Category Archives: Campus & Local

A mole on the campus

20170707_113730_edited_oval.jpegHi, let me introduce myself. My name is Stefie; like you, I’m a student at the university of Augsburg and I’m rather short-sighted. Please, let me assure you that I’m not one of those disabled super heroes who are often shown on TV or mentioned in newspapers. What I mean is that I’m short-sighted, but none of my other senses have developed in an extraordinary way. I’m a completely average student struggling, more or less, with the same issues as you.

Hail to the public transport service

I have to consider things that have possibly never occurred to you. Take, for example, the criteria for choosing the university you wanted to go to. In my case, I not only had to take into account the subject I wanted to study, or if I liked the city the university is situated in, but also if the university is one where everything is on the same site or if it’s easily accessible with the public transport system, or not. I’m not able to drive a car or cycle so I completely rely on the more or less (in some cases rather less) efficient public transport system, my own two feet or the help of my family for getting from point A to point B.

A mole in sheep’s clothing

What’s more, I have to tell people who I’m in a professional or close relationship with about my disability. So if you met me, you wouldn’t know that my short-sightedness is so strong. See, I’m a mole in perfect disguise; I wear glasses, but so do hundreds of other students. The difference is that many can perceive the world like completely healthy persons if they’re wearing their glasses, but for me this doesn’t work. Mine can only help me to perceive the contrast between different things more easily. And, so I’m talking about this to avoid misunderstandings like “I waved at you but you completely ignored me…”.

Communication, communication…

Of course, communication is very important for me because even when people know about my poor eyesight, I can’t expect them to think about it all the time. Take the lecturers at  university, for example; the majority of them are very nice and I’ve met no one who refused to help me or to make the slides for the presentation bigger so that I could follow the course. In order to be able to help me, they have to know that I have this kind of problem; and I have to remind them from time to time because they’ve not only got me sitting in front of them but sometimes over a hundred of students to think about.

‘Inclusion’ – what a wonderful word

In general, I like studying here but there are some things that still need to be improved. For example, there’s no general information anywhere on university website for people with disabilities. Well, there is someone you can consult for questions about studying with a handicap. But, it’s very difficult to approach this person and when you finally do, don’t expect too much. He probably doesn’t know more than you do.

 

Author & Pictures: Stefanie Sohnle

An interview with Prof. Dr. Catriona Seth

Portrait

Could you please introduce yourself and your work?

I was lucky enough to be brought up in several different countries (England, Scotland, Switzerland, Venezuela and Belgium) and to go to university in the U.K. and in France. Until 18 months ago I worked in France, as a professor at the Université de Lorraine in Nancy, which has a joint study programme with Augsburg, thanks to Rotraud von Kulessa, my colleague in Romanistik. I am now the Professor of French at Oxford, which is wonderful. I am a fellow of All Souls, a beautiful College in the centre of Oxford—and my study overlooks the iconic Radcliffe Camera.

Which role do languages play in your life?

As I was brought up speaking both French and English, languages are a way of life and a part of my identity. I also love learning new words and how they work or where they come from. I’m sorry not to have more occasions to speak some of the foreign languages I have studied—or picked up along the way. I’m happy that by spending time in Augsburg I am getting to practise some German.

What is your favourite book?

It would be impossible for me to choose a single book. A couple of French novels I find admirable are Laclos’ Liaisons dangereuses, which I have edited, and Flaubert’s Madame Bovary. I enjoy reading widely, fiction, poetry, but also non-fiction.

How did you develop your passion for literary studies?

I have always loved reading. I had some inspirational teachers at school. I really enjoy my job!

Could you please briefly explain your project (Transcultural European Literature) with Ms. Kulessa here in Augsburg?

Rotraud von Kulessa and I have worked together quite frequently. Our most recent venture is an anthology of Enlightenment texts about Europe (originally written in French, German, Spanish, Italian and English) which are freely downloadable.

We put the anthology together in French, very rapidly, for it to come out before the French elections. My colleagues and 121 students in Oxford have translated it into English and we managed to have it ready for the first anniversary of the Brexit referendum, which many of us consider to have been a very regrettable day for Great Britain and for Europe.  You can read The Idea of Europe. Enlightenment Perspectives free online here:

There will also be a German translation with the help of students from Augsburg.

Which topic have you worked on so far?

I have done a lot of work on the novel and poetry in the eighteenth century, but also on women’s memoirs. There is a cultural history aspect to some of my research: I have written on Marie Antoinette as a literary and historical figure, for example. I also have an interest in medical humanities and have looked at smallpox inoculation in the eighteenth century and its impact on mentalities.

