grants & prizes

The DAAD Article Prize of the GSA

This prize is funded through the North American office of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and carries an award of $500. Eligibility is restricted to articles published in German Studies Review. The winner receives the prize during the banquet of the GSA Annual Conference. A GSA committee awards the prizes with committee membership alternating between the two groups of academic disciplines represented in the Association.

  • Even-numbered years: Articles in the fields of history, political science, and other social sciences published during the preceding two years are eligible.
  • Odd-numbered years: Articles in the fields of German language and literature, cultural studies, and the humanities published during the preceding two years are eligible.

2017 Prize Winner Announced

The DAAD and the GSA are proud to announce that Professor Maria Makela (California College of the Arts) is the winner of this year's DAAD Article Prize for the best article in literature or cultural studies published in the German Studies Review during the years 2015 and 2016. Her article, "Rejuvenation and Regen(d)eration: Der Steinachfilm, Sex Glands, and Weimar-Era Visual and Literary Culture," appeared in the GSR, volume 38, no. 1 (February 2015).

Here is the prize committee’s laudatio:

Maria Makela's well-argued and well-formulated essay, "Rejuvenation and Regen(d)eration: Der Steinachfilm, Sex Glands, and Weimar-Era Visual and Literary Culture," has an impressive range for its interdisciplinary breadth and depth, engaging at once visual, literary and film studies, medical discourses, as well as gender and sexuality studies. While it makes a unique contribution to its discreet area of inquiry, it also puts a vast array of fields into conversation with ease. Makela uses an interdisciplinary approach to consider Der Steinachfilm (1923), about which little has hitherto been published. Makela presents the era's lively discourse about sex, gender formation and appearance, and also on aging and rejuvenation. Eugen Steinach, a professor of physiology at the University of Vienna and the most of famous endocrinologist of the era,
experimented with the transplantation of ovaries and testicles and argued that hormones helped to define the physiology of sex and gender identity. This turn of the century discourse, which intensified at the end of World War I and throughout the 1920s, provides the context out of which
Der Steinachfilm arose. The film had two iterations: a scientific version released in 1922, entitled Steinachsforschungen (Steinach's Research) and the popular version released in 1923. This film and the related scientific and popular discourse inflected much Weimar-era cultural production and provide new perspectives on the era's canonical visual and literary texts, including Anton Räderscheidt's painting “Selbstbildnis” (Self-Portrait, 1928), Vicki Baum's novel Helene Willfüer (1929), Hannah Höch's photomontages and Til Brugmann's literary grotesques.

Makela's article deftly reads together Weimar-era medical and scientific discourses; visual, literary and filmic texts; and sex and gender studies, making a substantive contribution to these fields. Additionally, it is so accessibly written that one could assign it to undergraduates or give it to people outside academia. An impressive range of illustrations undescores the power of the argument. A very well-written, engaging, and edifying read!

Prize Committee: Professors Christina Gerhardt (University of Hawai’i, chair), Tobias Boes (University of Notre Dame), and Sonja Klocke (University of Wisconsin—Madison).

2016 Prize Winner Announced

The DAAD and the GSA are proud to announce that Professor George S. Williamson (Florida State University) is the winner of this year's DAAD Article Prize for the best article in history or social sciences published in the German Studies Review during the years 2014 and 2015. His article, "'Thought Is in Itself a Dangerous Operation': The Campaign Against 'Revolutionary Machinations' in Germany, 1819-1828," appeared in the GSR, volume 28, no. 2 (May 2015).

Here is the text of the committee’s laudatio:

Professor Williamson's article, "'Thought Is in Itself a Dangerous Operation': The Campaign Against 'Revolutionary Machinations' in Germany, 1819-1828," examines the ways the state apparatus was deployed to locate and disrupt revolutionary groups in Vormärz Germany. It focuses on the means and ends of the logic of surveillance and thus provides important historical context for our own confrontations with political violence. Professor Williamson's essay was included in a special issue of the the GSR dedicated to the problem of "surveillance and German studies."

2015 Prize Winner Announced

The DAAD and the GSA are proud to announce that Professor Tobias Boes (University of Notre Dame) is the winner of this year's DAAD Article Prize for the best article in Germanistik or cultural studies published in the German Studies Review during the years 2013 and 2014. His article, “Political Animals: Serengeti Shall Not Die and the Cultural Heritage of Mankind,” appeared in the GSR, volume 36, no. 1 (February 2013).

Here is the text of the committee's laudatio:

This article productively reevaluates Bernard Grzimek’s highly resonant 1959 documentary, Serengeti darf nicht sterben. Deploying Mary Louise Pratt’s concept of a “European project of global consciousness,” it problematizes the film’s advocacy for Serengeti wildlife in the name of a cultural and natural heritage “belonging to all mankind.” Through compelling analyses of aerial sequences and voice-overs in relation to Nazi and colonialist value systems, the article lays bare the film’s use of a disembodied, high altitude visual perspective to envision East African landscapes ideally void of local human presence. Such a perspective is shown to favor Western ways of viewing and power structures as they took shape in the emerging Cold War era, in part by disqualifying the perspectives and needs of local African populations as they attempt to shake off European colonial rule, but also by participating in visual regimes shaped by images made of planet earth during the early space race. These linkages enable the article to make important contributions to environmental studies, film studies, post-colonial studies and conceptions of space, as it raises important contemporary questions about a visual tradition that has heretofore largely figured as a major enabling condition for envisioning global interconnectedness and environmental awareness.

