German Culture at Blocker Showcase – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

German Culture at Blocker Showcase

From the zoo and orchestras of Leipzig, to the markets, galleries and parks of Berlin, eight HWS students shared their unique German cultural experiences at the annual Julius G. Blocker ’53 Cultural Showcase earlier this semester. Each year, the Julius G. Blocker ’53 Endowed Fund supports study abroad opportunities in Germany to give HWS students an immersive and oftentimes transformative cultural experience.

The 2014-2015 Blocker Fellowship recipients include: Stephanie Aliquo ‘16, Lauren Carr ’17, Travis Crocker ’16, Ingrid Dehler-Seter ’16, Zachary Grattan ’17, James Hull ’16, Mallory McAninch ’16 and Ryan Tinklepaugh ’16. As Blocker Fellows, the students are required to complete a project following their study abroad program that documents their encounters with the country’s culture. The projects are presented at the annual cultural showcase each fall.

“HWS students return from studying abroad in Germany with great enthusiasm, and the Blocker Showcase gives them an opportunity to share that zeal,” says Visiting Assistant Professor of German Area Studies Ashwin Manthripragada, who directed the showcase. “The event was a success, not only because there was a good turnout of students, faculty and staff, but because we were able to inform our campus community of the inspiring, not to mention well-funded, opportunities to study abroad in Germany and discover a whole new culture.”

The student projects represented a range of cultural experiences inspired by the students’ personal interests and academic pursuits. Aliquo, who studied abroad in Berlin in the spring, presented her project “Public Space in Berlin,” furthering her interest in urban sociology by studying how the residents of Berlin have “regenerated” public spaces by reclaiming older places for art, music and social interaction.

Dehler-Seter, who spent the 2014-2015 academic year in Tübingen, examined her personal identity as a German-American individual while learning more about German culture. Her project, “Ritual and Tradition,” focused on the tradition of knitting culture and the ritualization of coffee and cake time. McAninch also studied in Tübingen and presented “Stages of Linguistic Formality” at the showcase. Her research analyzed interpersonal relationships within the context of culture.

Crocker and Hull used their projects to examine differences between German and American culture. Crocker, who studied in Bremen for the 2014-2015 academic year, compared the similarities and differences between consumerism in Germany and America in his presentation. Drawing on his experiences abroad in Leipzig during the spring and his job with the New York Red Bulls professional soccer team, Hull presented on the differences between German football and American soccer in “Corporate Sponsorship of Soccer.” 

Over the summer, Tinklepaugh, Carr and Grattan enrolled in an immersive German language program with the University of Leipzig and the Herder Institut in Leipzig. The program included classroom study as well as excursions throughout the city. Tinklepaugh researched Zoo Leipzig, and Carr focused her project on the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. Grattan furthered his interest in German history, examining immigration and refugees.

The Blocker fund was established by the late-Julius G. Blocker ’53. As an HWS student, Blocker majored in modern languages and developed an interest in Germany that would evolve into a lifelong passion. That interest grew while he earned a master’s in international affairs at Columbia University and during his time as a Fulbright scholar at Free University in West Berlin.

In the above photo, Mallory McAninch ’16 is flanked by new friends that she met while studying abroad in Germany.