Christina Gerhardt is Associate Professor at the University of Hawaii. She authored Screening the Red Army Faction, co-edited 1968 and Global Cinema and Celluloid Revolt, and guest-edited 1968 and West German Cinema. She has held visiting appointments at the Freie Universität, Harvard University, Columbia University and the University of California at Berkeley. Her writing has been published in the journals Cineaste, Film Criticism, Film Quarterly, German Studies Review, New German Critique, Quarterly Review of Film and Video and The Sixties. She has been awarded grants by many funding organizations, including DAAD.
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We asked Christina a few questions about her work and experience:
- What sparked your interest in the German history and culture?
My interest in German history and culture was sparked by my heritage. My parents emigrated to the U.S.
- What are you currently working on?
Part of my research focuses on film, especially of the sixties. This year, both my book, Screening the Red Army Faction: Historical and Cultural Memory, and 1968 and Global Cinema, an edited volume that I initiated and co-edited have been published. The former was generously supported by the DAAD: DAAD Faculty Research Grant, 2011; DAAD Summer Seminar in German Studies at Cornell, 2008; and DAAD summer of research at the Center for Contemporary German Literature, Washington University in St. Louis, 2006. Relatedly, Celluloid Revolt: German Screen Cultures and the Long Sixties (Camden House), another edited volume that I initiated and am co-editing will be published in 2019. Last year, 1968 and German Cinema, a special issue of The Sixties that I guest-edited was published. It has been a busy time since this year is the 50th anniversary of 1968!
- What was the most challenging experience you have ever had in pursuing research abroad?
The most challenging experience I have had pursuing research abroad is the funding to get there. The DAAD provides an invaluable service to faculty and students in making it possible to get to Germany in order to conduct research there!
- What advice would you give to students who are thinking of choosing your field of study?
German studies connects with so many different fields in the arts and humanities, the natural sciences and the social sciences, in Business, Engineering and Law. Germany is the fourth largest economy world-wide and one of the EU’s powerhouses. The possibilities are literally limitless!
- What advice would you give to North American students and researchers who are thinking of pursuing research abroad in Germany?
Explore all opportunities in terms of funding. Apply for all of them. If at first you don’t succeed, try try again. Once in Germany, keep an open mind! Be curious and welcome the curiosity about the U.S. of others you encounter. You may not agree or like everything you try, see or hear but at least you will have had some interesting exchanges, have some eye opening experiences and have great stories to tell!
- Which pictures, plants or unusual objects are there on your desk? I have some very old family photos on my desk. There are also some sea shells from various beaches from California to Cornwall.
- Can you cook a German dish without a recipe? If so, which one?Every year, I make two versions of a (vegan) potato salad for our German Club’s annual fundraiser. Apparently, faculty, students and staff like it! The recipe, which I no longer need, is from Greens, a vegetarian restaurant in San Francisco. I also love making apple cake in the fall. It is based on the cakes my grandmother used to make.
- Who has inspired you the most in your career and why?
My mentors at UC-Berkeley, Martin Jay and Tony Kaes. They are exemplary as scholars and mentors. They have been unwaveringly professional, kind and supportive. I do not have enough good things to say about either one.
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