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Table of contents



Foreign languages and higher education: New structures for a changed world. Current perceptions and beliefs among incoming college students towards foreign language study and language require- ments. Foreign Language Annals, 39 3 , — Standards for foreign language learning: Preparing for the 21stt century. The challenge of assessing cultural understanding in the context of foreign language instruction.

Foreign Language Annals, 40 1 , 9— In pursuit of cultural competence in the German language classroom: Rethinking beginning foreign language instruction. The Modern Language Journal, 80, 1— College faculty perceptions about foreign language. Foreign Language Annals, 39 2 , — Challenges and Lessons Learned Table 2: Sample Grading Rubric for Essay Total possible points — 25 5 or 4.

Shows accurate Shows accurate sues. Shows Shows inaccu- and impressive knowledge of some though not rate cultural knowledge of cultural informa- substantial knowledge. Shows little knowledge of Shows a devel- tivity to target sensitivity to differences in oped sensitivity audience in con- target audience. Organi- Very well organ- Some points are Several sen- Difficult to fol- zation ized.

Sen- tences are un- low. Content are easy to iden- tences are usu- connected. Sentences ally well con- Some logical nected. Not well planned or or- organized. Does not of assigned vo- Vocabu- propriate to level words. Mostly make good use cabulary. Mini- lary and course con- correct use. Adapts Makes good use does make use much of the mo- of models.

Many errors Many errors matical Meaning remains Meaning remains make the text make reading Correct- clear throughout. Challenges and Lessons Learned Table 4: Where are we to place intercultural competencies as a learning goal? This article suggests some answers to these questions by juxtaposing interdisciplinarity and cultural studies and cultural studies and language teaching, and by ana- lyzing intercultural competency as a learning process. A combined under- graduate and graduate course on intercultural German Studies serves as the focus of the discussion, highlighting specific approaches to teaching lan- guage, culture, and a variety of topics in intercultural communication.

Barris starts taking me through Kustom City, and the place looks like any other body shop at first, but pretty soon you realize you are in a gallery. This place is full of cars such as you have never seen before. Half of them will never touch the road. You hang them on the wall. Und auf dem Weg zum Dialog zwischen den Disziplinen gibt es nach wie vor Kom- munikationsprobleme.

Dies geschieht besonders im Hinblick auf politische und aktivistische Tendenzen, die das einzelne lokale akademische Projekt immer mit einem globalen gemein hat. Indeed, cultural studies is not merely interdisciplinary; it is often […] actively and aggressively anti-disciplinary — a characteristic that more or less ensures a permanently uncomfortable relation to academic dis- ciplines. No unique statistical, ethnomethodological, or textual analysis to call its own. Its methodology, ambiguous from the beginning, could best be seen as a bricolage. What does it portend when people use the same words, but understand very different things by them?

An interdisciplinary or post-disciplinary field of inquiry that explores the production and inculcation of maps of meaning. A dis- cursive formation, or regulated way of speaking, concerned with issues of power in the signifying practices of human formations. Besonders Thesen 1, 4 und 7 bringen den Fremdsprachenerwerb in Zusammenhang mit kul- turellen Inhalten, betonen eine theoretische Betrachtung der Kultur und fordern kulturwissenschaftliche Kompetenzen bei angehenden DaF-LehrerIn- nen.

Altmayer stellt seinen acht Thesen Kurzdefinitionen voraus: Dem haben sowohl der Fremd- sprachenunterricht als auch die fremdsprachenbezogene Forschung in angemessener Weise Rechnung zu tragen. Die Herausforderung ist offensichtlich: Mit dem an der University of Connecticut angebotenen Seminar ist ein Zwischenschritt versucht worden. Das letzte Seminar belegten z. Ziel ist die dialogische Er- arbeitung der im Syllabus gestellten Fragen und das Einbringen von Diskus- sionspunkten und Texten in die kurzen Response Papers und die lange Hausarbeit.

Guilhermes Definition der interkulturellen Kompetenz etwa betont, dass es darauf ankommt, in welche Beziehung self und other zuein- ander treten , p. Diese Auseinandersetzung findet einerseits auf der Ebene des Sprach- erwerbs statt, anderseits auf der Ebene des Kulturerwerbs. Wie kann man diese potentielle Neu- oder Umformierung des Ichs kombinieren mit einer kulturwissenschaftlich orientierten Landeskunde oder Kulturstudien?

