German Undergraduate Research Conference

April 2, 2014

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— The third annual German Undergraduate Research Conference (GURC) will take place at Illinois Wesleyan Friday, April 4 through Saturday, April 5 in the Memorial Center and State Farm Hall. The conference provides an opportunity for German students from universities around the country to present their research in the German language through poster and student panel sessions.

The keynote address will be given on Saturday by Cyrus Shahan, assistant professor of German at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. His speech is titled, “Die ‘härteste Band von allen’: Die RAF, ästhetische Gewalt und westdeutscher Punk.” / “The ‘Most Hard Core Band of All’: The RAF, Aesthetic Violence and West German Punk.”

Five IWU German majors that will present their work at the conference are: Annika Ewaldz ’14, Cameron Leberecht ’16, Abigail Lyons ’14, Michael Roy ’14 and Emma Vander Woude ’15.

“Presenting at a conference provides valuable experience for whatever a student will choose to do after graduation,” said Adam Woodis, IWU visiting assistant professor of German. “The students’ research spans a broad range of topics, from an analysis of the linguistic impact on the German language of Martin Luther’s Bible translation, to an examination of Thomas Mann’s wartime radio speeches, to an investigation into the prevalence—or lack thereof—of feminist influences on modern fictional detectives in literature and film.”

Universities that will also participate in the conference include: Emory University in Atlanta, Ga.; Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa; Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio; Knox College in Galesburg, Ill.; Lawrence College in Appleton, Wis.; the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, N.M.; New York University in New York, N.Y.; the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas; the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Ind.; the University of Portland in Portland, Ore.; Reed College in Portland, Ore.; Ripon College in Ripon, Wis.; Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Ind. and the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Madison, Wis. A total of 32 students will present at the conference.

The conference is sponsored by the Mellon “Re-Centering the Humanities” Grant, Student Senate, the Language Resource Center (LRC) Committee and departmental funds associated with the Isaac Funk Endowed Professorship held by Marina Balina, professor of Russian Studies.

“My hope for the future is that by having GURC exist as a presentation opportunity, more students across the country will engage in research in the German language, thereby increasing interest in and knowledge of a very engaging and complex area of Europe with a rich and diverse history and culture—a culture that has had a profound impact on the culture of the United States,” said Woodis.

For additional information, contact Sonja Fritzsche, associate professor of German and eastern European studies, at or Woodis, at

Contact: Danielle Kamp ‘15 (309) 556-3181,