The Two-Way Mirror :: Der Doppelspiegel
Any person who has recently been in Federal Republic of Germany cannot help but notice the expanding use of the English language in everyday society. As this piece of post-war art suggests, a one time occupied country is forced to pick up the pieces and must adapt, co-opt, and integrate cultural elements of the occupying force. For Germany this was by in large a positive experience. The Wirtschaftswunder is long in the past, however, and burning questions remain: How is English used? What cultural elements are still being adapted? How do Germans view this in their society?
Thus students from Washington & Jefferson College set out in January of 2005 for southern Germany to view, reflect, and investigate the long term effects of their language, culture, and lives on the people who live there. Their mission was not to form a positive or negative view of the influences, but to document what they saw and to talk to Germans about the nature of language change, culture, and personal and national identity.
The following slides represent what the group of American college students saw on their travels. Sometimes it was absurd, sometimes useful, sometimes merely international in nature, but for the group of students it provides a perfect opportunity to see concrete examples of the influence of language and culture.
January 28, 2004
with John Gilkes, Travis Hawes, Jamie Headrick, Tori Irwin, Stephen Kiefer, Susan Krah, Jessie Shinkle, and Brian Wilmer