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Students Accompany Redding to Symposium

Greg Redding - Wabash students Andy Deig (’08) and Tim Rickard (’08) accompanied Professor Greg Redding (’88) to the 31st Annual Symposium of the Society for German-American Studies, held this year at the University of Kansas on April 26-29. The Society for German-American Studies is an international scholarly organization that fosters research in the history, culture, folklore, genealogy, language, literature, and creative arts of the German element in North America.

Redding moderated a panel on “Indiana German-Americana” that featured four projects by Wabash students. Deig presented his paper entitled “A Common Bond: Music as a Bridge between Kirchendeutsche and Vereinsdeutsche”; Rickard’s talk was called “Father and Son: The Relationship of Gustav and Otto Stark.” Jeremy Sexton (’07) and Aaron Spolarich (’08) could not attend the conference, but they sent along DVD projects they had produced. Sexton’s video, “Indiana’s Utopian Experiment,” recounted the story of the New Harmony settlement in Southern Indiana. Spolarich focused on Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. and his German-American forebears in “Vonnegut: A Hoosier Legacy.”

The panel was designed to provide conference attendees with a model for collaborative research in the humanities at the undergraduate level. The Wabash projects were well-received, and each will likely have a life beyond Wabash as a result of the conference. A copy of Sexton’s video went home with a German professor in Wisconsin who plans to use it in a course next semester. An SGAS member from New York has inquired about getting a copy of Spolarich’s Vonnegut video. The director of the Max Kade German-American Center at IUPUI has asked for Deig’s paper to include in a series of occasional papers that he publishes. Rickard and Redding hope to continue their research on Gustav and Otto Stark and submit an article to an appropriate venue.

Each of the presentations was produced with support from the Quality of Life in Indiana Grant from Lilly Endowment. Deig and Rickard co-authored their papers with Professor Redding under the “Know Indiana” portion of the grant. Sexton and Spolarich worked with Howard Hewitt and Professor Tom Campbell respectively in the “Present Indiana” category.