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Department News

Class of 2017

Congratulations to all of our GRALL students who graduated on Sunday, May 21!

Special recognition to Xinyi Du, who received the Dr. Eberhard Frey Prize for excellence in Comparative Literature and Culture, European Cultural Studies, and German Studies!

5th Annual International Video Competition!

Congratulations all of the 20-level language students who participated in the 5th Annual International Video Competition on Tuesday, April 25! We are proud to announce that the students in GER 20B: Continuing German and JAPN 20B: Continuing Japanese won first and second place, respectively! Watch all of the GRALL finalists below:

German Studies (1st Place)

Title: Bobrat (watch the video)
Participants: Cam Braunstein '19, Julia Haynes '20, Arianna Unger '18, Libby Williams '20
Instructor: Kathrin Seidl

Japanese Language Program (2nd Place)

Title: The Turtle Inside My Dream (watch the video)
Participants: Jingyuan Huang '17, Allison Tien '20, Nancy Tran '20, Charlie Weld '20
Instructor: Hisae Fujiwara

Chinese Language Program

Title: Wang Peng's Story (watch the video)
Participants: Ben Astrachan '19, Catherine Lin '19, Minnie Norgaisse '19, Alice Wu '20
Instructors: Jian Wei, Chunzi Chai, Yiping Zhang


Title: 농담 뉴스 / Joking News (watch the video)
Participants: Yvette Gong '17, Anna Kiselevich '20, Angela Liang '19, Austin Luor '17
Instructor: Eun-Jo Lee

Russian Studies

Title: Domovoi or the House Spirit: Guide to Peaceful Co-existence (watch the video)
Participants: Joshua Mandell '20, Ivan Perez '20
Instructor: Irina Dubinina

Learn more about the International Video Competition and see past winners on the Foreign Language Oversight Committee (FLOC) website.

Russian Language Teachers to Visit Brandeis in March

The American Councils for International Education is bringing eight teachers of Russian as a foreign language to Brandeis University on March 22-23, 2017, as part of its effort to acquaint Russian teachers with American academic culture. The teachers hail from the National Research Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod and from the independent KORA Russian Language Center in Vladimir. Every summer, these teachers instruct U.S. undergraduate and graduate students in the U.S. Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship Program. The purpose of the visit is to observe U.S. language teaching practices, understand challenges that U.S. students face, and experience American academic culture firsthand.

New Book by GRALL Professor Matthew Fraleigh

Plucking ChrysanthemumsThe Department of German, Russian and Asian Languages and Literature is excited to announce the publication of a new book by Professor Matthew Fraleigh: Plucking Chrysanthemums: Narushima Ryūhoku and Sinitic Literary Traditions in Modern Japan. The book is currently available from Harvard University Press.

From the publisher's website:

"Plucking Chrysanthemums is a critical study of the life and works of Narushima Ryūhoku (1837–1884): Confucian scholar, world traveler, pioneering journalist, and irrepressible satirist. A major figure on the nineteenth-century Japanese cultural scene, Ryūhoku wrote works that were deeply rooted in classical Sinitic literary traditions. Sinitic poetry and prose enjoyed a central and prestigious place in Japan for nearly all of its history, and the act of composing it continued to offer modern Japanese literary figures the chance to incorporate themselves into a written tradition that transcended national borders. Adopting Ryūhoku’s multifarious invocations of Six Dynasties poet Tao Yuanming as an organizing motif, Matthew Fraleigh traces the disparate ways in which Ryūhoku drew upon the Sinitic textual heritage over the course of his career. The classical figure of this famed Chinese poet and the Sinitic tradition as a whole constituted a referential repository to be shaped, shifted, and variously spun to meet the emerging circumstances of the writer as well as his expressive aims. Plucking Chrysanthemums is the first book-length study of Ryūhoku in a Western language and also one of the first Western-language monographs to examine Sinitic poetry and prose (kanshibun) composition in modern Japan."

