In January, Sabine Noellgen was awarded $500 through the Antoinette Wills Award for Graduate Students. With the help of the fellowship, intended to support graduate student research and travel, Sabine was able to travel to the Modern Language Association Annual Convention 2013 that took place in Boston, and present a paper on the panel “New Perspectives on German Ecocritical Prose: Messages, Patterns, and the Revision of Literary Canon,” put together by Alexander Pichugin from Rutgers University. This panel traced the dynamics of the most recent developments in both modern ecologically-oriented German-language prose and German ecocritical scholarship. All papers on the panel represented current trends in the development of German ecocriticism and at the same time indicated the directions of its future development. In her paper, entitled “Toxic Excess in Wolfgang Hilbig’s Alte Abdeckerei,” Sabine addressed the less-canonized writer Wolfgang Hilbig (1941-2001) and the environmental frame for Hilbig’s poetic prose. Contrary to readings that look at the representation of the environment in Hilbig’s texts as purely metaphorical, Sabine established an environmentally oriented reading of one of the centerpieces in Hilbig’s literary œvre, the short prose text Alte Abdeckerei, and asked how the impact of the very real practices of lignite mining and combustion on the environment is realized on a textual level. Her co-presenters were Stefan Hoeppner, who is currently a DAAD-Lecturer at the University of Calgary, and Arnim Alex Seelig from McGill University, Montreal. Both co-panelists presented on Dietmar Dath’s The Abolition of Species (2008), framing the text as an utopian scenario in order to revisit interrelationships between humans, animals, and the environment.
Sabine strongly encourages other graduate students to apply for this generous fellowship this year.