On March 5, 2021, three MHC German Studies seniors participated in the annual 5 College German Studies Undergraduate Symposium. Senior majors Ashton Bliss and Colleen Minor and senior minor Sophia Karr joined three other German Studies students from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and Amherst College to present their research (in German) over Zoom.
Ashton Bliss, a double major in German Studies and Politics, presented the paper “Von den Strassen Jenas bis zur Friedlichen Revolution: Dissident*innen in den achtziger Jahren der DDR” ("From the Streets of Jena to the Peaceful Revolution: Dissidents in the German Democratic Republic in the 1980s").
"I found that East German Dissonance has a long history, most of which has been forgotten. The events that ended up shaping Germany today, and lead to the fall of the Berlin Wall began with the efforts of young dissidents, fed up with the intense policing of their society. I was inspired to write about this after doing a project on the Punk movement in the German Democratic Republic in a class a couple years ago, which was politicized by the GDR government. I'm continually surprised about how lost key people and facets of history become. I'm excited to continue to work with this subject, and shine a light on these individuals who were pivotal in Germany's history." Link to Ashton’s abstract: Senior Symposium Abstract ABliss
Sophia Karr, an Environmental Studies major and German Studies minor, presented the paper “Rückverfolgung des Atomenergie Fallouts: Die transnationale Politik nach Tschernobyl in Deutschland” ("Tracing Atomic Fallout: The transnational Politics of the Chernobyl Disaster in East Germany").
“I wanted to look into Chernobyl because I think it is one of those events that everyone knows about but people don't examine. We've all heard about what happened and maybe we've seen the HBO Miniseries but beyond that it usually ends. Chernobyl had a huge effect on the global politic and it changed how the entire world saw the Soviet Union in 1986. I say in the intro to the podcast that it was the beginning of the end and the Soviets never fully recovered after the accident. They were a country obsessed with not being humiliated and they did it to themselves. This only added to the economic issues the Soviets were facing and as the main financial supporter of East Germany it could only lead one place. Civil unrest was rising in the DDR and economic aid from the USSR was failing, in part because of Chernobyl; then in 1989 the Wall fell. Is it because of Chernobyl? Maybe? Maybe not? The nuclear power plant disaster did have major effects on East Germany and all of Soviet-supported Europe and less than five years later the USSR ended.”
Link to Sophia Karr’s podcast: Tschernobyl Podcast Final.mp3
Colleen Molnar, a double major in German Studies and Geography, presented the paper “Von Guten Morgen Du Schöne (1978) bis Winter Adé (1988): Das vielfältige Alltagsleben und die wechselhaften Erfahrungen von Frauen in der DDR” (“From Good Morning, You Lovely (1978) to Goodbye Winter (1988): The Multifaceted Everyday Life and Changing Experiences of Women in the GDR”).
“I was interested in learning more about women's movements in the late 20th century and how feminist politics in East Germany were different than in the West, because I think as the relatively recent past, they still have an effect on the present. My project centers on a case study of a book and film that interview women a decade apart in the GDR about their lives, experiences, and opinions. Something I found interesting was how, although laws changed so that women were all workers too, the system was still built for men and women were expected to conform to it. Private life did not change at the rate that working life did either, which is one of the main themes of my paper.” Link to Colleen’s abstract.
The Symposium was sponsored by Mount Holyoke College German Studies, Amherst College German Department, and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst German and Scandinavian Studies.
Undergraduate Research Symposium Schedule
Five College German Studies Undergraduate Research Symposium
March 5, 2021
3-5:05 pm EST
Moderated by Professor Christian Rogowski, Amherst College
Opening Remarks: Professor Karen Remmler, Mount Holyoke College
Panel 1: (3:05-4 pm):
Colleen Molnar (Mount Holyoke College): "Von Guten Morgen Du Schöne (1978) bis Winter Adé (1988): Das vielfältige Alltagsleben und die wechselhaften Erfahrungen von Frauen in der DDR."
Franziska Bright (University of Massachusetts Amherst): "Sprache, Arbeit und Sichtbarkeit: Wessen Kompetenz wird geschätzt?"
Ashton Bliss (Mount Holyoke College): "Von den Strassen Jenas bis zur Friedlichen Revolution: Dissident*innen in den achtziger Jahren der DDR."
Panel 2: (4:05-5 pm):
Koun Yun (Amherst College): "Recycling in Deutschland."
Sophia Karr (Mount Holyoke College): "Rückverfolgung des Atomenergie Fallouts: Die transnationale Politik nach Tschernobyl in Deutschland."
Christoph Nüsslein (University of Massachusetts Amherst): "Nachhaltige Autos: Wie können sie die Umwelt schützen?"
Closing Remarks: Professor Ela Gezen, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Co-sponsored by Amherst College German Department, Mount Holyoke College German Studies and University of Massachusetts, Amherst German and Scandinavian Studies