Lawrence University German Professor Awarded NEH Grant for Summer Seminar in Berlin

APPLETON, WIS. — A Lawrence University German professor has been awarded a $141,000 grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities for summer seminar in Berlin, Germany for K-12 school teachers to enrich their knowledge of German history and contemporary German culture.

Brent%20Peterson_web.jpgBrent Peterson, in collaboration with Robert Shandley, associate professor of film studies and German at Texas A&M University, will direct the seminar “Germany’s Cosmopolitan Capital: Berlin and the Myth of German Monoculturalism” in June, 2010.

Aimed primarily at language, literature, social studies and modern history teachers, the grant will enable up to 16 educators to participate in the five-week long seminar. Participating teachers each will receive a stipend of $3,900 to help cover their expenses.

“The phrase ‘Cosmopolitan Capital’ in the seminar title refers both to the rich cultural life of this multi-national city and to the multi-faceted human capital that enabled the growth and development of the German economy,” said Peterson, a scholar of the construction of national and ethnic identities. “By using the tools of the humanities, we will explore how German culture has been challenged, defined and redefined by its encounters with migrants. The seminar is intended to provide participants the knowledge and skills necessary to fully engage contemporary Germany’s complex social and cultural reality in their classrooms.”

According to Peterson, the seminar will incorporate literature of the early 19th century, including children’s and adolescent literature, as well as contemporary films and television programs. Conducted in German, seminar sessions will be held in the mornings, with afternoons and weekends free for participants to explore Berlin on their own.

“This seminar is a wonderful opportunity for interested teachers to study a fascinating and important city,” said Lawrence Provost David Burrows. “Learning about major cosmopolitan areas is a very effective way to develop global knowledge and intercultural competence. We are very proud of Professor Peterson and his colleague. NEH grants are extremely competitive and this award is a testament to their skill, knowledge and creativity.”

Teachers interesting in participating in the seminar can apply online here.