Indiana University Bloomington
Germanic Studies
Department of Germanic Studies Alumni Newsletter
College of Arts and Sciences
Department Website | Newsletter Archive Volume 1 Issue 1 | Fall 2011


Department News

Letter from the chair

Much like last year, our department is thriving, and students, staff, and faculty members are busier than ever. In August we welcomed four new graduate students, John Paul Ewing, Björn Frietsche, Julia Gehrig, and Franzi Krüger, who all assimilated very quickly to the climate in Ballantine Hall and seem like a group of happy campers. Our Distinguished Visiting Max Kade Professor this year is the spirited German filmmaker Monika Treut, who is teaching a successful colloquium on films in the Kinsey Institute, where she also conducts research. With Brigitta Wagner, she will be hosting a series of her own films at the I.U. Cinema later this autumn, which is an event we are all looking forward to. Under the leadership of the indefatigable duo Troy Byler and Susanne Even, our department is also currently part of the nationwide Do Deutsch campaign sponsored by the German Embassy in DC. During the 2011 Do Deutsch Campus Weeks, which are going on right now, German-language students and faculty at Indiana University have organized a series of activities and events in a bid to boost widespread interest in German language and culture among their peers. To that end, the German Embassy sent us boxes on boxes with promotional materials, ranging from packages of M and M’s to t-shirts and enormous posters (one of which is the size of the floor in my living room). These posters now adorn the walls and hallways of the sixth floor of Ballantine, much to the consternation of the Department of French and Italian.

Other things are happening as well, for example, the inception of what will be a four-semester sequence of business German taught alongside the regular language sequence (G100-250), on-line summer courses in the reading knowledge of Dutch and Scandinavian, as well as a summer course taught in Berlin, Germany (a project initiated and designed by Michel Chaouli). In April 2012 our department will co-host (with the Department of English) the 18th Annual Germanic Linguistics Conference and the 7th Conference of Studies in the History of the English Language. In that connection, hordes of former students have announced their arrival in Bloomington, so we are looking forward to a large and happy reunion! Numerous other activities and initiatives are going on as well, and you can read all about them in the personalized columns written by the faculty.

There are, of course, also changes taking place. The first thing you will have noticed is that our Newsletter is electronic this time around. Owing to a loss of subsidies from the I.U. Alumni Association, it was no longer financially feasible to mass print and post the Newsletter as we have done in the past. Our editor, Julia Lawson, has been working very hard to streamline this transition, and we are extremely grateful to her for her efforts here. Another change that is looming large on the horizon is the proposed creation of a School of International Studies housed within the College. Our department will be affiliated with that school, and we hope that we can contribute to, and take advantage of, the programs that the new school will offer, while at the same keeping our autonomy and departmental integrity. There will no doubt be challenges ahead, but we are posed to meet them, and ready to forge ahead into new territory.

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Letter from the editor

Grüße aus Bloomington!

The more things change, the more they do not stay the same.  As Kari mentions in her Letter from the Chair, we have lost financial and practical support from the IU Alumni Association for the preparation and dissemination of hard copy newsletters.  Most of you will be receiving this year’s edition electronically.  We have, however, had some practical help and a lot of moral support from the College of Arts and Sciences.  The folks at A&S are doing their best to lead us into electronic self-sufficiency while helping us keep in touch with you while we do it.  Together we have made an effort to produce the familiar looking –and feeling – IU Department of Germanic Studies Alumni Newsletter for 2011 that you have before you.  We hope you will be pleased with it.   We also encourage you to visit the new college news outlet Arts and Sciences News:  This is a college-wide outlet for what’s new in the College of Arts and Sciences.  Each academic department has a page of its own on this site.  Look for the pull down menu, “Select by Department,” at the upper right.   We are hoping soon to “populate” this site with ongoing news from our faculty and – well -- from you!  Check it out, let us know what you think, and send items of interest to me for inclusion.  And of course, don’t forget to follow us on the Department of Germanic Studies homepage:

Closer to home, we were saddened this year by news of the deaths of Jim McLeod and Helga Keller, neither one alums but both indelibly connected to the Department of Germanic Studies.  You will be able to read a little more about them in the obit section of the newsletter.

As usual, our faculty members offer interesting accounts of their various academic pursuits and personal adventures, and our emeriti send greetings from their busy lives. 

Personally and as an alumna, I can report that I am again working with the IU Jacobs School of Music as German diction coach, this year for their upcoming production of “Der Rosenkavalier.”  If you’re in Bloomington the last weekend of February and first of March, you must see it!  I’m also back in the classroom, at least for now, teaching G491.  I’m not sure how my students like it, but I’m having a wonderful semester.
Warmest greetings to all!

Julie Lawson, MA ’68, PhD ’80

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In memoriam


Helga Thomas Keller (1943-2011)

Helga Thomas Keller

Helga Thomas Keller

Helga Thomas Keller, of Bloomington, Indiana, died on January 29, 2011, at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. Helga was born in Hübitz, Germany, on December 23, 1943. Helga worked with Douglas Hofstadter as the administrator for IU’s Center for Research on Concepts and Cognition since 1988. She took great pride in her work at the Center and also in being a mentor to the many graduate students who passed through its doors.

Helga was actively involved in the arts in Bloomington. She served as a docent at the IU Art Museum from 1995 and served on the National Docent Symposium Council from 1997. The highlight of this involvement was co-authoring the in-depth docent guide, The Docent Handbook, in 2001.

Helga was a close friend of the IUB Germanic Studies department, volunteering for many German House activities, especially her annual tour of the Art Museum that she conducted in German for our undergraduates.  We remember her as an extremely friendly, enthusiastic, and joyful presence and will miss her.

Jim McLeod (1944-2011)

Jim McLeod

Jim McLeod

Jim McLeod, Vice Chancellor for Students and Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, Washington University, St. Louis, died on September 6, 2011, after a two-year battle with cancer. McLeod had been a part of the Washington University community for more than thirty years. He joined the faculty in 1974 as an Assistant Professor of German and Assistant Dean of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. In later years, he held various administrative positions, including assistant to then Chancellor William H. Danforth (1977-1987) and director of African and African-American Studies Program (1987-1992).  Jim will be remembered fondly by the students he taught and the friends he made as a lecturer for the IU German Department in the early seventies.  

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