UC’s German studies program and partner University of Duisburg-Essen receive grant

Transatlantic partnership funded to collaborate on the study of literacies

By Todd Herzog

The program in German and Media Praxis at the University of Duisburg-Essen and the program in German Studies at the University of Cincinnati were awarded a competitive Germanistische Institutspartnerschaften (German Studies Departmental Partnership) grant by the DAAD or German Academic Exchange Service to conduct an integrated research project on the topic of literacies over the next three years.

The initial grant, in the amount of 113,540 Euros, is renewable for up to nine years and will fund travel, research projects and publications. A core team of 13 faculty and students from UC's College of Arts and Sciences and UDE will investigate the topic of literacies from historical, cultural, theoretical, political, linguistic and pedagogical angles.

The group will present a series of lectures and papers that will focus on digital literacies, media literacies and linguistic literacies and will be disseminated on the project’s website and through public workshops featuring noted experts in the field. The initial meetings are taking place virtually, but plans are to travel between the United States and Germany when international travel resumes.

The two programs have enjoyed a close relationship since 2012, partnering on an annual transatlantic seminar in which graduate students and faculty from both universities gather for an intensive week to discuss a topic from the broad realm of literary and media studies and explore the cities in which they are meeting.

A group from UC has traveled to Essen four times and a group from UDE has visited Cincinnati three times since the beginning of this partnership, which has been funded on the UC side by the Graduate School and the Taft Research Center, as well as the Department of German Studies. A planned joint seminar in conjunction with the University of Namibia in Windhoek had been planned for March 2020, but has been postponed until international travel can resume.