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News and Events

German Ambassador Visit

The Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, H.E. Mrs Deike Potzel, visited Mary Immaculate College on 24 September 2018 where she spoke with students of German Studies and delivered a talk on “German-Irish Relations and the Future of Europe” to the College community.


Pictured at the event (L-R) are (image 1) Dr Christiane Schönfeld, Head of Department of German Studies, MIC; Dr Eugene O’Brien, Acting Vice President, Academic Affairs, MIC; H.E. Mrs Deike Potzel; Dr Sabine Egger, Department of German Studies, MIC; Professor Michael Breen, Dean of Arts, MIC. 


H.E. Mrs Deike Potzel and students of MIC German Studies.


German Ambassador Visit

H.E. Mrs. Deike Potzel, the new German Ambassador to Ireland, paid a special visit to MIC on 16th February 2018 to meet with German Studies staff and students, as well as with members of MIC's executive team.

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Acting Vice-President of Academic Affairs Prof Eugene O'Brien, H.E. Mrs Potzel and Dr Christiane Schönfeld (Head of German Studies), in front of a photograph of the first MIC graduating class of 1902

Flags of Germany, Ireland and the EU in front of the Foundation Building to mark the German Ambassador's visit to MIC

H.E. Mrs Potzel on a seat sculpted by German-Irish artist Imogen Stuart


Congratulations on distinguished performance in research - Privatdozent (PD) Dr Helmut Grugger

In November 2017, our colleague Dr Helmut Grugger successfully completed his postdoctoral PhD, i.e. his 'habilitation' project, and, by unanimous vote of the respective committee at Koblenz University, was consequently awarded the title of ‘Privatdozent’. Helmut's post-doctoral thesis entitled Trauma Discourses in German Literature (490pp) was declared to be of the highest quality by a group of renowned international experts. To quote one of the referees, ‘this is the first comprehensive analysis of this vital topic at this level, sustainably taking into account the various theoretical approaches and benefitting from a profound knowledge of literary history’. Consequently, the thesis was accepted for publication by Metzler, one of the most respected publishing houses in Germany, and will appear in print in 2018.
As part of the habilitation process, Helmut presented a so-called public ‘scholarly lecture’ that had to be defended in an ensuing discussion with the already ‘habilitated’ members of the faculty of Arts of Koblenz University. The title of this lecture, given by Helmut in July 2017, was The character of Faust portrayed as a modernist artist and as a post-modernist mind game using the examples of Thomas Mann’s ‘Dr Faustus’ and Werner Schwab’s ‘Faust :: My Chest :: My Helmet’. The final piece of the habilitation project was Helmut’s inaugural lecture at Koblenz University in November 2017 entitled From though nuts to easily digestible thoughts? An expedition through the literary discourse on education.

We are all delighted with Helmut’s outstanding achievement.

PD Dr Helmut Grugger with Prof Dr Uta Schaffers, Chair of the habilitation committee, and Prof Dr Dr hc Stefan Neuhaus, Dean of Arts at the University of Koblenz, after the inaugural lecture 



Christiane Schönfeld with co-editor Dr Gillian Pye (UCD) at the Launch of Germanistik in Ireland 12 (2017).
The yearbook was launched by the German Deputy Ambassador Josef Reichhardt and his wife Susanne at the German Studies Association of Ireland annual conference, which took place at University College Cork on 24 November 2017.

Germanistik in Ireland 2017  (Konstanz: Hartung-Gorre; 270 pp) features articles from German Studies scholars from the USA, Poland, Spain, Germany, Great Britain and, of course, Ireland, as well as book reviews and conference reports pertaining to research activities by Irish colleagues. Dr Britta Jung (MIC PhD graduate) and Laura Thüring (a current MIC PhD student in the Department) both published essays in this year's volume. The yearbook received external funding from the Embassy of Germany in Dublin, the German Studies Association of Ireland and Mary Immaculate College, which is gratefully acknowledged.

