Binghamton University German Studies Colloquium

The Binghamton University German Studies Colloquium (BUGSC XI)

Foresight 2020: The Present and Future of German Studies in North America
April 30 -- May 2, 2020

A panorama of German Studies in North America today would necessarily include many contradictory vistas and involve many overlapping and entangled crises, pressures, interests, changes, and also perhaps openings and possibilities. As a disciplinary home to a diverse set of research interests, methodologies, teaching practices, and archives, where is German Studies now and where is it—where should it be—heading? What is the relevance of German Studies in North America today, and what are the innovations that could contribute to its relevance in the future? What are major obstructions in the field currently, and how can they be removed or circumvented?

In 2020, the Binghamton University German Studies Colloquium (BUGSC) wants to openly discuss the state and the future of the discipline, of the people involved, and of its institutional framework. BUGSC will be a forum for pragmatics and visionaries to pose and discuss local questions (what should we be teaching in our programs, how should we be teaching it, and why?), as well as more global ones—what resources, for example, does German Studies make available for understanding and improving the status of the humanities within our various institutions?

We hope that this forum will yield an invigorating dialogue, and that participants might gain from each other specific new practices for their repertoires, as well as ideas about how to talk to others—students, administrators, colleagues in other fields, the public—about what we do as Germanists, as teachers, and as humanists.

Tentative Program



  • 10:55am Welcome

11am Aufriss: From the Trenches, For the Trenches

  • Michele Ricci Bell, Union College: Everyday’s visions
  • — lunch —

1pm Germanness

  • Nicole Coleman, Wayne State University: Denationalizing German Studies
  • Harald Zils, Binghamton University: Proximity and Distance in German Studies

2.30pm Recruitment & Strategies for Growth

  • Heike Henderson, Boise State University: What’s the Return on my Investment? Strategies for turning Customers into Active Learners
  • Sabine Smith, Kennesaw State University: Strategizing for Growth: Preparing Undergraduate Learners for International Experiences

4pm Untraditional Starting Points

  • Cindy Walter-Gensler, Baylor University: Understanding Motivation for Learning German among Chinese College Students: Comparing In-China and Study-Abroad Contexts
  • Petra Watzke, Skidmore College: Disability, Access, and Inclusion in the German Language Classroom: Where We Are and What We Can Do Better

5:30pm Reception


9am Small programs

  • Fatima Baig, Rice University: Two instructor programs
  • Amanda Randall, St. Olaf College: Ethical, equitable, sustainable hiring for small, shrinking, and/or adjunctify-ing German departments

10am Teaching

  • Katherine Anderson, College of the Holy Cross: Reading & Writing in the Classroom
  • Elke Nicolai, Hunter College: Program restructuring
  • Elliott Schreiber, Vassar College: Spiel — Revitalizing the German Studies Curriculum through Board Games
  • — lunch —

2pm GS in the academic curriculum

  • Geoffrey Atherton / Karolin Machtans, Connecticut College: General Education Reform and German Studies — A case of push-me-pull-you?
  • Mary Boldt, York College of Pennsylvania: What Ever Happened to Languages Across the Curriculum?
  • Lee Forester, Hope College: Ancient Rome and the Third Reich: Cross-aisle Collaboration with Classics and History

4pm Campus Politics

  • June J. Hwang, University of Rochester: German Interdisciplinarity?
  • Evelyn Preuss, Yale University: ReThinking Academia, ReThinking America — The Interdependence of Professionalism, Identity and Voice, or Don’t Say Democracy, if You Don’t Mean It
  • Mona Eikel-Pohen, Syracuse University: Re/Acting upon #NotAgainSU in the German Program


9am Graduate Studies

  • Paul Fleming, Cornell University: Wozu Germanisten in dürftiger Zeit? The Future Of German Graduate Studies
  • Lynn Wolff, Michigan State University: Integration, Collaboration, Transformation — Graduate Study in the Digital Age

10am The Future Has Been Around For A While

  • May Mergenthaler, Ohio State University: Environmental Humanities as Chance for Research, Teaching, and Collaboration across Disciplines, Cultures, Departments and Institutions
  • Stefan Soldovieri, University of Toronto: Integrating academic and experiential learning at the intersection of the Environmental Humanities and German Studies
  • Verena Kick, Georgetown University: What is Digital Humanities and What is it Doing in German Departments?
  • Erik Born, Cornell University: The Question Concerning Technology in the Classroom

12pm-1:30pm Concluding Roundtable and Lunch


All events take place in the Binghamton University Downtown Center, 67 Washington St, Binghamton, NY 13902 -- room DC220A/B.


Registration fee is $75 for tenured and tenure-track faculty, $50 for adjuncts and graduate students. Please send your check, made payable to “Binghamton University Foundation,” to:

Harald Zils
Department of German and Russian Studies
Binghamton University
P.O. Box 6000
Binghamton, NY 13902-6000

Please use “Acct. #10763 — BUGSC” on the check.


The Holiday Inn Binghamton has set aside a number of room at the corporate rate for BUGSC participants. To book, please click here and use group code GMS. You can also call them at (607) 722-1212‬ and mention the “Binghamton University German Studies Colloquium.” The event rate is $109/night +taxes; the deadline for reservations is April 1. The Holiday Inn is right next to our venue in downtown Binghamton.


Participants planning to travel by plane might want to consider flying into NYC and then taking the bus for more flexibility (and lower costs). Greyhound, Shortline and now also Flixbus are offering service to Binghamton from Port Authority (Flixbus departs from Penn Station). The bus trip takes approximately 3 1/2 hours. The Binghamton bus station is a 7-minute walk away from our venue (and the Holiday Inn).


The Binghamton University German Studies Colloquium (BUGSC), now in its eleventh year, provides a forum for conversation and exchange among scholars, teachers, students, translators, writers, artists and others interested in German Studies. It seeks to foster collaboration across programs, departments, disciplines and institutions.

Information on past colloquia.

For questions, registrations and more information, please email Harald Zils, Department of German and Russian, Binghamton University.