Ins Zentrum treten hier u. Diese Doppelarbeit gilt es zugleich auf die Fremdsprache zu erweitern: Denn innerhalb der U. Jen- seits der Medientheorie: Remap- ping the Foreign Language Curriculum. Andere Programme haben aber ebenfalls wesentliche Schritte in Richtung multiple literacies in den Fremdsprachen und -kul- turen unternommen.

Bibliographie Altmayer, Claus Kulturwissenschaftliche Forschung in Deutsch als Fremdspra- che. Deutsch als Fremdsprache, 42 3 , — Cultural Studies, 19 1 , 1— Identity, deficiency, and first language use in foreign language edu- cation. In Carl Blyth Hrsg. Theory, Politics, and Practice. Language Teachers, Politics, and Cultures. Chakrabarty, Dinesh 2. Postcolonial Thought and Histori- cal Difference. University of California Press. Individual Interactions Across Cultures. Does Cultural Studies Have Futures?

Cultural studies, contexts, and conjunctures. Cultural Studies, 20 1 , 1— Jaeger, Friedrich, Liebsch, Burkhard Hrsg.

Handbuch der Kulturwissenschaf- ten Band 1—3. Kittsteiner, Hans Dietrich Hrsg. The privilege of the nonnative speaker. Publications of the Modern Language Association, 3 , — Life and Times of Cultural Studies. The Politics and Transforma- tion of the Structures of Knowledge. Konturen einer wis- senschaftlichen Disziplin. Price, Joseph, Gascoigne, Carolyn In Foreign Language Annals, 39 3 , — In Foreign Language Annals, 40 1 , 9— Remapping the Foreign Language Curriculum.

A Multiple Literacies Approach. Los estudios culturales en Mexico. Wierlacher, Alois, Bogner, Andrea Hrsg. Handbuch Interkulturelle Germanis- tik. The Future of Cultural Studies. Against the New Conformists pp. Farrar, Strauss and Giroux. The Expression of the Emotions of Man and Animals.

Oxford Univer- sity Press, 3rd ed. Language and German Disunity. Oxford University Press, Schedule Part I What is communication? Week 1 Introduction What is Intercultural Communication? Week 2 What is language? What is communicative competence? Pragmatics and Sociolinguistics http: Week 7 What is culture? Integrationspolitik in Europa Leslie Adelson: Selected examples from research in areas, such as Pragmatics, Humor, Sec- ond Language Acquisition, and Pedagogy illustrate how we can make use of these resources to promote intercultural competence.

Introduction There are many definitions of culture. These shared patterns identify the members of a culture group while also distinguishing those of another group. The first definition comes from the humanities; it fo- cuses on the way a social group represents itself and others through its material productions, be they works of art, literature, social institutions, or artifacts of everyday life, and the mechanisms for their reproduction and preservation through history.

The second definition comes from the social sciences: When learning a FL we are likely to use this language to interact with or become part of a target language community. Therefore, I will point to the significance of community in the teaching of culture and the concurrent de- velopment of objectives and assessment instruments in cultural awareness and intercultural competence. At first, I shall refer to the community of world language educators and researchers in all areas dealing with cultural aware- ness and intercultural competence in order to arrive at appropriate defini- tions and to put objectives and assessments in place.

I will then move on to the teaching of cultural awareness and intercultural competence by which we can create an extended community of learners in a variety of ways. My main point will be that through community building we can facilitate the teaching and learning of cultural competencies.

Returning to the definition of culture in the FL classroom, the following framework for teaching culture in language classes proposed by Kramsch addresses both the responsibility and the opportunity we have as FL teachers: The theoretical framework I propose here for teaching culture through language suspends the traditional dichotomy between the universal and the particular in language teaching.

It embraces the particular, not to be consumed by it, but as a platform for dialogue and as a common strug- gle to realign differences. In this regard, it makes learners and teachers accountable for what they say, it fosters linguistic vigilance and discur- sive circumspection. In other words, the decisions we make to create certain interac- tions in the classroom are political acts that have consequences both within the classroom as well as outside of its physical boundaries e. It is important to keep that in mind when planning activities to foster cultural awareness. This means that cultural awareness is probably part of intercultural competence, but does not automatically ensure intercultural competence.

