Faculty & Student Success and Department News

Language Centre seeking Volunteers!

The Language Centre is recruiting UM Students who are able to tutor beginner students in languages. Please see poster below for more information.

Language Centre


Magda Blackmore, Polish Instructor, Department of German and Slavic Studies

Today we have a post from one of the students in the Polish Program, Elaine, about her experiences in the program!

My name is Elaine Taylor Turchyn and I am 68 years young. Although my maternal ancestors came to Canada in the early 1900’s from southeastern Poland, I never learned how to speak or read Polish.  I have been researching my Polish family tree for over 20 years, and in 2016, I visited Poland for three weeks:  a two-week bus tour, followed by one week with a private guide. I fell in love with Poland – its food, culture, geography, and especially its people! 

In 2018, I returned to Poland for a two-week adventure in southern Poland with my cousin. I came home wanting to learn to read, write and speak Polish.  I tried learning Polish on a free website, but that didn’t work for me. I then tried doing some self-learning using books from the library, but that still didn’t work for me.  I then decided to register as a mature student for the “Intro to Polish” course at the U of M. This was just what I was looking for! Classes were 50 minutes long and were held three times a week, with a language lab once a week.  For me, it was a lot of work but was well worth the time and effort I put into the exercises. The course starts with the very basics – saying “hello” and “good bye”. By the end of the year, I had a good understanding of the various noun endings and verb conjugations.  Our professor, Pani Magda Blackmore, used various methods to help us learn – exercises, poems, games, etc. This made the classes fun!  Also, since the class size was small, we received individual attention when needed. The information I learned in the Intro class has helped me with my family history research. I am working on translating a letter my grandfather wrote to my mother, and also some government documents written in both Polish and Latin. After completing the Intro course, I have decided to enroll in the Intermediate class.  The Intermediate course covers topics such as traveling by plane and train, and shopping for clothing. I am looking forward to using what I will learn when I return to Poland for my next adventure in this wonderful country.

University of Manitoba Polish Program

Dr. Stephan Jaeger, Department Head for the Department of German and Slavic Studies

New Book publication by Dr. Stephan Jaeger, Professor of German Studies (Department of German and Slavic Studies, Faculty of Arts, University of Manitoba)

Stephan Jaeger. The Second World War in the Twenty-First-Century Museum: From Memory, Narrative, and Experience to Experientiality. Media and Cultural Memory 26. De Gruyter, 2020.

The book, as the war fades from living memory, is the first to systematically analyze how Second World War museums allow prototypical visitors to comprehend and experience the past. It analyzes twelve permanent exhibitions in Europe and North America – the Bundeswehr Military History Museum in Dresden, the Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk, the House of European History in Brussels, the Imperial War Museums in London and Manchester, the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, Topography of Terror in Berlin, Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, Bastogne War Museum, German-Russian Museum in Berlin-Karlshorst, Oskar-Schindler Factory in Kraków, Warsaw Rising Museum – in order to show how museums reflect and shape cultural memory, as well as their cognitive, ethical, emotional, and aesthetic potential and effects. This includes a discussion of representations of events such as the Holocaust and air warfare, as well as a discussion of the use of art in Second World War museums. In relation to narrative, memory, and experience, the study develops the concept of experientiality (on a sliding scale between mimetic and structural forms), which provides a new textual-spatial method for reading exhibitions and understanding the experiences of historical individuals and collectives. It is supplemented by concepts like transnational memory, empathy, and encouraging critical thinking through difficult knowledge. See also https://www.degruyter.com/view/title/558132?tab_body=toc-75135 for a detailed table of contents.

The research for this book was generously supported through an Insight Grant by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2014-2020) and through several internal grants facilitated by the University of Manitoba.

The book also received a major Open Access grant, so that its EBook versions are available for free: Open Access EBook as EPUB: https://www.degruyter.com/downloadepub/title/558132; Open Access EBook as PDF: https://www.degruyter.com/downloadpdf/title/558132.


Emma Mikuska-Tinman

It is our outmost pleasure to announce that our former graduate student in German (M.A. graduation in Feb. 2019), Emma Mikuska-Tinman, has received the 2020 Best MA Thesis in German Studies in Canada Prize by the Canadian Association for University Teachers in German (CAUTG), for her thesis entitled Mediating Memory through Materiality: Trauma Iconography of Flight and Expulsion in the 21st-Century Museum (Committee Members Stephan Jaeger (Advisor), Alexandra Heberger, Adam Muller). The thesis can be found on the University of Manitoba’s M-space at https://mspace.lib.umanitoba.ca/bitstream/handle/1993/33568/Mikuska-Tinman_Emma.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y  After her graduation Emma spent a year as Foreign Language Assistant in the PAD program in Berlin. Currently she is working as a trainee at the Memorial Site and Museum Sachsenhausen (former Nazi concentration camp) in Brandenburg, near Berlin.

