Category Archives: Dept. News

September 26, 2015. 7pm The Music House. A Reading of Gerda Nischan’s “Letters to a Prisoner of War.”

An evening of reading, literature, history and music of World War II. RSVP to John O’Brien at at least 48 hours in advance if you wish to attend this event. This beautiful, old Victorian Music House is located in Downtown Greenville at 408 West 5th Street.

An evening of reading, literature, history and music of World War II
based on Gerda Nischan’s new book LETTERS to a Prisoner of War
Gerda Nischan, reader – Dr. Michael Gross, historian – Jessie Martin, soprano – John O’Brien, piano
The Letters in this book show what happened during World War II not only to the soldiers fighting on the front, but also to those waiting at home, the families. And, once the war was over, the struggle for survival continued, in the prisoner camps, and at home for the starving families, who waited for the prisoners to come home.
Gerda Nischan was born in Frankenthal in the Palatinate in 1940 and attended local schools until she left for Switzerland in 1958. Later she moved to England to attend an International Language School to further her education. In 1967 she left for the United States to work at the German Consulate in Philadelphia.
After her move to North Carolina she started writing seriously, joined the East Carolina University Poetry Forum; she published many of her poems in Poetry Journals, and started giving readings of her work in the US as well as in Germany. She has been a member of the Society for Contemporary Literature in German (SCALG) for many years and was invited to become a member of the P.E.N. Zentrum International in 2013.
Her book “Briefe an einen Kriegsgefangenen” was published in 2010 by August von Goethe Literaturverlag in Frankfurt. Her first novel in German, “Dieses neue Leben,” was published in 2013, also by the August von Goethe Literaturverlag in Frankfurt. In June 2014 she read her work at the 80-year conference of the P.E.N. International Conference in Los Angeles. She is presently working on her new novel.

Postcard from Paris

Dori St. Amant, Nicolas Medevielle and Marylaura Papalas in the Latin Quarter with students from the study abroad program. MLP: We spoke mainly in French throughout the meal. We all had a really nice time, and I was glad to see that the program is doing so well!

Innovation in Digital Humanities in CLAS 4000


Prof. Marylaura Papalas and her students created an interactive digital humanities website, as part of their spring 2015 course, CLAS 4000, Seminar in the Classics, on “Modern Greek Identities.” Prof. Papalas used the “Story Map Journal” application in ArcGIS online by Esri.

It presents an interactive map of Athens, with links and readings related to Amanda Michalopoulou’s 2003 novel, Why I Killed My Best Friend. The website was designed by Prof. Papalas. A majority of the contributions are from Jessica Rassau, who provided all the text. Jessica Rassau, Cameron Gross, and Brittany Cox contributed the voice recordings. Morgan Bridgers and Brianna Shugrue, along with the others, contributed to class discussions of the novel that culminated in the production of this website.

CLAS 4000 Spring 2015

Laura Levi Altstaedter to serve on the CAEP volunteer corps

Professor Laura Levi Altstaedter was nominated by The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) to represent it as a volunteer with the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), which appointed her as a Site Visitor. Prof. Levi Altstaedter has served for some time as lead reviewer for the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

The mission of the CAEP and its site visitors is to advance excellence in teacher education by providing evidence-based accreditation to assure the quality of programs and their continuous improvement. It serves more than 900 institutions that offer accredited programs in teacher education.

Students honored by Phi Beta Kappa Chapter of Eastern NC

PhiBetaKappaThe Eastern Carolina Alumni Association of Phi Beta Kappa honored five students from the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at the spring recognition ceremony hosted by the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences. Each student had a grade point average in excess of 3.93:

Erin Cottrell (Psychology and Hispanic Studies)
Sara Kurtz (Fine Arts and Hispanic Studies)
MacKenzie Alyn Mull (Hispanic Studies and Elementary Education)
Jessica Rassau (Classical Civilization)
Sara Sipe (Chemistry and German)



(left Sara Sipe, middle Jessie Rassau, right MacKenzie Mull)

» HCAS News Story

Purificación Martínez and John Given honored for their service to faculty governance


Profs. Martínez and Given were awarded medallions in honor of their leadership and significant contributions to ECU shared governance, on the occasion of the Faculty Senate’s 50th anniversary. There were 74 medallions awarded, including to all past chairs of the faculty as well as present and past faculty, staff and administrators who have helped shape the ECU system of shared governance. They were presented by Prof. Andrew Morehead, current Chair of the Faculty, at a reception hosted by the Chancellor on March 30,2015.

