Luther College Associate Professor of German Elizabeth Steding has been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Scholar grant to conduct research and teach in Münster, Germany during the 2018 spring semester.
Steding's research examines the portrayal of East German literature in curricula and textbooks used in German secondary schools between 1985 and 2015. She will also teach a course at the University of Munster on incorporating East German literature in the classroom.
The German Democratic Republic, or GDR, was a socialist nation that existed from 1949 to 1990. While the GDR shared a language and pre-World War II history with West Germany, the two countries developed marked differences during their 40 years of separation. The reunification of Germany in 1990 raised new questions about the past and Germany identity.
"While literature textbooks might not seem political, they reveal a lot about society," Steding reflects. "Which authors are included, which texts are chosen, even which questions are asked about them all provide clues about what a society values and what they want to ignore or forget. My research explores how these attitudes change – or don't change – over time."
Steding has taught at Luther since 2005, but began teaching high school German and math in 1994. During the 1997-98 school year, she was a Fulbright exchange teacher at the Closterberg-Hauptschule in Cochem, Germany, where she taught English, math and music to students in grades 5-10. She holds a bachelor's degree in German from Alma College, a master's degree in German language and culture from the University of California, Santa Barbara and doctor of philosophy in German studies from Michigan State University.