(from left to right: Marina Durnin, Christiane Schönfeld, Gillian Pye, Josef Reichhardt, Susanne Reichhardt, Gert Hofmann)

Congratulations to Barry Finegan: 2017 highest achieving graduate in the Bachelor of Art and Silver Medal award winner in German Studies
Barry chose to study German as a beginner here at MIC in September 2013, and two years later became the first ab initio student to be awarded a DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) undergraduate scholarship in Ireland, which enabled him to spend a year at the University of Passau in Germany (2015-16). He graduated this October with top marks in both German Studies and Philosophy and was awarded the Gold Medal as the highest overall achieving graduate in the Bachelor of Arts degree 2017.


Pictured are Barry with Dr Christiane Schönfeld (HoD), Barry's wife Jacqui and his son Daniel

Congratulations to Janine Hemmerling, who was awarded her M.A. in German Studies at the MIC 2017 Graduation Ceremony

Janine's thesis was entitled „dass gestern besser werden würde als morgen je gewesen war“: Zur
Kodierung von Trauma in Jan Costin Wagners Kimmo-Joentaa-Romanen (supervisor: PD Dr Helmut Grugger; internal examiner: Dr Christiane Schönfeld; external examiner: Prof. Dr. Stefan Neuhaus, Universität Koblenz).



Congratulations to Dr. Britta C. Jung!

Having completed completed her joint PhD („Und wer den Schmerz einmal gesehen hat…” Neue deutsche Jugendliteratur zum Nationalsozialismus, Zweiten Weltkrieg und Holocaust im Kontext des postmemorialen Wandels) in November 2015, under the guidance of Dr. Sabine Egger (MIC, University of Limerick) and Prof. Dr. Raingard Esser (University of Groningen), Dr. Britta C. Jung has been awarded a  prestigious Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellowship in a highly competitive applicaton process. She is now working on a postdoctoral project entitled "Contested Identities. A Comparative Study of the Migrant Experience in Contemporary German, Dutch and Irish Literature" at the UCD Humanities Institute, under the mentorship of Prof. Dr. Anne Fuchs. Her project builds on the transnational approach applied in her PhD research, and her work for the Irish Centre for Transnational Studies (MIC). 
We congratulate Britta on this great success, wishing her all the best for her further academic career!

DigiLanguages.ie - Enhancing Digital Literacies for Language Teaching and Learning

The urgent need to address the national language skills' shortage in Ireland has been highlighted in numerous arenas. The national project "DigiLanguages.ie - Enhancing Digital Literacies for Language Teaching and Learning" (UL, NUIG, DCU, MIC, DIT, LIT), funded by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning (2015-2017), and highly praised by an international review panel, has now been made part of the government's implementation plan of  Languages Connect: Ireland's Strategy for Foreign Languages in Education 2017-2026. The Department of German Studies (MIC) has played an active role in bringing the project to this stage, with Dr Sabine Egger as a member of the plenary project group, and Janine Hemmerling as a development team member. The Department, in collaboration with other project partners, hosted two DigiLanguages workshops for staff from different language departments in the Faculties of Arts and Education in MIC in March and April 2017. 

There are plans for further workshops in 2018. Apart from the development of a digital literacies framework, a major aim of the project has been the building of an on-line interactive portal for language learners and teachers in Irish higher education. The portal is now freely accessible to teachers, trainee teachers and students at www.digilanguages.ie. If you would like to give feedback or add new activities to the portal and become a member of the development team, click here. For further information on the project, please contact sabine.egger@mic.ul.ie.

Workshop - “Contested Space: The State, Religion and Public Spaces”

On 11 May, 2017, the Departments of French Studies and German Studies at Mary Immaculate College, in collaboration with the Irish Centre for Transnational Studies (ICTS), held a workshop on the relationship between states, religion and public space. Entitled “Contested Space: The State, Religion and Public Spaces”, participating staff, undergraduate and postgraduate students from French Studies, German Studies and Philosophy took the growing political and social tensions both within the European Union and within individual member states as a starting point to discuss concepts of secularism and laïcité and the definition of public space in such matters. The discussion focused on similarities and differences between such concepts and the debates around them in Germany, France and Ireland. While understandings of secularism and its relationship to public spaces is first and foremost shaped by the national histories, political cultures and social imaginaries of individual countries, international crises and events, EU laws and policies, and the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights add supranational layers of meaning.