We need to be equipped with a certain set of skills to interact successfully in intercultural communication. Byram pro- vides a useful definition of what constitutes intercultural competence. It is also someone who has a critical or analytical understanding of parts of their own and other cultures—someone who is conscious of their own perspective, of the way in which their thinking is culturally determined, rather than believing that their understanding and perspective is natu- ral.

However, it might be ambitious to include all levels outlined above in a two- to four-year sequence, which often is the maximum FL learning experience for students graduating from American high schools. Therefore, Schulz suggests the following five objectives for four-year high school pro- grams. She emphasizes that these objectives focus on processes for gaining cultural awareness and understanding and do not necessarily include inter- cultural competence yet, but they might serve as a good basis for developing the skills necessary for the building of intercultural competence.

Students develop and demonstrate awareness that situational varia- bles e. Students develop and demonstrate an awareness that each lan- guage and culture has culture-conditioned images and culture-spe- cific connotations of some words, phrases, proverbs, idiomatic for- mulations, gestures etc.

Students develop and demonstrate an awareness of some types of causes linguistic and non-linguistic for cultural misunderstanding between members of different cultures. It needs to be at the center of our language programs Expertenseminar Leipzig, The following section provides some practical applications for the teaching of culture from various related disciplines, such as pragmatics, second language acquisition, and humor research.

Making Use of the Community of FL Educators and Culture Researchers The Teaching of Culture in the Classroom Using Pragmatics One discipline in which scholars study the development of skills necessary for intercultural communication is the study of pragmatics or, more specifically, interlanguage pragmatics. Pragmatics can be described as the study of com- munication in context.

In the following situation, it becomes clear that we often want to achieve a certain result with language, and more importantly, that we do it in different ways. It might be a good idea to hand in your homework on time. Have you already handed it in? This example illustrates concepts in pragmatics, for instance, directness and indirectness in communication, speech act theory, and politeness. These topics also play an important role in intercultural communication. As we are all aware, there are different levels of directness in different cultures and different rules as to what is considered polite.

Interlanguage pragmatics deals with pragmatics in different language and culture contexts. Cohen provides the following description of interlanguage pragmatics: There is a basic premise in interlanguage pragmatics—that it is not enough just to know the equivalent words and phrases in a second language L2. Learners need to determine the situationally-appropri- ate utterances, namely: As Roever stresses, Both types of knowledge must be present for a language user to be pragmatically successful, as sociopragmatic knowledge provides lan- guage users with the rules of what is socially acceptable and appropri- ate, and pragmalinguistic knowledge equips them with the tools for ex- pressing themselves.

One example is to teach vocabulary and grammar in authentic contexts in order to equip the learner with tools for how to communicate effectively in various situations. A simple example can illustrate that knowing words in a language is not sufficient to allow our students to be effective communicators, to avoid misunderstandings or to avoid the creation of stereotypes. I use this rather well known exchange in order to show how slight modifications in how we teach it can lead to a deeper understanding of the cultures involved. Students could then watch videos of greetings in different situa- tions and in different locations where the target language is spoken.

Mazzocco, makes available a collection of videos of interactions of native speakers in different situations and in different parts of the countries in which the respective languages are spoken http: In this rather simple activity we address several of the objectives for the teaching of intercultural competence outlined above.

The important aspect is to make sure that stu- dents go through the process of exploring their own and the target cultures. Even though all this can be achieved with students who have just started learning German, I also use this activity in a graduate seminar on pragmatics with the objective of discussing stereotypes. Often there are stu- dents who have just arrived from a German-speaking country. A possi- ble assessment of both activities above could include skits in which students act out different situations.

A more advanced example comes from the serv- ice industry in German-speaking countries as compared to those in the U. Inter- views with native speakers in which students ask questions they have after viewing these situations can serve to lead to an understanding of the under- lying reasons for differences in communication. I will use a study of Korean learners of English and their command of apologies conducted by Jung as an example. English language learners of varying proficiency and experience with the American culture in various contexts were given two situations in which to apologize.

