From the Chair

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Peripatetic is a word that evokes the restlessness of the scholar who walks to think and the animation of the inveterate teacher who paces and gestures while in conversation with students. The energy of peripatetic thinking drives us to imagine new disciplinary connections or to explore unknown territories. It asks us to embrace the constant transformation of language and culture. This issue of the GSD magazine invites you to stroll with us across many borders to the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany, and through the halls of Folwell with that spirit of restless curiosity.

The profile of Ray Wakefield brings into focus his award-winning teaching and advocacy on behalf of language education, including his indefatigable efforts to establish Dutch at the University of Minnesota and to launch the College in the Schools program for German. Later you will learn about these vibrant programs today in an article that visits with Jenneke Oosterhoff and in several updates in the departmental news section. Meanwhile, Poul Houe reflects in striking detail on how thinking and walking work together in the writings of the restless Danish intellectual Søren Kierkegaard to produce a "textual theater" of observations, philosophy, and self-reflection.

Indeed, a sense of theater is a broad thematic undercurrent in this issue. With an essay on the production of Lessing's Nathan the Wise in German last spring, you will follow the transformational experience that undergraduates encountered when they signed up to take the "German Play," a class that has been a part of the department since the 1940s. Keen awareness of how art and literature function as "performed" events motivates the graduate student essays, one considering the aesthetic representation of terrorism and the other examining the cultural history of the masked ball
in 18th-century German and Scandinavian contexts.

In the coming year GSD embarks on searches for new faculty colleagues who will work with us to build and transform the department. We look forward to introducing them to you in the next magazine. At the same time, we gratefully acknowledge the contributions retiring faculty members, like our colleague Jack Zipes, have made to GSD. Your generosity and support have helped grow funds honoring faculty emeriti Gerhard Weiss and Frank Hirschbach. They have also strengthened other initiatives that support our graduate and undergraduate students. We are grateful for your continuing interest in the department and hope that you will join us for events announced on the GSD Web site.

All the best,
Charlotte Melin, department chair

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This page contains a single entry by cla published on November 25, 2008 12:33 PM.

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