Organised by Dr. Britta C. Jung and Dr. Mairéad Ní Bhriain (Department of French Studies), the workshop was an exploratory event and, given its success, will be followed in the near future by a series of guest lectures and research events on specific aspects of the topic. This builds on and further expands the interdisciplinary research focus of the ICTS on ideas of spatiality and identity politics.

International Conference "From Sarmatia to Mare Nostrum: Borderland Spaces in German-language Literature and other Media"

The Department of German Studies, MIC, in cooperation with the Irish Centre for Transnational Studies, organised an international conference on “Borderland Spaces in German-language Literature and other Media”, together with Nottingham Trent University and the Institute of Modern Languages Research (IMLR), University of London, which took place from 27-28 April 2017 at the Senate House of the University of London.

Taking the German writer Johannes Bobrowski’s ‘Sarmatia’ as a starting point, the conference provided senior and junior researchers with a forum to discuss how Central and Eastern European borderland narratives and poetics have changed in the course of the 20th to 21st century in German-language literature and other media, and how such processes may be interlinked with national, European or global discourses, structures and contexts. While the main focus was on shifts in narratives and poetics in the context of global migration and displacement of people in the 20th and 21st century, links between these and earlier narratives were also taken into account.

Junior researchers presenting at the conference included MIC PhD student Sandra Wagner and Dr Britta Jung, who completed her Joint PhD in MIC in 2015.

The conference was organised by Dr Sabine Egger (German Studies, MIC) and Professor Bill Niven (Contemporary German History, Nottingham Trent University), and supported by the Modern Humanities Research Association, the German Embassy, London, Nottingham Trent University, the IMLR and the Irish Centre of Transnational Studies.

For further information see http://www.ictstudies.eu/international-conference-from-sarmatia-to-mare-nostrum-borderland-spaces-in-german-language-literature-and-other-media-27-28-april-2017/ and http://www.sas.ac.uk/events/event/6985.


Pictured above conference participants attending one of the panels on the second day of the conference

Connections in Motion: Dance in Irish and German Literature, Film and Culture

The 16th International Conference in Irish-German Studies: Connections in Motion: Dance in Irish and German Literature, Film and Culture, was jointly organised by Dr. Sabine Egger, Dr. Gisela Holfter and fellow academics from different disciplines at the University of Limerick, under the auspices of the Centre of Irish-German Studies at the University of Limerick and the Irish Centre of Transnational Studies (ICTS) at Mary Immaculate College. The event took place on 31.10.-1.11.16 at the Irish World Academy for Music and Dance (UL). (Joint organisers: Dr. Sabine Egger (German Studies/ICTS, MIC); Dr. Gisela Holfter (Centre for Irish-German Studies, UL); Dr. Catherine Foley (IWAMD, UL/ National Dance Archive, Ireland); Prof. Meg Harper (Glucksman Chair in Contemporary Writing in English, UL); Dr. Deirdre Mulrooney (Dublin); Jan Frohburg (School of Design, UL)).

The conference included panels on Irish-German relations through dance in literature, film and architecture, with contributions by Dr. Christiane Schönfeld (German Studies, MIC), Dr. Lucia Ruprecht (German & Dutch, University of Cambridge), Prof. Susan Jones (English, University of Oxford), Dr. Dorothy Morrissey (Drama Education, MIC), Dr. Ruth Fleischmann (English, University of Bielefeld), and daughter of the Irish-German composer Aloys Fleischmann, journalist Dr. Deirdre Mulrooney (Dublin), Dr. Tanja Poppelreuter (Architecture, Ulster University Belfast) and architect and historian Shane O’Toole (Kilkenny), to name but a few, as well as a round table discussion on the role of dance in education. Highlights included the screening of Deirdre Mulrooney’s film “Dance Emergency”, as well as a new piece by well-known Irish choreographer Marguerite Donlon, developed with and performed by MA students of the IWAMD at the close of the conference. The event opened with a digital exhibition on Donlon’s internationally renowned work in London, Saarbrücken and Berlin, and her paper on Irish-German connections in her work. For a full programme see http://www.ictstudies.eu/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Connections_in_Motion_brochure.pdf