What are your goals for your stay at the University of Augsburg?Uni_Aug_Logo_JFZ_RGB(1)

I’m looking forward to learning about how teaching is organised here. I enjoyed the Aktionstag called Gegen einfache Wahrheiten, which brought students and teaching staff together in a less formal way, to discuss wide-ranging social concerns, and involved engaging with the wider public.

What relevance does the work with the students have for you?

As I mentioned, I enjoy teaching. I always learn new things when preparing my classes. I enjoy the contact with the students, which is intellectually stimulating.

Why did you choose Augsburg for the guest professorship?

I was invited to Augsburg and am delighted to be here. I very much enjoy working with Rotraud von Kulessa. I am looking forward to looking into some of the bibliographical treasures in the Augsburg libraries. I also hope to visit some of the parts of Bavaria I do not know and to take advantage of the natural and cultural resources of this beautiful part of Europe.

 

Author: Janina Girschick, Andrea Schneider

Pictures:  Catriona Seth, Jakob-Fugger-Zentrum

Augsburger Sommernächte

Thousands of people in the streets. The streets turn into stages. Different squares turn into dancing areas. In the centre of the city people, feast and dance to various sounds. Well, let me tell you what I’m talking about: the Augsburger Sommernächte. This event took place for the second time this year from Thursday June 28th until July 1st. For those of you who participated this year it should be crystal clear why it’s definitely worth a visit. For all those who don’t know why they should actually go there, I’ll givAS5e a few convincing reasons. But first of all, some of you may not even know what the Augsburger Sommernächte are…

What is it?

Augsburger Sommernächte is probably the largest party in the whole of Augsburg and the surrounding region. Some restaurants and bars spill into the streets, and sell all kind of foods you’ve never dreamt of. The nightly entertainment also keeps the place bustling: all over the city thirteen areas present nearly every imaginable kind of music! From mainstream to HipHop straight to Indie – everybody of all ages get their money’s worth. From the Königplatz over the Maxstraße to the Rathausplatz – the whole city is a party, and takes place from 5pm to 1am.

A few reasons why..

It’s not just like one party, but many morphed into one! You can spend quality time with your friends under the clear night sky, because who doesn’t prefer a party under the stars instead of spending the night in a muggy club? AS3The Sommernächte also gives you the chance to meet new people. Everybody’s in a good mood and always ready for a chat! Apart from this social aspect, what is really cool is that the Neue Szene presents newcomers. Not only young bands try to entertain the people with their music, but also poetry slammers who try to catch the listener’s attention with their own texts.

Next to the small stages that are spread all over the Maxstraße, you’ll find delicious food from all over the world. It’s like a mini street food market. These smells of freshly made falafel, curry and burgers make you think you’re on holiday in Ibiza. All of these new impressions are so overwhelming that you will need to go there again in order to see everything! Unlike an expensive holiday, the Sommernächte don’t cost anything (but you’re not allowed to take any kind of food or drinks with you).

Save the date!AS4

So, I’ve not completely convinced you? Take a look yourself! Next year the Sommernächte will take place from 28th June to 1st July. So what are you waiting for? Take out your calendars and mark the date!

Author: Chiara Leick

Pictures: CIA Veranstaltungs GmbH

What goes on behind closed doors?

anglistentheaterOn Thursday, 6th July, the Anglistentheater premiered their latest play “Speaking in tongues”, by Andrew Bovell.

Have you ever wondered how other people cope with their problems? How they seek a cure for their emotional wounds? This play starts by showing us a pretty drastic way of handling an unstable marriage: cheating. Jane is married to Pete and Sonja is married to Leon, yet here our play starts with everyone in a cheap hotel room with the other’s partner. But only Leon and Jane go through with it. Disaster unfolds and Pete leaves Jane and Sonja leaves Leon and as the guys meet each other in one bar and the girls in another, they find that judging and forgiving is harder said than done.

At this point, I was kind of bored, thinking “Great. Another modern play about adultery. So innovative…”, but as the play unfolded it left me speechless. It’s about so much more than just that. It’s a play about mutual love and unrequited love. About unconditional love and doubted love. About trust and betrayal. About therapist and client. About murder and innocence. About sanity and mental illness. About past and present. And about cruelty and kindness. It’s a play about Leon, Sonja, Pete, Jane, Valerie, Sarah, Nick, Neil and John. Each with their own story but still intertwined through all these elements.

