Friday, December 18, 2009
Herta Müller grew up in the small village of Nitchidorf in Romania in a German-speaking family and a German-speaking community that was founded by immigrants from Southwest Germany over 200 years ago...
Read the complete article here
Image 1: germanyinfo.de; Image 2: nitzkydorf.de
Monday, November 16, 2009
Cora Lee Kluge’s 2007 publication, Other Witnesses: An Anthology of Literature of the German Americans, 1850-1914, continues to attract attention for its attempt to include German-language works by immigrant writers as part of American literature. A new review by Andrew Yox (Northeast Texas Community College) has just appeared on H-Net Humanities & Social Sciences Online, and is worth reading.
During the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, enough of the American population read German to allow for a rich harvest of writing in that language; as revealed in Other Witnesses, authors produced works ranging from poems to plays, and from fiction to travel literature. But the audience of German readers did dwindle, and German-language publishing houses eventually ceased their operations, with the result that such German-American writings have been relegated to libraries and archives, while essentially fading from our national consciousness.
Of course, the greatest obstacle to appreciating these works today is indeed the fact that they are written in German. We’ve all heard the phrase, “lost in translation,” and no doubt some of the impact and beauty would be lost if the words of these “other witnesses” were shifted into English. But someday, perhaps, the task will be undertaken, and America can once again reclaim a part of its literary heritage.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
The gentleman who gave me the tour through the collection said the blocks likely came from a WELS school in downtown Milwaukee. Their function was evidently to give children practice in composing German sentences. I have scoured the Internet for references to similar teaching aids and have not found anything comparable, which suggests that these blocks might have been the brainchild of one enterprising German teacher (with some good carpentry skills). I would be excited to hear whether any of our readers have seen or heard of anything similar!
Friday, August 14, 2009
This means Barbie has come full circle. Barbie was inspired by the Bild-Lilli doll, who was presented as a young, attractive woman, dressed in fashionable clothes and having her own career, and who was modeled after the heroine of a popular 1950s comic strip in Bild magazine. At that time, Ruth Handler, American mother and wife of a Martell toy company co-founder, was looking for a doll for her daughter that was not an infant. On a trip to Europe, she saw Bild-Lilli, brought several of the dolls to America, made some design changes, and convinced her husband to manufacture her new Barbie. And the rest is history…
For more on the story go to Germany.info, which is also the source of the picture used here. (© picture-alliance/dpa)
Monday, August 10, 2009
Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/) is a new digital project initiated by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. The Web site provides descriptive information about all American newspapers published from 1690 to the present day, including those in languages other than English, such as Albanian, Arabic, Cherokee, German, Hebrew, Japanese, Norwegian, Thai, and many more. Information on a specific newspaper includes title, place of publication, publisher, dates of publication, frequency, succeeding titles, and a summary of available holdings, in original format or microfilm, at various institutions.
Digital images of select newspaper pages can also be viewed online. At this point in the project, only pages from English-language papers published from 1880 to 1992 from the following states are available: California, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.
We at the MKI would of course like to be able to search, retrieve, and view pages from German-language newspapers, and hope they might be included in the scope of the project as it continues. No doubt researchers would like to see pages from newspapers published in all the other languages as well, which would help to create a richer picture of American history.
A search of the site shows that only Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, and Vermont had no German-language newspapers, while Idaho, Maine, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Wyoming only had ones published in Prisoner of War camps. Consulting the impressive three-volume The German Language Press of the Americas by Karl Arndt and May Olson (München: Verlag Dokumentation, 3rd edition, 1976), shows just a few differences, particularly for Nevada, where there were apparently four extremely short-lived German-language papers. It may be that no copies survived, and thus none of the libraries reporting to the online project had any records for them.
Chronicling America is an important project, and we look forward to checking in on its progress in the future.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Thursday, April 9, 2009
On April 2 and 3, the conference "Excursions in German-American Studies," drew a large audience of students, faculty, Friends of the MKI, and many other people interested in the diverse and thought-provoking presentations. We all came away with new insights, thoughts, and an awareness of how broad the field of German-American Studies is, and how many angles remain to be explored. Here is Louis Pitschmann, Director of Libraries at the University of Alabama, presenting to a rapt audience on "Advancing German-American Studies in the Digital Age."
