German Language and Literatures
Department Chair:
Elizabeth Hamilton

Administrative Assistant:
Polly Bratton

Department Email:

Phone: 440 7758650
Fax: 440 7756355

Peters Hall 222
50 N. Professor St.
Oberlin, OH, 44074

Office Hours: 8:30a - noon and 1:00p - 3:30p

Current Writer-in-Residence

Current Writer-in-Residence

Writer, journalist, and translator Susanne Schädlich

will read from and discuss her book

December, Time and Again: The West, the Stasi, the Uncle, and Me.

Tues. Oct. 11, 7:00 pm. Craig Auditorium (Science Center) Schädlich is the Max Kade German Writer-in-Residence for the fall semester of 2011 at Oberlin College. She was born in East Germany. Her family was forced to move to West Germany when she was twelve because her father, a writer, ran afoul of the regime. In the early 1990s, after reunification, she learned that her father's brother had worked for many years as an informant for the East German Secret Police. December, Time and Again is an exploration of the complicated histories of her family and of post-war Germany, and an autobiographical account of what it meant to come of age in exile, caught in a no man's land between two seemingly similar yet very different cultures. "For forty years East Germany was a dictatorship. But after 1961, most of its almost seventeen million citizens did nothing against it. Today when you remind them of this fact, when you tell the truth, they feel personally attacked. They feel a sense of guilt. That makes it difficult to talk about coercion and cowardice. It also engenders a nostalgia – “Ostalgie” – for the past, and an idealization of the political reality of life in the DDR. .... We can’t deal with history by putting on rose-tinted glasses. We must find the courage to tell the truth." Part of the lecture and film series Remembering Communism: The Poetics and Politics of Nostalgia marking the twentieth anniversary of the dissolution of the Soviet Union An Event Sponsored by The Department of German Language and Literatures The Oberlin Center for Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies The Department of Russian Language, Literature, and Culture FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

We welcome Barbara Köhler as our 41st Max Kade German Writer-in-Residence at Oberlin College.

Barbara Köhler is a major poet, translator, essayist, and mixed media artist who is highly regarded in Germany today. Köhler grew up and was educated in the former East Germany. Born in the state of Saxony in 1959, she held various positions in theater in Karl-Marx-Stadt (now Chemnitz) and studied at the Institut für Literatur in Leipzig. Köhler currently lives in Duisburg. Köhler’s published works include many volumes of poetry and mixed media. These include Blue Box (1995); Deutsches Roulette. Gedichte. 1984–1989 (1991);  Niemands Frau (2007); and Wittgensteins Nichte. Vermischte Schriften (1999).

An accomplished literary translator, Köhler has published three volumes of translation from English and French: Gertrude Stein’s zeit zum essen. eine tischgesellschaft (Audio-CD, ed. Urs Engeler, 2001); Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons / Zarte knöpft (Suhrkamp, 2004); and Samuel Beckett’s Mirlitonnades / Trötentöne (Bibliothek Suhrkamp, 2005).

Köhler is noted as well for her collaboration with poets and artists from diverse fields, an attribute of her work that we especially hope to support here in Oberlin. Her audio, visual, and spatial installations offer an intensive examination of language and art. Köhler’s overarching goal is to explore the many dimensions of texts and the relationship among media. She pays special attention to tone and rhythm, and is known as well for her wonderful sense of humor.

Barbara Köhler was Writer-in-Residence in the city of Rheinsberg in 1995 and at the University of Warwick in 1997. For her poetry and collaborative work, Köhler has received a number of significant prizes. These include the Joachim-Ringelnatz-Preis (2008); Samuel-Bogumil-Linde-Literaturpreis (2003); Förderpreis zum Lessing-Preis des Freistaates Sachsen (2001); Literaturpreis des Ruhrgebietes (1999); Förderpreis Literatur des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen (1997); Clemens-Brentano-Preis der Stadt Heidelberg (1996); Förderpreis zum Else-Lasker-Schüler-Preis (1994); Förderpreis zum Hölderlin-Preis der Stadt Bad Homburg (1992); Förderpreis zum Leonce-und-Lena-Preis (1991); and the Preis der Jürgen Ponto-Stiftung (1990).

Barbara Köhler’s work has moreover garnered notable attention from scholars in the United States and in Europe. Since the appearance of the book Entgegenkommen: Dialogues with Barbara Köhler (Amsterdam, Netherlands: Rodopi; 2000), several important critical studies of Köhler’s work have appeared in major journals. These include German Life and Letters; Colloquia Germanica: Internationale Zeitschrift für Germanistik; and Gegenwartsliteratur: A German Studies Yearbook.