In one situation a student did not show up to an appoint- ment s he had made with a professor. It was the second time that s he had missed an appointment with this professor. In the second situation a friend asked why s he did not show up to a party even though s he had promised to come. Again it was the second time this happened.

The findings in this study show clear patterns of how nonnative speakers differ in their apologies from native speakers, not only linguistically but also in terms of the strategies they use in their apologies. Because apologizing includes more than just knowing the appropriate linguistic representation of apologies, such as know- ing how age, gender, social distance and the like play out in different situa- tions, students need to learn about aspects of the target cultures that influ- ence behaviors such as apologies.

Exposing students to situations in which native speakers apologize, and having students apologize in different situa- tions might lead to discussions of topics such as level of formality between different groups, which, in turn, could open up the opportunity to come to a deeper understanding of culture in context. Again, the students are encour- aged to also think about the diversity in their own cultural background. If we link role-plays or Discourse Completion Tasks DCT to intercultural compe- tence objectives and make sure that students engage in critical reflection, they can be used to introduce, practice, and review the linguistic structures involved in specific situations as well as to teach about social practices in- volved.

Role-Plays, Simulations, and Discourse-Completion Tasks Taken from the example above, we could use the same situations that were used in the study two different situations in which our students have to apologize in our German classes. Simple role-play cards could be used rou- tinely to help students interact in authentic situations. Role-plays are also included in many textbooks. The crucial point is that the objectives of these activities are linked to the larger objectives and goals in the intercultural competence curriculum since we want to make sure that students also con- sider the practices involved.

Students could work in pairs with nonnative speakers or make an appointment with a native speaker. Or a native speaker or a group of native speakers from the community could be invited to the classroom. At the Univer- sity of Connecticut, students in the first two years of language and culture study engage with German-speaking faculty and teaching assistants at vari- ous points in the semester. These short interviews are part of the curriculum and help students meet different members of the German-speaking commu- nity at the university while at the same time providing different cultural views on various topics.

Role-plays and discourse-completion tasks could also be used for re- flective practice if students are asked to analyze what we do and say in cer- tain situations. Finally, role-plays and discourse-completion tasks can be used as assessment tasks if we provide rubrics that show our students what we are looking for. Recently, there have been attempts to include assessment in second language pragmatic competence e. Roever , for example, created an online test for ESL students. Hence, we are constantly required to draw conclusions based on background knowledge.

Similarly, we engage in routine behaviors. I will mention the routines of telephone openings and closings below. An under- standing of speech acts involves the notion mentioned above, that we can reach our communicative goals in various ways. Therefore, it is crucial not to focus on teaching too many fixed structures but to make sure that students have the opportunity to include their own ideas. Kramsch points out the danger of guiding students towards a specific output: Learners of a FL, challenged to learn a linguistic code they have not helped to shape, in social contexts they have not helped to define, are indeed poaching on the territory of others—a kind of oppositional prac- tice, that both positions them and places them in opposition to the cur- rent practices of the discourse community that speaks that language.

Another helpful concept comes from the study of intercultural commu- nication. The example below, adapted from Rehbein , p. Er spricht selbst zu Ihnen. Er selbst spricht zu Ihnen. Action practices, thought patterns, conceptual forms, experiences, pattern knowledge a. In contrast to a cultural filter, however, a cultural apparatus reflects communicative structure in such a way that a falling back into a status quo ante is not at all possible. Breaking the cultural filter by applying the cultural appa- ratus to mental processes of the respective participants seems to be especially necessary in international confrontations […].

Similarly, Altmayer this volume suggests that conflict is necessary in order to develop the ability to critically reflect on culture. This would mean that by exposing students to potential misunderstandings and by discussing them we can help them to identify and dissolve fixed prejudices they might have about their own as well as the target cultures.

Again, it is crucial to link intercultural competence objectives to the instructional activities and to cre- ate assessments that go along with them. Discussion-Based Teaching One promising method in this context is discussion-based teaching, more specifically, the case method. Generally, students are very engaged when discussing a case.

