At the end of September, graduate students gathered along with Department faculty for the annual Summer Research Colloquium. Created as a venue for students to present results of the research they conduct between May and August, the Colloquium represents an opportunity for students to communicate core aspects of their projects to peers and faculty normally uninvolved with the details of their day-to-day work. Unlike any other Department event, the Colloquium presents a snapshot of the entire range of research being conducted on the graduate level.
With eleven students taking part in the event and two joining via teleconference from Berlin, this year’s Colloquium was fast paced and intense. Topics were rich and varied, reflecting the wide range of interdisciplinary approaches students are taking to German Studies material. Studies reconstructing public health exhibitions and the networks behind East and West German post-industrial landscape parks were followed by projects on Nazi architecture and media, German colonialism in the Pacific, and important German gay rights activists. The work took students to libraries and archives not only all over the US and Germany, but also to Australia and Papua New Guinea. As many other presentations showed, students are interrogating an equally impressive variety of media and cultural production, ranging from film and literary writing to comics and video games. Thanks to their careful preparation, students made the most of their allotted time, managing to review their research questions, how they sought answers, and the progress they made, all before taking questions and suggestions for future work. By the end of the Colloquium, it became clear that a single event might not suffice to do justice to the fascinating work taking place over the summer months.