Teaching now and preparing for next year in Germany
by Jason Mittell — Middlebury College
September 06, 2010 – 16:53
As is my tradition, I’ve waited until the last possible moment to complete the syllabi and course sites for my classes this semester, both of which start meeting tomorrow. I’m teaching Television and American Culture, my annual fall ritual, and a new version of my course on narrative theory, Storytelling in Film & Media. Both syllabi are online, and free for browsing and poaching.
The more uncharted ground for me this semester is that, for the first time in 13 years, I’m sitting in a classroom as a student. My wife and I are both auditing Beginning German this year. While learning a language is certainly enriching enough to undertake for its own sake, we’re doing it with a more of an agenda. I will be on sabbatical in the 2011-12 academic year, and I’ve been invited to be a fellow-in-residence at the Lichtenberg-Kolleg at the University of Göttingen in central Germany. It’s a very interesting and generous program, and will be made even more exciting through collaborations with Göttingen’s American Studies department and their ongoing research project on Popular Seriality.
I’ve only been in Germany two days of my life (twenty years ago), so this is going to be quite an adventure, especially since we’ll be going for 11 months as a family of five! I wanted to publicly announce this here, particularly to alert any European readers that I’ll be based there from August 2011 to June 2012 – are there any conferences that I should be aware of instead of my standard North American circuit? I hope to take advantage of being in Central Europe and travel quite a bit, so help me figure out where to go.