From Far and Wide

German Studies in Canada

by Andrea Speltz (Volume editor) Nikola von Merveldt (Volume editor) Gaby Pailer (Volume editor)
©2021 Conference proceedings 136 Pages


This volume contains the refined proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association of University Teachers of German (CAUTG), which took place at Ryerson University, Toronto, as part of the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences in May 2017.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Preface
  • Table of Contents
  • Introduction
  • I. Academic Contributions
  • Here, Everywhere, Nowhere: Schiller’s Cosmopolitan Vision
  • Works Cited
  • „Indem ich davon spreche, tritt mir das Bild wieder deutlich vor die Seele.“: Visualisierungen in Theodor Fontanes Schach von Wuthenow
  • Tableau vivant
  • Sinumbralampe
  • Karikatur – Fata Morgana
  • Literaturverzeichnis
  • Reflecting the Empty Values of Modern Finance
  • Works Cited
  • Der Weg, den wir nicht zusammen gehen (2009) and the Nostalgia for Babylon in the New Berlin
  • Works Cited
  • Flüchtlingscomics: Comics About / For / By Refugees – Across Cultures, or At Cross Purposes?
  • Works Cited
  • Guiseppe Becce’s Film Score for Leni Riefenstahl’s Film The Blue Light: Cultural Interactions between Art Music Concepts and the Early Sound Film
  • Nostalgia or political message? The themes of “The Blue Light”
  • Guiseppe Becce and the development of a musical language for the cinema
  • Leni Riefenstahl and the powers of Richard Wagner
  • Dramatic forces of music: The Melodrama
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • The World War Two Refugee in the Twenty-First-Century Museum between Nationalism, Transnationalism, and Human Rights
  • Introduction
  • Memory Debates Surrounding the Centre Against Expulsions
  • Travelling Exhibitions from the Federation of Expellees
  • Second World War Museum, Gdansk
  • Military History Museum, Dresden
  • Conclusion
  • Works Cited
  • II. Reports
  • German Studies without German1: Reflections on the Future of the Discipline in Canadian Higher Education
  • Works Cited
  • Report on the Future of German Studies in Canada
  • German in Canada for the Twenty-First Century
  • The Promotion of All Foreign Languages Including and Particularly German
  • The Reorientation of German Graduate Programs
  • Connecting with Internal and External Partners
  • Conclusion
  • Works Cited
  • Memorial’s German Program on the East Coast Trail: An Opportunity in Community-Engaged and Experiential Learning
  • Works Cited
  • Series index


Andrea Speltz

University of Waterloo

Every year members of the Canadian Association of University Teachers of German (CAUTG) meet to showcase their research in the field of German studies. The CAUTG is made up of a diverse group of scholars whose interests range from medieval studies to second-language acquisition. Fields of expertise include literary, film, and cultural studies as well as applied linguistics. This special issue of the Jahrbuch für Internationale Germanistik aims to provide a small sampling of the work that is being done in German studies across Canada. It features seven academic contributions and four reports on the future of German studies in Canada.

The academic contributions are revised versions of research talks given at the annual meeting of the CAUTG in Toronto in May of 2017. The conference theme that year was “The Next 150, On Indigenous Lands.” The title, which was chosen by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, refers to the sesquicentennial of the Canadian Confederation, which was celebrated in 2017, and to the growing acknowledgement of Canada’s history as a colonizer of Indigenous lands. Although the articles in this volume do not speak directly to the conference theme, questions around decolonization and indigenization have found their way into CAUTG programs and initiatives. The annual meeting of 2019, hosted by the University of British Columbia, featured a roundtable on “Building Transdisciplinary Relationships: Indigenous and German Studies” and a research panel on “The Indigenous in German Studies.” Conversations on how to integrate Indigenous perspectives in German studies (in form and content) resound in hallways, classrooms, and job interviews across Canada.

German studies in Canada is an innovative enterprise. It has to be. As the following reports illustrate, our discipline is shrinking. As scholars and teachers, German studies faculty are always on the lookout for ways to increase their relevance to Canada’s multicultural society and the global community at large. Research and teaching in German studies are taking on an increasingly transdisciplinary approach. We have fashion scholars, film scholars, and feminist activists. We have experts in comics, educational theory, and queer studies. Gone are the days when studying German meant studying a canon of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century texts, although we do that, too! Researching and studying German in Canada today can mean any number of things. ←10 | 11→We celebrate the diversity of our field and the contemporary relevance of our projects.