Prof. Puri Martínez has been the past Chair of the Faculty Governance Committee, and served for many years as Faculty Marshall. She has also been past president of the NC AAUP Faculty Conference, Vice-Chair of the AAUP Assembly of State Conferences, and through it a national leader in helping programs in danger of elimination. She has also been ECU delegate to the UNC Faculty Assembly, and has served on a great many UNC system initiatives and committees. Prof. John Given, current Vice-Chair of the Faculty, has been a member of the University Budget Committee and the University Committee on Fiscal Sustainability, which have advised the Chancellor on ways to respond to the university’s ongoing fiscal constraints.

New Books by FLL Faculty

9781137524546.inddBenjamin Fraser, Digital Cities. The Interdisciplinary Future of the Urban Geo-Humanities (Palgrave McMillan 2015). Digital Cities stakes claim to an interdisciplinary terrain where the humanities and social sciences combine with digital methods. Part I: Layers of the Interdisciplinary City converts a century of urban thinking into concise insights destined for digital application. Part II: Disciplinary/Digital Debates and the Urban Phenomenon delves into the bumpy history and uneven present landscape of interdisciplinary collaboration as they relate to digital urban projects. Part III: Toward a Theory of Digital Cities harnesses Henri Lefebvre’s capacious urban thinking and articulation of urban ‘levels’ to showcase where ‘deep maps’ and ‘thick mapping’ might take us. Benjamin Fraser argues that while disciplinary frictions still condition the potential of digital projects, the nature of the urban phenomenon pushes us toward an interdisciplinary and digital future where the primacy of cities is assured.


Dr. Fraser is also author of Toward an Urban Cultural Studies (Palgrave McMillan series in Hispanic Urban Studies 2015). Blending Urban Studies and Cultural Studies, this book grounds readers in the extensive theory of the prolific French philosopher Henri Lefebvre. Appropriate for both beginners and specialists, the first half of this book builds from a general introduction to Lefebvre and his methodological contribution toward a focus on the concept of urban alienation and his underexplored theory of the work of art. The second half merges Lefebvrian urban thought with literary studies, film studies and popular music studies, successively, before turning to the videogame and the digital humanities. Benjamin Fraser’s approach consistently emphasizes the interrelationship between cities, culture, and capital.

Jill Twark, ed., Envisioning Social Justice in Contemporary German Culture (Camden House Studies in German Literature, Linguistics, and Culture 2015). Social-injustice dilemmas such as poverty, unemployment, and racism are subjects of continuing debate in European societies and in Germany in particular, as solutions are difficult and progress often comes slowly. Such discussions are not limited to opposing newspaper editorials, position papers, or legislative forums, however; creative works expound on these topics as well, but their contributions to the debate are often marginalized.
This collection of new essays explores how contemporary German-language literary, dramatic, filmic, musical, and street artists are grappling with social-justice issues that affect Germany and the wider world, surveying more than a decade’s worth of works of German literature and art in light of the recent paradigm shift in cultural criticism called the “ethical turn.” Central themes include the legacy of the politically engaged 1968 generation, eastern Germany and the process of unification, widening economic disparity as a result of political policies and recession, and problems of integration and inclusivity for ethnic and religious minorities as migration to Germany has increased.

Contributors: Monika Albrecht, Olaf Berwald, Robert Blankenship, Laurel Cohen-Pfister, Jack Davis, Bastian Heinsohn, Axel Hildebrandt, Deborah Janson, Karolin Machtans, Ralf Remshardt, Alexandra Simon-López, Patricia Anne Simpson, Maria Stehle, Jill E. Twark.