Topic: “‘Down and Out’ but in the ‘Works’: Homeless Soldiers and Homeless Youth in German Literature and Film”
Presented by: Kirsten E. Kumpf, UI Department of German, Division of World Languages, Literatures & Cultures, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Date: Friday, Dec. 9, 2011
Location: Room 1117, University Capitol Centre
Abstract: Germany was defeated in two world wars, both of which resulted in the loss of sizeable territory and the dislocation of many people. It suffered through the Great Depression, it was forced to divide into two separate and competing states, and finally it underwent national reunification causing economic and social maladjustments for many. One of the results of the political and social upheaval of the twentieth century was widespread homelessness in Germany. This condition also establishes itself as an important theme and literary and cinematic device in various artistic pieces. Kumpf’s talk will focus on the fabrication and aesthetics of homelessness as it surfaces in children and youth literature and in works dealing with the great wars.
Kirsten E. Kumpf received her B.A. in German Studies and Communication Studies at Luther College in Decorah, IA (2002). During that time she also studied a year at the Westfälische Wilhelms Universität in Münser, Germany. Following her undergraduate studies she interned for a year as an assistant to the Director of International Studies at the Fachhochschule Aalen in southern Germany. Kirsten began her Masters coursework at the University of Iowa in 2003. She received her MA in the fall of 2005 with a thesis titled: “Improvement Through Movement: A Thematic and Linguistic Analysis of German Minority Writing Through the Works of Anant Kumar.” This study focused on an Indian author living in Germany and writing in German. After a year of teaching as a Gast Dozentin at the University of Dortmund in Dortmund, Germany, she returned to the University of Iowa in the fall of 2006 and began her Ph.D. program in German literature. After defending her comprehensive and oral exams, she served for five months as an honorary visiting researcher in the German Department at Ghent University in Belgium. She obtained ABD status in the spring of 2009. Her dissertation in progress is a study of homelessness as portrayed on the German drama.