Carol Anne Costabile-Heming is one of our dedicated DAAD Research Ambassadors and a professor of German at the University of North Texas, Denton. Her research focuses on German literature and culture, as well as German film and memory studies.
We thought it would be interesting to feature the people that make our DAAD network what is it: a vast and global net of connections between DAAD award winners, ambassadors, alumni, grant holders, future applicants – all united by their love for study and research abroad and all things German.
So we asked Carol a few questions about her work and experience in Germany:
- When did you know that you wanted to be a German Studies professor? – I’m not sure when I knew, but I always loved my German classes. The decision probably happened while I was studying abroad in Munich during my junior year. I returned to the University of Pennsylvania and began the MA program while I was still completing my BA degree.
- What are you currently working on? – I always have several projects going. I’m finishing up a book manuscript on the contemporary author Friedrich Christian Delius, and I’m looking ahead to another big project on the “Literaturbetrieb” in Germany.
- What was the most ‘German’ experience you have had? – For me, the epitome of “Germanness” has to do with bureaucracy. When I was an exchange scholar at the Humboldt University in the fall of 1990 (shortly before Germany’s re-unification), I went to the Einwohnermeldeamt to report my residency. But, the person I spoke with told me I had the wrong paperwork and sent me back to Humboldt with a different form—turns out, they gave me the form to apply for GDR citizenship!
- What advice would you give to students who are thinking of working in your field? – Language proficiency is of utmost importance. There are fewer tenure track jobs now than when I entered the profession back in 1992, and when I think about the possibility of hiring a new colleague, I expect a high level of language proficiency, near native accent, and the ability to transmit a passion for all things German.
- What advice would you give to students who are thinking of studying abroad in Germany? – Don’t think about it, do it! Germany has an outstanding educational system, and there are degree programs available for just about any interest. While many programs of study do not require knowledge of German, the study abroad experience will be much richer if students can communicate in German no matter the level.
- Which pictures, plants or unusual objects are there in your office? – My office screams Berlin—from posters to stuffed bears to “Ampelmännchen”. Two of my favorite objects are art works done by former students.
- Can you cook a German meal without a recipe? If so, which one? Frikadellen (Bulleten)
- What is your favorite German word? – Geschwindigkeitsbegrenzung—I make a joke with my students that the Autobahn does not have a speed limit because the word won’t fit on a sign!
Our DAAD Research Ambassadors are scholars and scientists in North America who have conducted advanced long-term research projects in Germany and are interested in promoting research in Germany at their home universities and among their peers and students.
Literaturbetrieb: literary industry/scene
Einwohnermeldeamt: local/municipal resident registration office
Ampelmännchen: symbol on pedestrian traffic signal in former East Germany (GDR)
Frikadelle: frikadeller, aka Danish Meatballs
Geschwindigkeitsbegrenzung: speed limit
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