UMass Amherst German Department Receives $160,000 Grant for Outreach to Secondary Schools

AMHERST, Mass. - The University of Massachusetts department of Germanic languages and literatures has received a $160,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The grant will help to fund a four-week summer program at the University in which 25 high school teachers and administrators from across the country will explore the changing cultural landscape of unified Germany. The grant is among the largest ever received from the NEH by the University and will allow the department to continue outreach efforts to secondary schools which it began last year.

"Post-Wall Germany: Integrating Post-Unification German Culture into the High School Curriculum," will take place on campus July 12 through August 8. The focus of the institute, to be conducted entirely in German, will be on issues currently in the forefront of German public discussion. These include: Germany’s past and present; the tensions between East and West; the changing relationship between the sexes; and the status of various minority groups,such as Turks and Afro-Germans, in German society. Particular emphasis will be placed on the development of classroom materials using contemporary literary and journalistic texts, video and film, news media, and current technology such as the Internet.

"To be asked to continue our program for a second year is a sign that we have been successful," says German professor and director of the institute Barton Byg. "The NEH clearly sees we have made an effort to help improve understanding in this country of the importance of a unified Germany."

Faculty for the summer institute will include guest lecturers such as Brown University history professor Volker Berghahn; Turkish-German author and publisher Zafer Senocak; Berlin author and dramaturg Holger Teschke; and German author and independent scholar Esther Dischereit. Besides Byg, UMass participants include Germanic languages and literatures professors Sigrid Bauschinger and Sara Lennox.

Events of special interest to the general public include the screening of a video about Afro-Germans, and readings by the three visiting authors.

For details, or to register for the institute, contact Barton Byg at 413/545-6671.

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