.” Journal of Pragmatics, 44, 6-7 (2012), pp. 863-875.

“Reconstructing the past? Low german and the creating of regional identity in public language display.” Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 32, 1 (2011), pp. 33-54.

Uwe Schütte:

“Gegen die Welt wie sie ist. Versuch über Thomas Bernhard als Realist.” Manuskripte, 93 (2011), pp. 150-157. (Full text available here.)

Arbeit an der Differenz. Zum Eigensinn von Heiner Müllers Prosa.  Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter. (Introduction available here.)

German@Aston at LLAS Conference

From 4-5 July, the Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies (LLAS) hosts their annual conference in Edinburgh. This year’s theme is “Language Futures: Languages in Higher Education”. This is of course a topic very close to German@Aston’s heart and two of our colleagues, Elisabeth Wielander and Dr Claudia Gremler, will be there to give papers and to live-tweet from the conference.

Elisabeth will be sharing first results from her PhD project on Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), a teaching method which is applied widely here at Aston, where almost all teaching takes place in the target language, and Claudia will speak about the educational benefits of student video production projects for foreign language learning.

The full conference programme can be downloaded here.

German Research at Aston University

Aston's German Section

If you wonder what German staff at Aston get up to when there is no teaching and no marking to be done, then take a look at the section’s impressive research output. All our publications are listed in Aston’s research repository and many can be even be downloaded for free!

One of Aston’s (and German at Aston’s) key research areas is language education research and we are proud that CLERA, the Centre for Language Education Research at Aston, is thriving following its successful launch last year – and has now started its own blog and twitter feed. So why not head over to see what’s new in the world of classroom research!

Currently one of CLERA’s German projects investigates the topic of teaching content courses in the target language (one of Aston’s specialities) and the Centre’s first conference is dedicated to Transition in Languages and will take place in July.