The teacher is in the background, guiding the discussion but also leaving room for the students to explore their own opinions. Hence, this method is inher- ently student-centered if it is well prepared beforehand. Cases can be organ- ized in a way that students are asked to take a specific side in the argument, making them see the problem from different angles.

Students can also be required to find facts supporting their argument, giving them a better under- standing of how the problem could have occurred. In advanced language classes, the cases can be more complex and the discussion can be more extended. In intermediate language classes, preparation for the discussion will involve more guidance, possibly including activities to study the vocabu- lary and idioms needed in the discussion.


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Based on student feedback, they feel empowered when they can be experts in a specific case. This way they negotiate meaning in a realistic setting. My suggestion is to use topics that are controversial and that do not offer one solution. Examples include drink- ing age in Germany versus in the U. The cases can be based on a newspaper article with the advantage of including current events.

Finally, it is important to link objectives to the dis- cussion of the case since this will influence how the case discussion will be planned. For a review and helpful suggestions on how to teach with the case method see Barnes and colleagues Even though it is reasonable to assume that we can use cases from a variety of disciplines pharmacy, busi- ness, political science, etc. Within the community in which we work on common objectives, we should be able to create a data bank of cases for our purpose. Simi- larly, Dowell and Mirksy co-authored a book based on a course to prepare students for study abroad.

"Deutschland" in Anf Hrungszeichen by Gregor Paul Braun - Paperback

This book offers questions for the stu- dents concerning their goals during their study abroad but also important questions about their own and the target cultures. Many of the activities offered can easily be adapted to and incorporated in German classes. In a more extended version this topic could be the basis for a case. In a shorter activity it could be constructed as a role-play.

Negotiation of Meaning Activities An alternative way of promoting cultural awareness is the negotiation of meaning between nonnative speakers and native speakers. Zheng, Young, Brewer and Wagner conducted a study in which seventh-grade students from Mainland China col- laborated with native English speakers in the U. Working in pairs comprised of a native and a nonnative speaker of English, students completed quests designed to promote language and culture learning. The most interesting finding of the study was that both, the U.

This example shows that an extended community of learners and native speakers can lead to the development of cultural aware- ness through the negotiation of meaning. I now provide a number of examples of how technology can support the development of cultural awareness. One way to use technology to create a community of German lan- guage learners within the U. At the beginning of the course, the students introduced their university to their colleagues at their partner institution.

This served to show the diversity in their own culture s , in this case the university culture, in a comparison of a smaller private college and a big public research university. The technology used for this project is Voicethread http: A VoiceThread is an online media album that can hold essentially any type of media images, documents and videos and allows people to make comments in 5 different ways — using voice with a microphone or telephone , text, audio file, or video with a webcam — and share them with anyone they wish.

A VoiceThread allows group conversations to be collected and shared in one place, from anywhere in the world http: It is up to the teacher and the students to decide who will see the presenta- tion. Whoever sees the presentation can leave their voice or text comments. In this way students cannot only interact with the content they are exposed to but also communicate with others about this material. This is a good ex- ample of Web 2. In the fifth-semester German course, the students read various texts dealing with stereotypes and prejudice and discussed them within their class- room but also outside, as for example with their partners at the other uni- versity.

Finally, students were asked to complete a project with their partner at the other university that prepared them to plan a skit, which they acted out in their respective class. In-class follow-up discussions served to check whether intercultural competence objectives had been achieved. These ob- jectives refer to the five components of intercultural competence as outlined above Byram, Exposing students to material from the target culture is hardly a prob- lem at a time when the world is just a click away on the Internet.

Resources like YouTube http: However, we can assume that even though students use social networking technologies, as, for example, Face- book http: Teachers can use Facebook or Myspace to create an environment for students to communicate with other learners of the target language as well as with native speakers. We can even design, in collaboration with our students, our own German-speaking communities online in virtual worlds such as Secondlife http: The opportunities are indeed endless.

However, it is important that technology is used to support our learning objectives, that is, that intercultural competence objectives are clearly linked to each activity. In their article on social networking in language classes, Ganley and Sawhill present a valuable example of how Web2. The authors point out that […] creation of learning objects in an action-centered classroom also allows learners to become agents of change in the world, albeit perhaps unintentionally. While working and writing and communicating in the wide open blogosphere, meaningful connections are made thanks to these tools and the passions the learners put into using them.