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
April 2-3, Memorial Union, UW-Madison Campus
1. Walter Kamphoefner (Texas A&M University): “Elvis and Other Germans: Some Reflections and Modest Proposals on the Study of German- American Ethnicity.”
2. Daniel J. Tichenor (University of Oregon): “German Americans and the U.S. Immigrant Experience: Historical and Contemporary Significance.”
3. Hartmut Keil (University of Leipzig): “The Americanization of Francis Lieber: Liberal Ideals and the Realities of the Slave South.”
April 2, 2009, 3–5 p.m.: “German-American Language and Literature.”
1. Daniel Nützel (University of Regensburg): “German Dialects on Different Paths to Extinction: The Examples of Haysville, IN and New Ulm, MN.”
2. Lorie A. Vanchena (University of Kansas): “Taking Stock: The Disappearance of German-American Literature.”
April 3, 2009, 9–12 a.m.: “Creating the American Myth.”
1. Hugh Ridley (University College Dublin): “Sealsfield’s ‘Prärie am Jacinto’: The Half-Unfolded Spring of German and American Literature.”
2. Steven D. Hoelscher (University of Texas at Austin): “Performing the American Myth by Speaking German: Changing Meanings of Ethnic Identity Between the Wars.”
3. Kathleen Neils Conzen (University of Chicago): “Democracy and Diversity: German Theorizing in Tocqueville’s America.”
April 3, 2009, 2–5 p.m.:“Learning From Each Other.”
1. Uwe Luebken (Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich): “Explorations into the History of Floods and Flood Control in the United States and Germany.”
2. Louis A. Pitschmann (University of Alabama): “Advancing German-American Studies in the Digital Age: Opportunities for Collaboration.”
3. Members of the University of Wisconsin Faculty: Panel Discussion.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
As you may know, today is Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday), the eve of the Lenten Season. Known as Karneval in Cologne, Fasching in Bavaria, and Fasnet in southwestern Germany and parts of Switzerland, traces of the tradition have come to Pennsylvania via the German-speaking progenitors of the Pennsylvania Dutch (about whom we will talk in week 4). The word for "donut" in PA Dutch is "Fasnacht", from "Fastnacht" (< 'eve of the fasting season'). At this time it was traditional for people to use up some food items (lard, sugar, etc.) they would be forgoing during Lent, hence the practice of making donuts. "Fasnacht" has entered regional Pennsylvania English (somewhat like "bismarck", from the Bismarck Hotel in Chicago, I believe). At left is a photo I received from Joshua Brown, a graduate student in German Linguistics at Penn State University. Although State College, PA, is located outside of the traditional Dutch Country, that hasn't stopped the Dunkin Donuts there from capitalizing on their day in the sun!
You can also access an article on fasnachts from the Morning Call in Allentown, PA, here.
Enjoy, Mark (Louden)
Friday, January 23, 2009
The cost is $139 per person, with a special rate of $119 for WAA and UW OLLI members, and members of the Friends of the Max Kade Institute. It's not too late to become a Friend of the MKI! Join the Friends! To register for the course now click here: Online: The German-American Experience Registration deadline is Monday, February 9, 2009.
Weekly Topics and Instructors
1. The German Immigration Experience, Cora Lee Kluge,Professor of German and Director of the Max Kade
2. German-American Print Culture, Kevin Kurdylo,Librarian and Archivist for the Max Kade Institute
3. Languages of German-Americans, Joe Salmons,Professor of German and Director of the UW Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures
4. Pennsylvania Dutch: An American Language with German Roots, Mark Louden, Professor of German and former director of the Max Kade Institute
5. Dutchman Bands and Dialect Songs: German Folk Music in the Upper Midwest, Jim Leary, Professor of Folklore and Scandinavian Studies and Director of the UW Folklore Program
6. German American Cookbooks and Food Traditions, Antje Petty,Associate Director, Max Kade Institute.