2BA and 4BA students of German Studies from MIC participated in the event as part of their Field Trip. For many, it opened new perspectives on dance and modernism in German literature, film, photography and architecture. A special thank you to Dr. Britta C. Jung, Magdalena Glaab, as well as the students of the MA in Irish-German Studies and of the IWAMD for their support.




Graduation 2016


Graduation 2016 from left to right: Dr Sabine Egger, Aisling Murphy (MA in German Studies), Dr Britta C. Jung (PhD in German Studies), Carolann Guinee (1st class honours, BA in German Studies/Music, highest achieving undergraduate in both subjects), Dr Christiane Schönfeld in front of the Franco-German House on the MIC Campus

Dr Britta C. Jung on graduation day 2016 (MIC Campus). She is accompanied by her supervisor Dr Sabine Egger (left)

First international Joint PhD at MIC

Britta C. Jung has successfully defended her thesis, jointly supervised by Dr. Sabine Egger (German Studies, MIC) and Professor Wara Wende/Professor Raingard Esser (University of Groningen). This was the first Joint PhD by Research to be completed at Mary Immaculate College in cooperation with an international partner university. The title of the thesis, which was highly praised by the examiners, was: „Und wer den Schmerz einmal gesehen hat…”: Neue deutsche Jugendliteratur zum Nationalsozialismus, Zweiten Weltkrieg und Holocaust im Kontext des postmemorialen Wandels („Who ever saw the pain …“: Contemporary German Youth Literature on National Socialism, WW2 and Holocaust in the Context of the Postmemorial Turn).
The internal examiners were Dr. Christiane Schönfeld (German Studies, MIC) and Professor Liesbeth Korthals Altes (University of Groningen), the external examiners Professor Carsten Gansel (University of Gießen) and Professor Anthonya Visser (University of Leiden).

A Joint PhD allows to share expertise between institutions in an international field of research, thus contributing to international links both on postgraduate and higher academic level. At the same time, it is a new departure which also poses challenges on an administrative level. The Department of German Studies wishes to thank Professor Eugene Wall for his support.

For an introduction into the research topic aimed at a broader readership, see Groningen University Journal: http://www.ukrant.nl/magazine/third-reich-in-youth-books?_suid=144916074845008539664597591903

Congratulations to Dr. Britta Jung!


 L-R Dr. Christiane Schönfeld, Dr. Britta C. Jung, Dr. Sabine Egger


 Britta C. Jung defending her thesis at the University of Groningen


Congratulations to Dr. Anna Stiepel (pictured with her supervisor, Dr. Christiane Schönfeld, Head of Department) who was awarded her Ph.D. in German Studies at the 2015 MIC Graduation Ceremony on 23 October!


78th Annual Conference of the Association for German Studies in Great Britain and Ireland held at MIC:



Congratulations to DAAD scholarship recipient Barry Finegan (2nd year BA)!

For more on Barry's remarkable achievement, please see:



With members of the department, L-R Dr. Aneka Meier, Dr. Christiane Schönfeld (Head of Department), Dr. Sabine Egger, Ms. Janine Hemmerling


Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival Event: Film screening of "The Miracle of Bern / Das Wunder von Bern" (Sönke Wortmann, 2003) on 29 March 2015



Fourth Year German students attending the GRADchances Language Career Fair in Dublin on 4 March 2015:



Launch of Cultural / Literary Translators - Selected Irish-German Biographies II, edited by Dr. Sabine Egger (Department of German Studies / Irish Center of Transnational Studies, MIC):



For the latest news and events of the current academic year, click on the link 'German Studies on Facebook' on the left. This will bring you to 'Department of German Studies at Mary I' on Facebook. 


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