From the back cover:

"Japan's preeminent poet and social critic in the two decades leading up to the advent of the modern novel, Narushima Ryūhoku is today sadly relegated to the backwaters of literary history. Fraleigh's beautifully written and precisely documented history of the writer's turn from samurai official to "field" journalist leads the reader to consider how literary discourses would come, albeit briefly, to inform the political and economic realities of late nineteenth-century Japan. Highly recommended for all students of classical and modern Asian culture."
Robert Campbell, Professor, University of Tokyo

"Just as Narushima Ryūhoku was one of the preeminent writers of his era in the realm of Sinitic Japanese literature (kanshibun), so has his biographer Matthew Fraleigh become a leader among the growing number of scholars working to revive this once vibrant literary space. Plucking Chrysanthemums and its companion work, New Chronicles of Yanagibashi and Diary of a Journey to the West, at once compellingly elucidate kanshibun texts and vividly describe the culture in which they were created and received."
H. Mack Horton, Professor, University of California, Berkeley

"With Matthew Fraleigh's new book, a great oversight in the tale of Japan's early road to modernity is now finally being remedied. His study demonstrates the importance of kanbun as a written language of nineteenth-century modernization and drives home the forgotten truth that, if we wish to grasp more fully the mindsets of Japanese caught in the transition toward the modern age, we must also read the vast output of Sinitic poetry and prose of the Meiji period. Narushima Ryūhoku is indeed an emblematic figure in this process."
Ivo Smits, Professor, Leiden University

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Galina Gazizullina, 2016-2017 Fulbright FLTA

The Russian Studies Program is excited to announce that Galina Gazizullina of Russia has been awarded a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) Program grant to serve as a teaching assistant in Russian and take courses at Brandeis University for academic year 2016-17.

While in the United States, Galina will share her language and culture with U.S. communities to inspire Americans to travel and study overseas, and make U.S. citizens better prepared to engage with businesses, governments, and organizations abroad.

Read the Fulbright Press Release for additional details.

Innovations in Teaching and Research Grants 2016-17

Congratulations to the GRALL faculty members who have been awarded grants for Innovation in Teaching and Research:

Teaching Innovation Grant Recipients

Irina Dubinina and Curt Woolhiser
Increasing Structural Accuracy in the Acquisition of Russian

Hisae Fujiwara
Collaborative project targeting advanced-level students of Japanese at Brandeis and Chuo university students in Japan

Kathrin Seidl
Re-designing Language Courses Through Technology-Assisted Exams

Research Innovation Award Recipients

Irina Dubinina
Ethnography and Language Structure in Bilingual Communities

Library & Technology Services Summer Grant Recipient 2016

Congratulations to Professor Kathrin Seidl, recipient of a 2016 Library & Technology Services Summer Grant for Faculty! Professor Seidl will be working on including an information literacy module in the German language studies curriculum and collaborating with students to investigate primary German language sources housed in Brandeis’ Department of Special Collections.

Senior Faculty Research Leave Award 2016-17

Congratulations to Professor Harleen Singh, one of the recipients of the 2016-17 Senior Faculty Research Leaves! These competitive awards provide Arts & Sciences faculty with a non-teaching semester and research funds to allow them to focus on a scholarly or creative project.

Professor Singh received the award for her proposed project, Half an Independence: Women, Violence, and Modern Lives in India.

Class of 2016

Congratulations to all of our GRALL students who graduated on Sunday, May 22!

Special recognition to this year's recipients of the Dr. Eberhard Frey Prize:

  • Johanna Doren, for excellence in German Studies
  • Eve Litvak, for excellence in Russian Studies

2016 ACTR National Post-Secondary Essay Contest

Five Brandeis students were distinguished with honorary mention for their National Post-Secondary Russian Essay Contest submissions. This year, over 1,000 students in institutions across the U.S. participated in the contest!

Congratulations to the follow Brandeis Russian language students who received this high award:

Mina Antic '19
Uliana Certan '19
Uros Randelovic '18
Ben Vizlakh '16
Breanna Vizlakh '16

Congratulations, Fei!

The German Studies Program is proud and excited to announce that Fei Xu, UDR for the German Studies Program, will be attending the MIT School of Architecture and Planning on a full scholarship in Fall 2016!

Fei XuFei is a senior majoring in Architectural Studies and International and Global Studies and minoring in German Studies. He began studying German at Brandeis in his sophomore year, and became a UDR for the program the following year. In both summer 2014 and summer 2015, he received a Max Kade Travel Grant from the Center for German and European Studies and studied art and architecture abroad in Germany. After taking a GECS course on climate change with Professor Sabine von Mering, sustainable development became one of the major themes in his design projects. He is currently interning in a midsize architecture firm, working on projects under the guidance of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

Fei is an invaluable member of the German Studies UDR team, and has been instrumental in designing materials for the program, planning and executing events, and helping to promote German Studies across the University.

