German Professor Brent Peterson Awarded $149,000 NEH Grant for K-12 Teacher Seminar in Berlin

Lawrence University Professor of German Brent Peterson has been awarded a $149,000 grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities for a summer seminar in Berlin, Germany for K-12 school teachers designed to enrich their knowledge of contemporary German culture and history.

Professor of German Brent Peterson

Peterson, in collaboration with Robert Shandley, professor of film studies and German at Texas A&M University, will direct the seminar “Berlin’s Cultural Diversity Across Two Centuries” June 17 – July 20, 2012.

Aimed primarily at language, literature, social studies and modern history teachers, the grant will enable as many as 16 educators to participate in the five-week long seminar. Selected from a national, competitive application process, each participating teacher will receive a $3,900 stipend to help cover their expenses.

“Although Germany has long been at the crossroads of European culture, many Americans still imagine it to be the quaint land of Beethoven, bratwurst and beer,” said Peterson, whose scholarship includes the construction of national and ethnic identities. “The seminar is designed to give teachers and ultimately their students a more accurate and, at the same time, more appealing picture of a society shaped for centuries by migration. We use the tools of the humanities to see what it means to be German today in the midst of Berlin, Germany’s vibrant, complex and diverse capital.”

The NEH grant is the second Peterson and Shandley have received for this seminar, which they first directed in the summer of 2010. The program incorporates 19th- and 20th-century literature, including children’s and adolescent literature, with contemporary films and television programs. Conducted in German, classes are held in the mornings with afternoons and weekends free for participants to explore the diverse city of Berlin on their own.

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

Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,520 students from 44 states and 56 countries.