Summer School 2016

Language and Identity: Interdisciplinary Approaches

The School of Humanities‘ Fourth International Summer School

The fourth international Summer School of the School of Humanities took place in July 2016. The month of July marked a novelty in the four year history of our program and turned out to be in perfect tune with the long longed-for rise of temperatures in Germany.

Right before the official beginning of the program on July 9, 2016, we took some time on Saturday afternoon to show international and local participants around our beautiful campus and guide them on a tour through the city of Mannheim. In the evening, we then kicked off this year's program with a Welcome Reception in the palace. Prof. Dr. Caroline Lusin, Vice Dean of International Affairs at the School of Humanities, gave a warm welcome to all 24 students as well as our visiting professors and guests. Lea Bastian, coordinator of the 2016 Summer School, led through the evening, provided information on organizational matters and introduced our four guest professors from North and South America. Students and teachers then had the chance to mix and mingle and participate in a group quiz to win one of our coveted prizes.

With this fun and relaxed start to the program, both students and teachers entered into three weeks of engaging discussions, thought-provoking exercises and lots of reading, exploring and learning inside and outside their international classrooms. 2016's topic 'Language and Identity: Interdisciplinary Perspectives' allowed for a diverse range of linguistic perspectives offered in a total of four classes: Armin Schwegler's (University of California, USA) class dealt with 'Language Origins: Evolution (DNA), Genetics, and the Brain' while Elizabeth A. Duclos-Orsello (Salem State University, USA) focused her class on 'The Language of 'American' Identity'. Gregory Lobo (Universidad de los Andes, Colombia) taught a course on 'Language and Interculturality' and Grit Liebscher's (University of Waterloo, Canada) class revolved around 'Constructing Multilingual Identites - A Discursive Perspective'.

Despite the time-consuming high-level academia offered in all four of these classes, students made time to engae in some fun leisure activities as well. Enjoying the beautiful weather, we went on excursions to Heidelberg and Karlsruhe, played Frisbee and had picnics and drinks by the waterfront. Not only but definitely in part due to these activities outside the classroom, the Summer School student body as well as teaching and organizing staff got to know each other and connected on a personal level that is very special to our intensive three week program. It is therefore not surprising that the farewell barbecue marking the end of the Summer School on July 29 was an event of mixed feelings - happiness and celebration of three successful weeks and sadness for the program to be over and participants to go their separate ways.

In all, the Summer School 2016 was an extraordinary learning experience, provided lots of opportunities to think and learn beyond regular programs of study and created international bonds as well as lots of fun-filled memories. Our gratitude goes to all participants, both students and teachers, for turning the 2016 program into a great success!

Find some impressions of our Summer School 2016 here.

To read a press review (German), click here.