I won’t go into further detail, since I don’t wanna spoil the fun, but let me tell you: it’s shocking and mysterious. I also found it devastating to see what horrible things people want to happen to their “loved ones”, just for the sake of their own convenience… enough said.

Andrew Bovell has written an amazing play about the depths of human relationships and the enormous impact apparently small acts can have. The Anglistentheater has done a great job performing it. The actors were marvelous and the stage design really paid attention to detail and came up with great concepts. You could really see how much time, effort and practice everyone had put into making a fabulous premiere.

I recommend you go and see the play for yourself – it’s amazing. But make sure to borrow one of the cushions (the play takes about 2:15 hours, and, let’s be honest, a lecture theatre isn’t that comfy.

Speaking in tongues will be performed on Tuesday 11th and Thursday 13th July 2017

At 8 p.m. in Hörsaal II

 

 

Author: Michaela Lappler

Picture: Anglistentheater

Summer in the city

RathausplatzAre you still looking for cool things to do in Augsburg to enjoy this wonderful weather?

There are tons of fun things, like sitting on Rathausplatz and having some ice-cream, going strawberry picking, visiting the zoo, lying by the Lech, taking part in the Augsburger Sommernächte, and so on. So here are my top four summer destinations in Augsburg…

Lechflimmern

If you want to watch a movie, but you feel bad staying inside when it’s hot, Lechflimmern is right for you. It’s an open-air cinema at the Familienbad am Plärrer, which shows movies every day in July outside on a big screen. Unfortunately, you can’t take any food or something to drink, so you have to buy it there. Chairs are set up for you, but you can also bring a blanket to sit on. The doors open at 8pm and the movie starts when the sun sets. This summer, there are movies like Die Schöne und das Biest, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 or Baywatch (they’re all in German only). You can look up their complete programme on the website.

Wertach + Kulperhütte

Cycle to the Wertach, which flows through Augsburg. You can relax and have something to eat and drink at the Kulperhütte, a beer garden in Göggingen with deckchairs, cool drinks and delicious food,Sonnendeck such as vegetarian cuisine, traditional Bavarianand pastries (I recommend their fries, which are really good!) Or you take your own food and have a picnic at the Wertach. Tip: take some home-made iced tea and impress your friends.

Sonnendeck

This is where I really get into the summer mood, a kind of holidayfeeling, with my feet in the sand and a cocktail in my hand.  Every summer the roof terrace at Parkhaus Ludwigstraße is filled with sand. There are deckchairs, music, food and cool drinks for a perfect mix of rooftop- and beach party without having to pay admission.

Kuhsee, Proviantbach, Plärrerbad

If you like swimming and sunbathing, you should definitely check out these three places!

First there is the Kuhsee, a lake in Augsburg-Hochzoll, which has a large lawn, where lots of people, youngIced_Tea_Recipe and old, enjoy sunbathing, having barbecues or playing frisbee, badminton and volleyball.

Then there is Proviantbach, which is a cold-water stream. You get in and don’t even have to swim because the current takes you as far as you like. Every fifty meters you can get out by climbing up a ladder. I recommend only going there when it’s very hot outside because the water is really chilly, which is perfect for hot summer days.

If you prefer heated water, I recommend the Familienbad am Plärrer, which has five different pools for every age.

So go for it! And have a great time!

 

Author: Julia Messing
Images: Julia Messing and Eva Sitzberger

Do whatever you want – Mach halt was du willst

Summer is coming and it’s the festival season again! And everyone loves festivals, right? Of course, there’s the music, but that’s not all there is to it. It’s the feeling of being out with your friends, drinking beer in the sun with music all around you, escaping reality, almost like being on a holiday. So isn’t it great having a festival right on your doorstep? The Modular Festival has been taking place since 2009 and it’s been at the congress centre since 2012. Its aim is not only to bring international, national and especially local artists onto the stage, but also to offer workshops for the whole family and support local sports groups.

Modular-DachMusic

The music is probably the main (but not the only) reason to go. This year, over 50 artists and bands are going to show what they can do on four stages: two outside in the park and two inside the centre. There’s Kakkmaddafakka, Moop Mama, RY X, Hundreds, Maeckes & die Katastrophen, Megaloh, Faber, Sxn, Die Höchste Eisenbahn, Fotos and MC Bomber, just to name a few. You might not know them yet, but there’s a little info about them on the festival’s website and you can listen to the Modular Spotify playlist. And maybe after the festival you’ll have a new favourite band.