2014 Prize Winner Announced

The DAAD and the GSA are proud to announce that Professor Kira Thurman (University of Akron) is the winner of this year's DAAD Article Prize for the best article in history or social sciences published in the German Studies Review during the years 2012 and 2013. Her article, "Black Venus, White Bayreuth: Race, Sexuality, and the Depoliticization of Wagner in Postwar West Germany," appeared in the GSR, volume 35, no. 3 (October 2012).

The prize committee was chaired by Professor Shelley Baranowski (history, University of Akron). The other members of the committee are Professor Eva Giloi (history, Rutgers University, Newark) and Professor Edward Ross Dickinson (history, University of California, Davis). The GSA wishes to thank the committee for its hard and outstanding work, and congratulates Professor Thurman for her excellent achievement.

Here is the text of the committee's laudatio:

In this cogently argued and intellectually adventurous article, Kira Thurman offers a nuanced and surprising account of the renegotiation of the meaning of race in postwar West Germany. Making the case for the significance of music in German politics and culture, the article focuses on a particular incident, the casting of an African American soprano in Tannhäuser at the Bayreuth Festival in 1961 by director Wieland Wagner, grandson of Richard Wagner, musical icon of German national culture and an enormously influential figure in German racist thought. Exploring the motivations for this move and public responses to it through careful and imaginative research, Thurman maps out the complex ways in which racial discourse could be used to support opposing cultural and political agendas. Most strikingly, the article demonstrates how extraordinarily long-lived exoticizing racist tropes (here the image of the "Black Venus" as embodiment of primitive sensuality) could be appropriated by cultural progressives to accomplish a self-consciously Brechtian subversion of xenophobic racist legacy of the Third Reich. Thurman's account complicates and deepens our understanding of the politics of race and culture in postwar Germany by reminding us of the interplay between the stubborn and pervasive persistence of racism and the depth and breadth of the desire to escape its legacy.

 

2013 Prize Winner Announced

The DAAD and the GSA are proud to announce that Professor Ari Joskowicz (Vanderbilt University) is the winner of this year's DAAD Article Prize for the best article in Germanistik or cultural studies published in the German Studies Review during the years 2011 and 2012. His article, "Heinrich Heine's Transparent Masks: Denominational Politics and the Poetics of Emancipation in Nineteenth Century Germany and France," appeared in the GSR, volume 34, no. 1 (February 2011).

The prize committee was chaired by Professor Jennifer Kapczynski of Washington University in St. Louis; the other members were Professor William Donahue, Duke University, and Professor John Pizer, Louisiana State University. The GSA wishes to thank the committee for its hard and outstanding work, and congratulates Professor Joskowicz for his excellent achievement.

Here is the text of the committee's laudatio:

Ari Joskowicz's article breaks new ground in its analysis of Heinrich Heine's strategic anti Catholicism. Making the case for Heine's "transparent masks," Joskowicz argues that the author overtly employed a "provisional, politically instrumental Protestantism" that, while playing to religious divisions of the day, provided him with a secure yet playful vantage from which to approach fundamental questions of emancipation. Drawing on the German and French reception of Heine's writings as well as the author's own words, Joskowicz shows that Heine took up the Protestant Catholic polemic in order to write himself into the position of a discursive insider and, in the process, to challenge a German intellectual culture that commonly sought to marginalize him as a Jew. Joskowicz makes the case that Heine, writing for a German audience well aware of his status as a convert, at once mobilized denominational stereotypes and criticized their exclusionary nature. Joskowicz's analysis not only makes an important contribution to the scholarship on a canonical author, but also raises a host of key theoretical questions pertinent to the wider fields of secularization studies, religious studies, and exile studies. In exploring Heine's complex relationship to the denominational debates of his day, the article provides a critical re examination of confession, demonstrating how a declaration of faith may serve less as a marker of religious conviction than as a starting point for an oppositional identity politics.

2012 Prize Winner Announced

The DAAD and the GSA are proud to announce that Professor Edward Dickinson (University of California, Davis) is the winner of this year’s DAAD Article Prize for the best article in history or social sciences published in German Studies Review during the years 2010 and 2011.

His article, “Altitude and Whiteness: Germanizing the Alps and Alpinizing the Germans, 1875-1935,” appeared in the GSR, volume 33, no. 3 (October 2010). The prize committee consisted of Professors Elizabeth Heineman (chair), University of Iowa; Mark Clark, University of Virginia at Wise; Devin Pendas, Boston College. The GSA wishes to thank the committee for its hard and outstanding work, and congratulates Professor Dickinson for his excellent achievement.

Here is the text of the committee’s laudatio:

"In this powerfully argued, well-researched article, Professor Dickinson recasts our understanding of the genealogy of German and European racism. Contrary to the historiographic tendency to reduce the history of racist thought to its “scientific” dimensions, Dickinson points to two further dimensions crucial to the history of racism: the role of aesthetics and the influence of environmentalism. Taking the racial reconceptualization of the inhabitants of the Alps as his empirical referent, Dickinson shows how aesthetic judgments rescued a racial understanding of the Älpler at odds with the then extant scientific knowledge. Dickinson’s article offers a powerful corrective to an excessive emphasis on the linkages between science and racism, and sets forth new and exciting avenues for research, tracing the role of both aesthetic and environmental thought in the history of European racism. The article is a model of rigorous research and creative reconceptualization."