More than 30 German scholars from public and private institutions and all levels of their academic career gathered in Ramsey Library’s Whitman Room on March 3, 2017 for a conference on the subject of diversity and decolonialization in the German curriculum. With participants from universities ranging in distance from Asheville to South Africa, this symposium was a major event in German studies worldwide.
Regine Criser, assistant professor of German, organized the event with help from Ervin Malakaj of Sam Houston State University, in hopes of inviting international German scholars and professors to take a deeper look at the curriculum they implement, and how it frames diversity in the German community.
“I think the participants all greatly enjoyed their time on campus and were generally impressed with our university,” says Criser. “The symposium was also a great networking opportunity for faculty from all stages of their career and from all different kinds of institutions to connect and create a system of support and for the exchange of materials and ideas about how to extend the impact of the conference.”
The conference investigated the role that German studies play in shaping broader diversity and social justice initiatives at institutions across the country. Participants attended presentations and discussions considering work intersecting German applied language, cultural, feminist, queer, gender, black, and/or ethnic studies. The conference also featured a series of workshops during which participants develop concrete lessons, modules, mission statements or manifestos suitable to engender curricular and other change at participants’ home institutions.
The conference was sponsored by Wiebke Strehl, dean of the humanities at UNC Asheville; Dan Pierce, NEH Distinguished Professor of history at UNC Asheville; Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst; and the American Association of Teachers of German.
For more information on German studies at UNC Asheville, visit the Modern Languages and Literatures website.