2015 Mandel Center for the Humanities Faculty Grants

Congratulations to Professor Irina Dubinina, one of the co-recipients of the 2015 Mandel Center for the Humanities Faculty Grants! Sophia Malamud (COSCI, Language and Linguistics) and Irina Dubinina (GRALL) were awarded the grant for the creation of an annotated, online, and searchable linguistic corpus of speech in immigrant communities. This collection will support research into language acquisition and attrition in contexts of migration.

2015 ACTR National Post-Secondary Essay Contest

Five students of Russian at Brandeis received medals in the 2015 ACTR National Post-Secondary Essay Contest. Students' essays are judged by native speakers of Russian and receive Gold, Silver and Bronze certificates of accomplishment. Students are judged in their proficiency category, i.e., first-year students are compared with other first-year students. Brandeis has participated in the contest since 2009. The topic of the 2015 Essay Competition was "a very interesting day in my life."

Award Recipients:

Hannah Germaine received a Bronze Medal in the category "students who may or may not speak Russian with their families, and who have NOT attended school in Russia or the former Soviet Union and who had to learn reading and writing skills after emigration. Those students who did not have any formal instruction in Russian before college and have had fewer than 60 contact hours of instruction in college."

Uros Randelovic, a first-year student, received a Silver Medal in the category "native speaker of another Slavic language, first year of Russian language study."

Maria Shaposhnikova received a Bronze Medal in the category "Students who may or may not speak Russian with their families, and who have NOT attended school in Russia or the former Soviet Union, but who have had private formal instruction in the language after emigration, and who have had fewer than 60 contact hours of instruction in college."

Yan Shneyderman received a Silver Medal in the category "Students who may or may not speak Russian with their families, and who have NOT attended school in Russia or the former Soviet Union, but who have had private formal instruction in the language after emigration, and who have had fewer than 60 contact hours of instruction in college."

Breanna Vizlakh received a Silver Medal in the category "students who may or may not speak Russian with their families, and who have NOT attended school in Russia or the former Soviet Union and who had to learn reading and writing skills after emigration. Those students who did not have any formal instruction in Russian before college and have had fewer than 120 contact hours of instruction in college."

Congratulations to all award recipients for their outstanding work!

Post-Secondary Russian Scholar Laureate Prizewinner

Russian Studies UDR Joseph Babeu was awarded the Post-Secondary Russian Scholar Laureate Prize by the American Council of Teachers of Russian. This is a national honor that recognizes a language student who embodies the best qualities of a post-secondary Russian student.

Fifteenth Annual Post-Secondary Russian Essay Contest Award Recipients

Five Russian Studies language students received awards in the Fifteenth Annual Post-Secondary Russian Essay Contest that was held at Brandeis in January. In this year's contest, there were 1004 essays submitted from 58 universities, colleges, and institutions across the nation. Three judges read each essay and independently ranked them. Here is what one of the judges said:

Нам было приятно работать с вашими изумительными работами. В наше время, когда вокруг так много непонимания и порой даже ненависти, эти работы становятся спасительным лекарством для души. Значит, ещё не всё так уж плохо, ещё остаются надежды, что всё будет хорошо.” (Translation: "We were pleased to work with your outstanding essays. At these times of widely spread misunderstanding and often hatred, your works serve as life-saving medicine for the soul. They mean that everything is not as bad as we may think and that things will get better.")

Award Recipients:

Category: "Heritage speaker, no prior formal Russian language education"

  • Igor Berman (Freshman): Honorable mention

Category: "Heritage speaker, 1-3 years of formal language education"

  • Dave Benger (Senior, former Russian Studies UDR) - Bronze medal
  • Maria Alkhasova (Senior, former Russian Studies UDR) - Honorable mention
  • Anastasia Austin (Senior) - Honorable mention
  • Daniel Shor (Sophomore) - Honorable mention

Brandeis has participated in the contest since 2009.

Russian Culture Week 2014

Students get ready for RCW 2014Russian Culture Week 2014 was held on March 10-15, and included a number of Russian cultural events, including Cheburashka doll crafting, tea and Russian pop music, a student talent show, a movie night, and an authentic Russian dance party.

For a complete list of RCW 2014 events, please see our Past Events page or visit the RCW 2014 Facebook page.