German Department Inaugurates Max Kade Guest Professorship with Prof. Birgit Dahlke (Humboldt University, Berlin)
In the spring semester of 2011, Georgetown College’s German department will welcome a new visiting professor courtesy of a sponsorship awarded by the Max Kade Foundation—and co-sponsored by the College. This high distinction, shared by only a handful of other American institutions, will bring a notable German scholar or writer to the Hilltop for one semester each year. Birgit Dahlke of the Humboldt University in Berlin will begin teaching at Georgetown. Dahlke teaches modern and contemporary German literature.
The Max Kade Foundation was formed in 1944 by Dr. Max Kade, a German immigrant to New York who prospered in America in the early 1900s as a pharmaceutical researcher. Though it was initially founded to assist victims of World War II, the Foundation has established a long tradition of promoting German-American educational initiatives.
Georgetown’s German department strives to engage students in intercultural competence through the German language. Thus, the addition of a visiting German professor will help enhance the department’s mission. “(The Max Kade guest professorship) will foster the intellectual and cultural life of the department overall,” says Professor Friederike Eigler, chair of the German department.
The German department plans to alternate annually between a visiting professor and a writer-in-residence. Though each scholar’s particular field of expertise will not be a primary factor in determining Max Kade professors, his or her commitment to Georgetown’s students will always be a priority for professors: “The focus is to find someone who is really going to be involved in the department and interested in the students,” said Eigler.
For a student interested in studying German at Georgetown, there are ample opportunities to learn the language and experience the German culture. While many majors and minors in the department choose to study abroad in Germany each semester, Washington, D.C. offers a rich array of German cultural experiences nearby. The Goethe Institut, Germany’s international network of cultural institutions, has a local branch where Georgetown students have attended film viewings and exhibits. The German Embassy is located just blocks from the Georgetown campus. Though students have these convenient cultural resources, the Max Kade guest professor will offer an academic dimension of German-American exchange and complement the resources that are already available.
Says Eigler, “Hopefully [the guest professors] will benefit from their stay here and we will benefit from their academic expertise and their insights into German culture.”
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