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The GLL Committee for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

DEI initiatives
in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures 
at The Ohio State University 


Opening statement:   

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) follow naturally from the core mission of the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at Ohio State of creating and distributing new and relevant knowledge in Germanic Studies, since the field is engaged with research and teaching of diverse cultural, historical, and intellectual perspectives. The department desires that students, staff, faculty, and visitors with diverse identities, cultures, backgrounds, and perspectives feel welcomed by our academic community. We aim to create a professional environment and culture of acceptance and follow equitable and transparent policies, procedures, and practices that agree with the university's shared values. Furthermore, we support the university in its effort to acknowledge the history of Land Grant Universities, founded on and with indigenous lands. 

Our ongoing DEI initiatives focus on the essential responsibilities of our department:
  1. Teaching and Curriculum Development 
  2. Undergraduate, Graduate, and Faculty Research


1. Teaching and Curriculum Development

Our language programs are committed to cultivating and sustaining an environment of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The goal of all our courses at all levels of the German undergraduate language curriculum is to help students develop intercultural and linguistic competence and gain a broad perspective of the German-speaking world. Our classes are student-centered and include the history of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland in all levels and present these countries as the diverse and multi-cultural societies they are today. We also engage in specific issues relevant to German-speaking cultures and societies that reach beyond the borders of the nation states like international communication and trade, migration and exile, or environmental humanities. Germany, Austria, and Switzerland are thus portrayed as part of a global community facing political, ecological, and economic challenges beyond their borders. Our DEI efforts include our textbook selection Impuls Deutsch 1 and 2 that appeal to a broad student population and include multi-faceted, inclusive, and culturally sensitive discussions of (dis)ability, ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation, and gender. To support our DEI-efforts in the classroom, we facilitated our inaugural workshop in which we discussed current research and our own teaching practices in AU 2023.

Our graduate students are an essential part of the department’s efforts in further increasing the diversity, equity, and inclusion of our undergraduate curriculum. GLL graduate students were actively involved in the first departmental workshops focused on teaching. Split into a two-part series, Part 1 of the fall 2023 workshop season focused on contemporary conversations pertaining to decolonizing the curriculum of German Studies and critical reflection of one's pedagogical approaches. Part 2 was organized to workshop syllabi in application of the updated methods and approaches discussed in Part 1.


2. Undergraduate, Graduate, and Faculty Research

Our faculty and students engage with diverse perspectives in their research in a multitude of ways with respect to topics, methods, or approaches. Topics and areas of inquiry developed, explored, and critically analyzed by members of the GLL department include, but are not limited to, underexplored perspectives in Germanic languages and cultures; representations of and philosophical reflections on the history of oppression and persecution of minorities or underrepresented individuals and communities; the diversity of viewpoints and characters in cultural, intellectual, and linguistic expressions; and inclusive and equitable cultural practices and ideas with respect to individuals, societies, and the natural environment.

Areas of research or teaching with DEI perspectives, in alphabetical order, include, but are not limited to:   

- Black German Studies 
- Body Studies 
- Environmental Humanities and Ecocriticism 
- Ethnicity and Race Studies 
- Film, Media, Book, and Manuscript Studies 
- Holocaust Studies  
- Indigenous Studies 
- Intellectual History 
- Jewish and German-Jewish Studies 
- Language and Politics 
- Language Variations
- Migration Studies 
- Multilingualism 
- Narrative Theory; Narrative as Social Action 
- Postcolonial Studies 
- Sociolinguistics 
- Translation Studies 
- Women and Gender Studies; Queer Studies 

Workshop, Spring 2024

In Spring 2024, we will organize a workshop on diversity, equity, and inclusion in GLL research that will feature recent and ongoing research of junior faculty; future workshops will also include associated faculty and graduate students. Topics will vary according to the presenters’ research interests. The aim of the workshop is to learn about, critically reflect on, and discuss recent scholarship in the framework of DEI initiatives.  

Organizers:  May Mergenthaler and Benjamin Beese 


(Selected) Resources related to issues of DEI within the disciplines represented in GLL 

Organizations and Networks: 

 Scandinavian Studies Projects: 

 Scandinavian Studies Publications:  

- Björklund, Jenny, and Ursula Lindqvist. 2016. New Dimensions of Diversity in Nordic Culture and Society. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 

- Eriksen, Thomas Hylland, Sanna Valkonen, and Jarno Valkonen, eds. 2018. Knowing from the Indigenous North: Sámi Approaches to History, Politics and Belonging. London: Routledge.  

- Gjellstad, Melissa. 2019. “Reflections on Teaching the Convergence of Scandinavian Settlement and Native American Removal in the Upper Midwest.” Norwegian-American Studies 37 (1): 37–46. 

- Körber, Lill-Ann. 2019. “Sweden and St. Barthélemy: Exceptionalisms, Whiteness, and the Disappearance of Slavery from Colonial History.” Scandinavian Studies 91 (1–2): 74–97. 

- Kristín Loftsdóttir, and Lars Jensen, eds. 2012. Whiteness and Postcolonialism in the Nordic Region: Exceptionalism, Migrant Others and National Identities. 1st edition. F arnham, Surrey, England ; Burlington, VT: Routledge. 

- Naum, Magdalena, and Jonas M. Nordin, eds. 2013. Scandinavian Colonialism and the Rise of Modernity: Small Time Agents in a Global Arena. Vol. 37. Contributions To Global Historical Archaeology. New York, NY: Springer New York.  

- Wallner, Lars, and Katarina Eriksson Barajas. 2022. “‘It’s Not Her, It’s Hen’ – Situated Classroom Use of the Swedish Gender-Neutral Pronoun Hen.” Classroom Discourse 0 (0): 1–17.  


- Teaching Resources at In geveb: A Journal of Yiddish Studies, incl. resources on teaching about antisemitism and race and incorporating non-binary pronouns and inclusive language in the classroom:    https://ingeveb.org/pedagogy/p2  

- Resources for Social Justice and Anti-Racism in the L2 Classroom compiled by the University of Arizona CERCLL https://docs.google.com/document/d/10_e5jaX-uS_mvun2RqWTCR51zGdFSXGoxhLQQ67ZU9Y/edit 


- Cultural and Linguistic Competence through Social Justice,” by L.J, Randolph. [Webinar


2023-2024 DEI Committee – Faculty: Cynthia D. Porter (committee co-chair); Carmen Taleghani-Nikazm (committee co-chair); JJ Aupiais; Matthew Johnson; Merrill Kaplan; May Mergenthaler; Budimka Uskokovic; Graduate Students: Marcel Foerster; Ben Beese