The academic contributions to this volume reflect some of the topics and methods that characterize German studies in Canada in 2019. The first two articles demonstrate how traditional philological methods can be employed to explore topics of contemporary social relevance. In “Here, Everywhere, Nowhere: Schiller’s Cosmopolitan Vision,” David Pugh grapples with Friedrich Schiller’s concepts of national identity and cosmopolitanism. In “‘Indem ich davon spreche, tritt mir das Bild wieder deutlich vor die Seele.’ Visualisierungen in Theodor Fontanes Schach von Wuthenow” Christiane Arndt brings together various discourses on illness and visual media.

The second pair of articles engage productively with the social and historical context of twenty-first-century film. James Skidmore’s “Reflecting the Empty Values of Modern Finance” asks how windows and reflections in J.C. Chandor’s Margin Call (2011) and Marc Bauder’s Master of the Universe (2013) convey meaning about the financial crisis of 2008. Katrina Sark’s “Der Weg, den wir nicht zusammen gehen (2009) and the Nostalgia for Babylon in the New Berlin” addresses the issue of urban development and cultural memory in the city of Berlin through the conceptual lens of nostalgia.

The third and final part of essays highlights the interdisciplinary work of Canadian German studies. Paul M. Malone’s “Flüchtlingscomics: Comics About / For / By Refugees – Across Cultures, or At Cross Purposes?” situates the depiction of refugees in contemporary comics within discourses of postcolonialism, asking questions about perspective and representation. Isabell Woelfel’s “Guiseppe Becce’s film score for Leni Riefenstahl’s film ‘The Blue Light’: cultural interactions between art music concepts and the early sound film” explores the impact of musical concepts on the genre of film music. In “The World War Two Refugee in the Twenty-First-Century Museum between Nationalism, Transnationalism, and Human Rights” Emma Mikuska-Tinman and Stephan Jaeger use Michael Rothberg’s concept of multidirectional memory to describe how different cultures productively cross-reference refugee and expellee memories with memories of the Holocaust and other wartime atrocities without losing sight of historical specificity.

All in all, the academic contributions to this volume of the Jahrbuch für Internationale Germanistik showcase research into eighteenth-, nineteenth-, twentieth- and twenty-first-century German-language cultural artifacts. They analyse a variety of different genres and media: poetry, novels, documentary film, feature film, film scores, comics, and museum exhibitions. All of the articles have undergone a process of peer review. 14 scholars from Canada, Germany, and the United States volunteered their time to vet the quality of the articles and improve the arguments of the authors. For that, the editorial team expresses its sincere thanks.←11 | 12→

In addition to six academic contributions, this volume also contains four reports on the future of German studies in Canada. Here, too, we boast a variety of perspectives. We have reports by an Associate Professor of Teaching, a Sessional Instructor, a Deputy Provost and, finally, a team of authors, which includes tenured and nontenured faculty as well as administrative staff. While acknowledging the difficulties faced by our discipline, all of the authors provide optimistic and forward-thinking assessments of the future of German studies in our country. Florian Gassner argues for an open and critical engagement with the idea of German studies without German-language requirements. Katrina Sark urges German scholars to take advantage of the precarity of our field to innovate, highlighting the importance of collaboration and community building. Florentine Strzelczyk offers her perspective as an administrator to advocate for reimagining the learning outcomes of undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Hers is not a call to reinvent German studies for the reigning neoliberal paradigm, but rather to enhance the valuable skills we already impart to our students through experiential learning opportunities. Our team of authors (Shannon Lewis-Simpson, Maria Mayr, and Isabell Woelfel) share their knowledge and experience in developing experiential learning opportunities, similar to the ones advocated by Strzelczyk. Their report gives an overview of a project called “Mobilizing Knowledge on the East Coast Trail,” which was co-developed with a local non-profit and their university’s Student Life office. All four of these reports provide fascinating and innovative ideas on how to enhance the future of German studies in Canada.


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2021 (May)
National Identity Urban Development Visual Media Future of German Studies German Studies in Canada
Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2021. 136 pp., 9 fig. b/w.

Biographical notes

Andrea Speltz (Volume editor) Nikola von Merveldt (Volume editor) Gaby Pailer (Volume editor)


Title: From Far and Wide
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138 pages