Author Archives: koernerm

Dr. Nancy Nenno’s article “Black Austrian Studies: Here to Stay” appears in “Rethinking Black German Studies”

Congratulations to Dr. Nancy Nenno, whose article “Black Austrian Studies: Here to Stay” just appeared in the book Rethinking Black German Studies. Approaches, interventions and Histories. with Peter Lang press.

The volume’s editors, Tiffany N. Florvil and Vanessa D. Plumly, summarize her article in their introduction: “Nancy P. Nenno uses her chapter to probe Black German Studies as strictly limited to the confines of Germany’s national borders. In her piece, she brings the oft-overlooked Black Austrian Diaspora into the broader picture and reinserts Black Austrian individuals, their bodies and voices into historical narratives in the process. Nenno traces the lineage of Black Austrians in the Habsburg Empire to the present day, providing a cohesive introduction to their activism that has intently sought to bring Blackness in the Austrian context to light and to counter existing historical narratives that have all but erased their presence. She articulates thta while the predominance of source text on and the visibility of Black Germans has been positive, there remains a dearth of scholarship and a silence surrounding Black Austrians. In connecting two temporally disjointed moments, Nenno signifies the overlapping layers of what it means to be Black in Austria in the past and present. She also helps to restore Black Austrians’ agential voice, demonstrating their significant legacy, presence, and political engagement in this predominantly white country” (23).

Dr. Nancy Nenno appointed co-organizer of the Black Diaspora Network of the German Studies Association

Dr. Nancy Nenno, Professor of German at the College of Charleston, has been appointed co-organizer of the Black Diaspora Network of the German Studies Association from 2019 to 2021. A scholar of 20th century German literature and cinema, Dr. Nenno specializes in Black German and Austrian Studies; recent publications by Dr. Nenno include “Elective Paternities: Germans and African Americans in Hugo Bettauer’s Das blaue Mal (1922),” German Studies Review 39.2: 259-77, and “Reading the Schwarz in the Schwarz-Rot-Gold: Black German Studies in the 21st Century.” Transit 10.2 Special Topic: The Future of the Past, guest eds. Susanne Baackmann and Nancy P. Nenno.

Dr. Morgan Koerner elected to 3-year term on the Executive Council of the American Association of Teachers of German

Congratulations to Dr. Morgan Koerner, Associate Professor of German and Chair of the German and Russian Studies Program at CofC, who was elected to a 3-year term as the Southeast regional Representative to the Executive Council of the American Association of Teachers of German beginning in January 2019.

Dr. Nancy Nenno and Dr. Sarah Koellner present at annual German Studies Association Conference in Pittsburgh

This weekend, two faculty members from CofC’s German and Russian Studies department presented at the annual German Studies Association Conference in Pittsburgh. Dr. Nancy Nenno, Professor of German, gave a presentation entitled “Here to Stay: Black Austrian Studies” on the panel “Rethinking Black German Studies.” Dr. Sarah Koellner, Visiting Assistant Professor of German, presented a paper on Birgit Kempker, Maxim Biller, and Alban Nikolai Herbt in the three-day seminar “On the Very Concept of Autofiction: Theory and History” and was a respondent for the panel ““The (Socio)-Political Role of Football in 20th-Century German Film and Literature.”

CofC German Faculty and Students attend SC-AATG fall workshop at USC

This Saturday, Sept. 22nd, CofC German program faculty Dr. Morgan Koerner and Dr. Sarah Koellner and incoming CofC adjunct instructor of German Stevie Laughead attended the annual workshop of the South Carolina chapter of the American Association of Teachers of German on the campus of the University of South Carolina. 30 participants attended the workshop and there were six presentations on different German teaching strategies, tools, and topics from K-16 German teachers throughout the state, followed by an open forum and planning session led by current SCAATG president Dr. Morgan Koerner.

One of the big takeaways of the workshop: there are great things with German happening in education in South Carolina, and we have a clear and strong need to get more German teachers into the system as programs grow and retiring colleagues need to be replaced! Here at CofC we are working hard to do our part and were elated that German and education double majors Denicee Becker ’20 and Lauren Smith ’22 made it up to the workshop as well!

The future is bright for German and education in the state of SC and we are grateful to all of the German teachers and teachers-in-training that are making it so!

Where are they now? Capers Rumph ’09 (German and History)

When German and History double major Capers Rumph received the outstanding German student award in 2009, the German faculty noted that she was a “poster child for our mission at the school of Language Cultures and World Affairs: she studied a specific language and culture, German, but used that cultural encounter as a springboard to become a responsible and engaged world citizen.”

We caught up with her recently to hear what she has been doign since graduation, and were not in the least surprised that she continues to be an inspiring Paradebeispiel (paradigmatic example) of our misssion here in LCWA. Capers, we are so proud of and inspired by you!

Capers Rumph on the Ganges river in Varanasi, India.

What have you been doing since you graduated and what are you up to now?

Since graduating, I’ve had the privilege of working and/or traveling in 50 countries, sailing across the Atlantic, advocating for an end to the war in eastern DR Congo, managing an ethical textiles company in Ghana, learning to grow vegetables on a farm that is working to dismantle racism in the food system, photograph trips to Burma, India, Sri Lanka, and Japan with a group of radical peace activist Buddhist monks, and a handful of other interesting things.

Right now, I’m living in Portland, Oregon, balancing my time between farming, construction work, resisting the rise of fascism, and making art.

How did studying German in the School of Languages and World Affairs prepare you be a global citizen?

Studying German taught me how to learn a language. It was my first second language, and the experience laid the groundwork to add third and fourth (and hopefully more eventually!) languages to the mix. I think that being able to communicate with people across languages and cultures is an invaluable skill — and this being able to understand/converse with people has taught me to trust people and has fundamentally shaped one of my core beliefs that, “people are good”. This understanding, which for me came by way of “learning how to learn a language,” is essential to contributing to the de-escalation and redirection of the ignorance fueled polarization, fear mongering, and general slide into plutocratic fascism that marks this moment in history.

For more on Capers’ journey and her photography, see her website: www.theoppositeofwar.com

German program alumna Dona Totova Lacayo featured in CofC magazine

Dona Totova Lacayo ’05, the chief commercial and public affairs officer at the Port of Hueneme (wy-NEEM-ee) in California, minored in German along with her major in International Business at CofC and enjoyed courses with Herr Della Lana and Dr. Baginski during her studies. She is featured in this summer’s edition of CofC’s magazine (see below) and we followed up with her to ask what role German has played in her many career successes.

Her response: “The German minor at the College of Charleston has given me the confidence and ability to use the language on business trips to Germany and while working with clients and business partners that also use the language. Knowing the German language has been extremely helpful throughout my career, connecting with people is key to continued collaboration and great business relationships.”

Congratulations on all of your successes Dona, and we look forward to following your career as it arcs ever upward!

Alumna Runs a Tight Ship