As both students and faculty know all too well, U-M has a grueling schedule that keeps us incredibly busy virtually non-stop from September through April. While it can be particularly challenging for faculty to maintain and advance their research agendas during Fall and Winter semesters, the flip-side of all this is a comparatively long period of four uninterrupted months for research and writing in the summer. The considerable productivity of these periods is reflected in faculty publications, lectures, and conference presentations year-round, about which we aim to keep you informed on our website. Here, we single out only three faculty summer projects that the Department was fortunate to be able to support this year with additional research funds.
Helmut Puff traveled to the world-famous Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel, where he researched courtly etiquette manuals from the 17th and 18th centuries with a view toward advancing his new research project on the history of waiting and biding time. While there, he also revisited archival materials pertaining to the Diet of Worms for a talk at a conference commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Given his internationally recognized expertise in this area, Professor Puff will surely be a busy man in 2017.
Kerstin Barndt will be working with Alice Goff to bring their curatorial expertise to bear closer to home, on an overlooked set of objects among U-M’s vast collections. From the mid-19th to the mid-20th century, two glass artisans from Dresden supplied museums around the world with glass models of animal species that could not be displayed live or preserved at the time. Known as “Blaschka Models” after father and son Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka who produced them, these intricate, delicate objects were acquired by Michigan from Harvard in 1928. Barndt and Goff will reconstruct the Blaschka Models’ history in the context of U-M's history of collecting and display. They will be on view in a specially curated space in the German Department this fall—come visit!
Kira Thurman will continue her research for her current book manuscript on African American musical performers in Germany during the 19th and 20th centuries. She will be looking at archival materials on figures such as the African American tenor Roland Hayes, who traveled to Berlin in May 1925 but was met by intense protests; the Hampton Choir that performed in the city 6 years later; as well as Aubrey Pankey and Paul Robeson, who performed (and in the case of Pankey even sought asylum) in the former GDR in the 1950s and 60s.