Modular-night

Workshops and other things to do
Modular is not only music: it offers art exhibitions by different painters, designers and sculptors and performance acts such as a rap battle, a poetry slam and a magician. There’s the Pop Convention, where you can make and discuss music with professionals and a ‘creative market’, where you can make art yourself. It’s also not only a festival for adults: there’s a kids’ programme with a whole ‘Modular Kids Village’.
Apart from the different kinds of art, there are two sports events you can watch: the ‘BMX EX&HOP (international contest series)’ and the ‘Bavarian Miniramp Mastership’, an open skateboard contest. No matter if you’re into those sports or not – it’s amazing to watch!

 

For the physical well-being
Even though you can’t bring your own food, believe me, you won’t starve! The festival supports local providers of food and drinks. You can get the local beer or free drinking water and to eat there’s everything as pizza, burgers, sandwiches, tacos, ice cream, crêpes and so on… No matter if you’re a vegan, a vegetarian or a meat lover – there’s something for you.

Info-box

Want to learn more?
Visit the festival’s homepage! www.modular-festival.de
Author: Sophia Brandt

Pictures: Stephan Brandt (roofop), Lukas Holzfurtner (night)

Gegen einfache Wahrheiten

How would you define home? Can you have more than just one? Have you ever read a text written by a refugee? Are there ways of helping refugees escape the madness of German bureaucracy – at least for an hour a day? What’s it like teaching your own language and culture? And what do you learn about yourself while doing so? Do you believe everything you hear, read and see in the news? What about fake news? Are social media a more reliable way to get informed? How politically correct do you have to be and should we accept a lack of it?

All these questions were discussed on May 31st at the “Aktionstag: Gegen einfache Wahrheiten” held at the University of Augsburg and organized by the Faculty of Philology and History (http://www.presse.uni-augsburg.de/de/unipressedienst/2017/apr-juni/2017_090/).

20170531_172731-min

Asking

Twenty different seminars between 10:00 and 11:30 a.m. provided new input and an opportunity to discuss the different topics with other students and lecturers.

The seminar “Ich habe manchmal Heimweh. Ich weiß nur nicht wonach“, organized by the Fachschaft Komparatistik, was all about questions such as What is Heimat? Does everyone have one? Can we have more than one? How do we define the term and how does it feel to leave? Can we somehow relate to refugees who have had to leave the place they call Heimat? Are there maybe even more similarities than we would’ve thought?

While – of course – there were no concrete answers to all these questions, the discussion, including interviews with people who had moved, both within and across borders, was characterized by different views, funny anecdotes and many personal experiences.

 

Listening

The cultural event between 12:00 and 14:00 in HS I, moderated by Prof. Dr. Martin Middeke, was a colourful mix of musical contributions, presentations and readings.

Sadly, the band Jammu Afrika couldn’t perform, since their refugee-lead singer had to leave the country and go back to Senegal. Still, the band’s founder Markus Fleckenstein presented the project and played some recordings.

Anita Heckel read from her ‘parallel biography’ “Gratwanderung durch Gestern” and Prof. Dr. Miriam Zadoff gave an insight into living in Bloomington, Indiana, and teaching at the university after Trump’s election. Although we all recognize the worries of those Americans that didn’t vote for Trump, this personal report was touching and shocking at the same time.

“Milch ist der Zwilling von Teer / in weiß oder schwarz kann man lügen / Mutter schiebt ein Bonbon im Mund hin und her / Vater telefoniert mit den Fliegen“

Christina Rossi and her students presented their collage on this poem by Nobel prize winner Herta Müller.

Opera singer Cornelia Lanz presented her project “Zuflucht Kultur”. Together with Mazen Mohsen and three other Syrian refugees, she performed Arabic folk songs with the German translations and the audience fell in love with this music. One of these refugees, a Syrian girl, talked about how she experienced their dictatorial culture even in small groups of refugees in Germany and how lucky she is – and we should be – to live in a free and democratic country like this.

 

Acting

Between 15:00 and 17:00 pm, there were various readings and workshops in the city centre and, for example, a walk around the city highlighting important places related to migration.

 

Watching

At 6:00 pm, the movie “Willkommen bei den Hartmanns” was shown in HS I, followed by a panel discussion about how the movie reflects reality. Does it reflect Einfache Wahrheiten? Since the movie is a comedy, it deals with the topic in a slightly exaggerated fashion; maybe this is the right way to talk about a topic that’s not funny, because at least it’s a way to start raising awareness.

 

Authors and Picture: Sophia Brandt, Eva Sitzberger