One time, a student received a rather critical entry. He did not quite know how to reply to it and asked for advice in the language class. The students and the professor discussed how this problem could be resolved and what the underlying causes could be. Such interactions in the target culture provide the rich environment we want our students to experience in order to develop critical reflection.

Languages Across the Curriculum In addition to our efforts at the University of Connecticut to articulate our intercultural competence objectives in our language and culture courses, we also offer courses that specifically address intercultural communication and pragmatics for our German majors and minors as well as to our graduate students. In these one-credit courses students then discuss the content area history, political science, music, etc. The team-taught approach of this program, in which faculty from different departments collab- orate, is one example of creating an extended community with the goal of developing intercultural competence.

The Use of Humor to Teach Cultural Awareness The final illustration depicting the integration of culture in the FL classroom comes from research on the use of humor in the FL classroom. Humor can serve many functions in a FL classroom. It is clear that humor is probably part of almost every culture and humor styles can vary from culture to culture e. In our study it became clear that instructors also saw humor as a tool to introduce cultural topics, and, more specifically, cultural stereotypes or taboos.

In so doing, the instructor was able to introduce aspects of culture using humor while also introducing culture-specific humor. No copies tu culo. No copies tu culo, ok, bien. What does that mean? In Latin America it is stronger, more impolite. In Spain it is okay. In another classroom an instructor from Spain talked about how certain ex- pressions are used in order to ask someone whether they are homosexual.

Thus, humor was used as a face-saving strategy. Another way of integrating culture in the classroom is the use of cartoons or jokes. This would have the advantage that students are exposed to 1 an authentic document in the target culture s and 2 an example of how humor is used in the target culture s. However, it is important to note that humor can also have detrimental effects when used in the wrong context or when misunderstood. The examples of research conducted in areas dealing with intercultural competence presented above are a small fragment of the large and con- stantly growing repertoire of sources available to us.

Among others, National Language Resource Centers provide plentiful resources in this area. A list of NLRCs is provided at www. Both publications introduce pragmatics as well as providing information on a number of studies conducted in this area including their implications for FL teaching. Conclusions I have tried to provide some resources we can utilize in FL classrooms in order to promote the development of intercultural competence.

However, the most critical and probably also the most challenging task continues to be the development of coherent and articulated objectives and assessments for in- tercultural competence. I argue that we can achieve this by creating an ex- tended community of language educators, researchers, and students.


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Often, simple adjustments can make big differences in learning outcomes. For in- stance, many schools celebrate cultural diversity weeks or cultural awareness weeks. Yet, it seems that the efforts are not always coordinated in terms of cultural awareness or intercultural competence objectives.

A meeting where program administrators, teachers, and parents discuss and articulate these objectives could enhance learning outcomes for our students immensely. It is crucial that the development of intercul- tural competence is a central objective in the FL curriculum. Finally, it is important that we articulate to our students, their parents, school adminis- trators, and the public in general what it is our students gain in our language classes and for what purpose. Bibliography Alexander, Bryan A new wave of innovation for teaching and learning?

Altmayer, Claus this volume. Austin, John Langshaw How to do things with words. Oxford Univer- sity Press. Available online at http: Teaching and the case method 3rd ed. Harvard Business School Press. Acquisition in interlanguage pragmatics: Learning how to do things with words in a study abroad context. Assessing intercultural competence in language teaching. Sprogforum[Online], 18 6 , 8— Center for Advanced Research for Language Acquisition: The interface between interlanguage pragmatics and assess- ment.

A guide for professional development. How to get most of your study abroad experience. How did a couple of veteran classroom teachers end up in a space like this? Australian Flexible Learning Framework. Elluminate session and Skype chat. Build- ing bridges with Web 2. Learner autonomy and community building through podcasts and VoIP. Speech acts volume 3 pp. Pragmatic development in a second lan- guage.

Second Language Research, 8, — The cultural component of language teaching. Englisch-Amerikanische Studien, 2, — Pros and cons in foreign languages. English and American Studies in German Linguistische Berichte, , — The role of the linguistic environment in second language acquisition. Second language acquisition pp.