Since the laudation by the Prize Committee will only be given out in 2021, I quote from the Departmental nomination letter to give you an impression of the thesis: “Mikuska-Tinman provides a first-of-its-kind study that contributes to the understanding of the narrative and emotional patterns of the discussion of flight and expulsion in the public memory discourse today. It contextualizes and aesthetically, narratologically, and ethically conceptualizes the very emotional discussions about flight and expulsion particularly in the German-Polish, but also in the European context, and reveals representational paths in the twenty-first century, how flight and expulsion can be narrated in national and transnational contexts. It is a significant contribution to German Studies, Memory Studies, and Museum Studies.”

The Prize is given out bi-annually (one or two awards) theses defended in the previous two years. The good news was announced at the virtual Annual Business Meeting of the CAUTG on June 1, 2020. Emma will receive her official laudation at the next in-person CAUTG meeting at Congress in Edmonton in May/June 2021. It is the second time in the decade of its existence (first prize in 2012) that a University of Manitoba German student has received the CAUTG Best MA Thesis in German Studies in Canada Prize, which truly speaks to the quality of the program and even more to our few, but often outstanding graduate students in the Department of German and Slavic Studies.

Please join me in congratulating Emma on this wonderful and prestigious achievement!


Magdalena Blackmore


A new exhibition at the Ogniwo Polish Museum explores the history of Polish poster art and how the posters were used to covertly communicate artists’ feelings during Communist rule.

Hidden Messages as a Means of Communication is on display at the Ogniwo Polish Museum (1417 Main St.) until the end of December. The posters on display range from pre-Second World War to contemporary works.  Exhibition curated by Magdalena Blackmore (Department of German and Slavic Studies). Open Mon 7-9pm & Sun in October 1-4pm.

Learn about the exhibit’s background via the Winnipeg Free Press

Hidden Messages as a Means of Communication



Esther Hein

Our graduate student Esther Hein talks about her fieldwork research in Germany this summer. Her story was published in UM Today on September 5, 2018.

https://news.umanitoba.ca/a-deeper-understanding-of-education/


Dr. Myroslav Shkandri


Prof. Myroslav Shkandrij (Professor of Slavic Studies in Department of German and Slavic Studies, University of Manitoba) was named the 2017 Honouree at the 34th Osvita Foundation Testimonial Dinner Canad Inns Destination Centre, Club Regent Casino Hotel on June 7, 2017, for his work in and for the Ukrainian community in Manitoba and across Canada. The Osvita Foundation supports Manitoba Parents for Ukrainian Education and the English-Ukrainian Bilingual Program. Distinguished guest speaker to the event, honouring Dr. Shkandrij, was The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

From the laudation on Dr. Shkandrij: “Dr. Shkandrij is a distinguished historian and professor of Slavic Studies at the University of Manitoba and was a child of postwar Ukrainian émigrés. Work by Dr. Shkandrij focuses on understanding the Ukrainian people and their difficult and often tragic experiences. His research and the books he has authored focus on some of the crucial moments in Ukraine’s history, such as the ‘cultural renaissance’ of the 1920s and the experience of the nationalist generation in the years before and during the Second World War. Dr. Shkandrij feels it is important to tackle and shed light on controversial issues that are often raised in the media, such as the Ukrainian-Jewish relationship in modern times and Ukrainian-Russian dialogue over the last two centuries. Dr. Shkandrij has taught hundreds of students in the areas of Ukrainian language, literature and culture, and has supervised graduate students who have gone on to achieve success in various fields.”


Emma Mikuska-Tinman

(In June 2017) Emma-Mikuska-Tinman, M.A. student in German, received a 2017 German Studies Research Grant Award by the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) of $3300 for carrying out thesis research in Germany in September – October 2017 on her thesis project entitled: "An Analysis of Discourses on German Flight and Expulsion in Travelling Exhibitions, National, and Transnational Museums." She will visit and analyze about a dozen exhibitions, archives and ceremonies representing and commemorating flight and expulsion in Germany during a six-week research trip. DAAD awards are bestowed in an international, highly competitive competition.