Department of Germanic Studies

Graduate Student Research Forum

Germanic Studies Graduate Association at UT-Austin

Fri, February 17, 2012 | Burdine 337

3:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Signal Mutter
Signal Mutter

Title: The Instrumentalized and Missing Mothers in Signal

Presenter: Cindy Walter-Gensler, Ph.D. Student, Dept. of Germanic Studies

When thinking of mothers in the context of Nazi Germany, commonly images of smiling, dirndl wearing women, surrounded by children come to mind. Consequently, one would also expect to find such images in a propaganda magazine like Signal. Yet a 1944 article which talks about how having children alone makes life worth living for Germans does not refer to mothers at all. This is only one of numerous cases where mothers are textually and visually detached from articles dealing with children and family related topics. On the other hand, mothers figure prominently in the context of soldiers and warfare. This paper addresses this discrepancy, arguing that the mothers’ diverse representation in Signal relates to different propagandistic reasons as well as an instrumentalized understanding of motherhood during the Nazi period.


Title: Kiezdeutsch in Language Education Practice and Policy

Presenter: David Huenlich, Ph.D. Student, Dept. of Germanic Studies

From April 2006 to June2010, I was part of a team that developed a pedagogic response to some of the basic problems that can be observed in the immigrant communities in Leipzig. Like most immigrant youth in Germany, they end up in the two lowest school tracks (Förderschule and Hauptschule) and often leave the school system without a degree. The children we worked with spoke an immigrant German vernacular now commonly known as Kiezdeutsch. In my Ph.D. research, I investigate the lexical field of motion verbs in order to show how Kiezdeutsch should be better understood as a full-scale contact language, rather than a transitional youth language. This would directly imply changes in educational policy, since whenever Kiezdeutsch interferes with written Standard German, we would no longer be looking at inappropriate style switching but at real L2 interference effects. Such policies and corresponding pedagogical approaches to varieties such as U.S. Spanish and African American Vernacular English have been effective in the United States and could possibly be adapted to a German educational setting.


Light refreshments will be served.

Also sponsored by the UT Graduate Student Assembly.

For more information about this and other GSGA-UT events, e-mail

Sponsored by: Department of Germanic Studies, Germanic Studies Graduate Association at UT-Austin, UT Graduate Student Assembly

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