Teaching World Languages for Social Justice: A Sourcebook of Principles and Practices. Paige, Michael, Cohen, Andrew D.

Die Geschichte des deutschen Staates seit 1867 - staatliche und territoriale Entwicklung

The foreign language educator in soci- ety: Toward a critical pedagogy. Thoughts on the relationship between language, culture, and society. Validation of a web-based test of ESL pragmalinguistics. Lan- guage Testing, 23 2 , — Pragmatics in language teaching. Pragmatics of humor in the foreign language classroom: Interlanguage and cross-cultural perspectives pp.

Critical pedagogy and foreign language education. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 38 1 , — Im Alltagsgebrauch ist es ja ein nicht gerade trennscharf definierter Begriff? Das ist die zentrale Frage meines Projekts. Als ich damit anfing, wollte ich herausfinden, wie wir uns Vergangenheit nostalgisch aneignen. Ich meinte eine recht klare Vorstellung davon zu haben, was Nostalgie ist.

Doch je mehr ich las, desto mehr schwand meine Sicherheit. Anstatt zu fragen, wie und mit welchen Motivationen wir mit der Vergangenheit umgehen, wird kurzerhand von Nostalgie gesprochen. Die einen wollen zelebrieren, die anderen kontextualisieren. Jahrhundert in Jahrzehnten zu messen. Denn unsere Vorstellungen von Jahrzehnten ist offensichtlich stark von einzelnen Ereignissen dominiert.

Zweitens fragt der Vortrag nach den Grenzen des Ereignisses: Und drittens diskutiert der Beitrag, wie Jahrzehnte erinnert werden. Zwar werden auch heute noch einzelnen Ereignissen — dem Kriegsausbruch , der Reichskristallnacht, dem Fall der Mauer etc. Ceisel und Groebner teilen den ethnographischen Zugang und die eher unkonventionelle Darstellungsweise in der ersten Person. Allerdings funktioniert dies bei Groebner wesentlich besser als bei Ceisel. Diesem Anspruch wird er gerecht. Doch um welche Fragen geht es?

Um die zentralen des Geschichtstourismus: Warum suchen wir auf Reisen so gern Orte mit Vergangenheit auf, und was genau suchen wir dort? Das dritte Kapitel deutet das Warum lockt uns die Vergangenheit so? Aber ist sie nicht ebenso oft, wie in im vielzitierten Bonmot des britischen Schriftstellers L. Bei Christina Ceisel dagegen taucht sie bereits im Titel auf. Schwingt sich die Darstellung doch einmal zur kommentierenden Analyse auf, kippt diese schnell in Jargon oder Klischees Beispiel: Und so hilft das Buch nicht dabei, die Nostalgie oder den Tourismus wirklich besser zu verstehen.

Umso wichtiger sind wissenschaftliche Expeditionen ins Retroland. Geschichtstourismus und die Sehnsucht nach dem Authentischen. Tourism, Heritage, and the Politics of Place. Rymsza-Pawlowska, History Comes Alive. In September I took part in a seminar on popular culture at the annual conference of the German Studies Association in Pittsburgh. The seminar felt a bit like being back at university—only that everyone had read the text and engaged in the discussions.

The gap between literature scholars and historians in evidence at other events at the GSA, was not a problem for us because we all felt like outsiders in our respective disciplines and faced similar problems not least the difficulties in finding sources. We all felt thankful to the fans and enthusiasts, who had collected material that became our sources and without whose work ours would have been impossible.

The conference also provided a welcome opportunity to do some research in archives and libraries in Washington and New York, the United States have become increasingly more important to my project. After three days in Pittsburgh I took an early Amtrak train to Washington.

In search for coffee I stumbled upon the observation car. But the view onto the Potomac and the forests of West Virginia was pretty impressive, too. As the train moved eastwards at a leisurely pace, I felt like travelling back in time. Eventually we arrived in Washington. On the following day, I had the good fortune of meeting a German colleague on the bus bringing researchers from the imposing building of the National Archives near the National Mall to a less imposing outpost some 45 minutes away in Maryland.

