by Tony Moore
Sometimes to really grab hold of a subject, you need to get way outside any book about it. Two Dickinsonians are about to do just that with the help of prestigious scholarships that will send them across the globe.
The DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) scholarship comes with a generous monthly stipend, covers travel expenses and is accompanied by a level of prestige that’s tough to beat (only 28 undergraduates were awarded DAADs last year). This year, Frances Youmans ’19 (English, German) received a DAAD to pursue a research project on the Weimar film genre of Aufklärungsfilme and its local impact in Bremen.
Frances Youmans ’19 is off to Bremen, Germany, in the fall.
“One of my favorite German directors, Ernst Lubitsch, made a movie in 1918 called Ich möchte kein Mann sein (or I Don’t Want to Be a Man) about a woman who dresses as a man and then seduces another man,” explains Youmans of the project, which will cover 7-10 months under the aegis of the William G. and Elke Durden Bremen Program. “I learned about a genre of similar films dealing with gender and sexuality made in 1920s Germany known as Aufklärungsfilme, or ‘enlightenment films.’ Because these films were discussed in the context of Berlin and other large European cities, I want to see how smaller parts of Germany—such as Bremen and its surrounding neighborhoods—reacted to such progressive media.”
Youmans will immerse herself in both the local and wider European cultures, all while looking forward to the simpler things as well.
“I’m most excited about becoming more fluent in German—not only taking classes in German but also the everyday interactions like ordering food or riding the U-Bahn,” she says. “I’ll also use my time in Europe to travel and to really get to know my host city. Bremen is relatively unique in that a lot of their pre-WWII architecture is still standing, so I’m looking forward to exploring the area.”
U.S. Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) sends around 500 American undergraduate and graduate students abroad each summer for language studies and cultural immersion. The goal of the CLS program is “broadening the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages and building relationships between the people of the United States and other countries.”
This year, Austen Dowell ’17 (international studies, Russian) will go to Azerbaijan, where he’ll stay with an Azerbaijani host family in Baku for eight weeks while studying Turkish at the Azerbaijan University of Languages.
“While fully funded by the government, the programs are strenuous, intensive and designed to create a fully immersive cultural and linguistic experience,” says Dowell, who is no stranger to studying overseas or exploring the international landscape: He’s spent three semesters doing research abroad, notably at Russian State University for the Humanities through the Dickinson-in-Moscow program. Dowell also recently participated in a simulation called Crisis in the South China Sea, a weekend seminar through which students from Dickinson and five other colleges worked alongside students from the Air Force Academy, the Naval Academy, West Point and the Virginia Military Institute on crisis management.
The CLS was last awarded to a Dickinson student in 2014, and Dowell seems like the perfect candidate to pick that mantle back up.
“I am very excited to learn about the complex cultures of the Caucasus region while developing personal relationships within my new community,” he says. “I have really wanted to study Turkish seriously for a long time and hope to use this experience to increase my involvement in the field of Eurasian affairs.”
Published June 1, 2017