She explained to me how the National Archives worked—so similar in many ways, every archive, every library has its own very distinctive ways of doing things—which saved me a lot of time. Still, I frantically filled out call slips for some fifty boxes. In a rare case of archival luck, the very first box contained exactly what I was looking for. The literature did imply this without, however, going into detail or giving any examples.

Now I had them in front of me neatly filed: From Washington I took the bus to New York, the last stop of my trip. To those doubters let me say that yes, New York also has a role to play in the history of historic preservation. In Britain, the destruction of the first Euston Station and particularly the big arch in front of it in had a galvanizing effect on the preservation movement. Nearby St Pancras Hotel and Station—desitined for the same fate—were saved by listing in A similar story unfolded in New York in the very same years.

In it was announced that Pennsylvania Station would be demolished and moved underground, to be replaced by the new Madison Square Garden. Thanks to it, Grand Central Terminal, also scheduled to be demolished, was declared a landmark in and survived. Examples like these show how attitudes towards the past shifted during the s. Initially accused of nostalgia, preservation gained a wider following and began to prevail over modernist planners and architects.

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This museum shows what it was like to live in a tenement in the early s as if frozen in time. In , its owner, rather than modifying the building to conform to new laws, decided to evict the residents and to rent out only the ground-level shops. As a consequence, the flats above were preserved in the state the tenants left them. In the building was discovered by two women, who went on to found the museum. To them they were sentimentalising and distorting rather than exploring the past. Describing them—and the people taking part in them—as nostalgic was a way of undermining and discrediting them.

When historians realised such practices were here to stay, they began to re-examine their ideas about them. A new term, public history, emerged to describe the multiform ways, in which people outside of academia engaged with the past as well as the study and teaching of such practices at universities.

As an academic subject public history often tends to concentrate on the here and now: However, public history practices have been evolving and changing over a long time and need to be seen in a more long-term perspective. Public History and Popular Culture in the s does. It uses the nostalgia discourse of the s to capture a moment of cultural change. Yet, rather than accepting the contemporary interpretation, she questions it. For Rymsza-Pawlowska, nostalgia does not cover what was going on as. History Comes Alive charts this transition through a number of case studies. The first chapter looks at how the presentation of history on television changed from the s and s to the s.

Here the United States Bicentennial already plays a role, which comes up again and again throughout the book, connecting the different case studies. It is most prominent in the second chapter, which looks at the commemoration of the bicentennial in The following four chapters deal with historic preservation, museums, re-enactments and archives—all of which confirm the general thesis of a more immediate and affective engagement with the past: Like their predecessors in the s many historians today will perhaps be critical about such approaches, preferring what they know best, the analysis of sources and the crafting of narratives in the form of books.

Rymsza-Pawlowska takes a not uncritical but more openminded position: There are different ways to engage with it and they all have their advantages and disadvantages. The sharp lines drawn between history and public history in the s have increasingly started to fracture. History Comes Alive is an important contribution to the field of public history—showing how practices we encounter today have developed over time and putting them in a historic context—as well as to the field of nostalgia studies as it demonstrates that contemporary allegations of nostalgia need to be taken with more than a grain of salt.

History Comes Alive is about public history in the United States.

A History of the Nostalgia Wave

Yet, the changes the book describes happened almost everywhere. Transnational contacts between public history practitioners naturally lead to exchanges. The first open air museum, founded in Sweden in , was copied all over Europe and in the United States. Re-enactments, on the other hand, first became a popular pastime in the United States and from there inspired many followers across the globe.

Such similarities and exchanges raise a number of questions namely why history became so popular and why at this very moment. Was it a reaction to accelerated social and cultural change as is often claimed? Or is the answer more banal, rooted in social changes such as the expansion of education and the growth of wealth and leisure time? Rymsza-Pawlowska argument about the s as a crucial period of transformation is convincing. At the same time, many of the practices discussed here can be traced back to the nineteenth century and sometimes even to earlier periods.

It would be interesting, therefore, to widen the historical perspective even further. Rymsza-Pawlowska, History Comes Alive: The University of North Carolina Press Prisoners of the Past looks at the ways nostalgia has been used in conflicts within the Labour Party from the s almost to the immediate presen. Nostalgia has become a pervasive term in politics. Eine Grundlage dieses Buches bildet auch Nostradamus mit seinen Versen.

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