The department is committed to contributing actively to the intellectual life on campus and in the community.
News and Announcements:
"Shards of Place, Shards of Time: Katya Petrowskaja's Modernist Poetics of History"
Tuesday, November 16, 2021, 4pm (virtual): A Lecture by Lilla Balint (UC Berkeley)
Cosponsored by the University of California Office of the President Multi-campus Research Programs and Initiative Funding, the UC Humanities Research Institute, the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, and the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies.
"Fallout: Chernobyl and the Ecology of Disaster"
Friday, April 30, 2021: An Interdisciplinary Virtual Conference
Cosponsored by the College of Letters and Science and the T.A. Barron Environmental Fund. Event partners include the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies, the Graduate Center for Literary Research, and the Carsey-Wolf Center. Cosponsored by the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, Global Studies, Comparative Literature Program, Environmental Studies, Cold War Studies, College of Creative Studies, and History Department.
Carsey-Wolf Center Virtual: "The Babushkas of Chernobyl"
Thursday, April 29, 2021: A Film Discussion with Director Holly Morris, Moderated by Sara Pankenier Weld
Cosponsored by the Carsey-Wolf Center and the Conference "Fallout: Chernobyl and the Ecology of Disaster," sponsored by the College of Letters and Science and the T.A. Barron Environmental Fund, the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies and the Graduate Center for Literary Research, as well as the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, Global Studies, Comparative Literature Program, Environmental Studies, Cold War Studies, College of Creative Studies, and History Department.
"A Commemoration of the Life and Work of Don Barton Johnson (1933-2020)"
Sunday, February 28, 2021, 1pm (virtual)
In memory of Professor Emeritus Don Barton Johnson, the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies held a virtual commemoration of Don's life and work.
Obituaries collected in The Nabokovian by the International Vladimir Nabokov Society are available here.
Passing of Professor Emeritus Donald Barton Johnson (1933-2020)
With great sadness we report the passing of Professor Emeritus Donald Barton Johnson. Donald Barton Johnson, who went by the nickname Don and published scholarship under the name D. Barton Johnson, was a Professor of Russian in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies for 25 years, before retiring in 1991.
Don passed away peacefully at Villa Alamar in Santa Barbara on Tuesday, August 25, 2020, after having been in declining health for some time. Don is survived by his widow Sheila Johnson, and also by his stepdaughter Jessica Dora and his stepson Aaron Moody, his wife Rebecca Vidra, and their three daughters Lili, Chloe, and Véla.
Donald Barton Johnson was born on June 15, 1933. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1966 and joined the University of California, Santa Barbara that same year, as an Assistant Professor of Russian and Slavic Linguistics. He received tenure in 1971 and was promoted to full Professor in 1980.
Don did significant work within Slavic Studies, ranging from linguistics to literary studies, and was a figure of great stature within research communities devoted to the study of Russian writers Vladimir Nabokov and Sasha Sokolov. He was the author of several books, including Transformations and their Use in the Resolution of Syntactic Homomorphy (Mouton, 1970), the groundbreaking study Worlds in Regression: Some Novels of Vladimir Nabokov (Ardis, 1985), and, with Gerald de Vries, Vladimir Nabokov and the Art of Painting (Amsterdam UP, 2006), as well as numerous chapters and articles on Nabokov and Sokolov.
Don played an early and leading role in Nabokov studies and served twice as the president of the International Vladimir Nabokov Society. He also created NABOKV-L, an electronic Nabokov discussion forum based at the University of California, Santa Barbara, which he launched in 1993, the same year he founded the annual print journal Nabokov Studies, which now awards the Donald Barton Johnson Prize for the best essay in Nabokov studies. In addition to Nabokov studies, Johnson was influential in his research on Sokolov. He compiled many biographical materials and conducted interviews with Sasha Sokolov.
Thanks to Don and his scholarly generosity, the University of California at Santa Barbara has extensive archival and research materials related to Vladimir Nabokov and Sasha Sokolov at Davidson Library and Special Research Collections, including the Donald Barton Johnson Papers, based on his own personal archive. In February of 2016, the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara hosted a symposium, exhibit, and performance devoted to the work of Vladimir Nabokov in Don’s honor. The Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies will continue to honor Don’s memory with the D. Barton Johnson Award, which awards the best critical scholarly essay by a student on Russian, East European, or Eurasian literature, art, and culture by a UCSB student, and was founded in 2017 with a gift from an anonymous donor.
Don will be remembered for his rigorous and insightful scholarship, whose meticulousness and ingenuity evoke both his work as a cryptographer during wartime, and deep linguistic expertise, as well as for his clever stories, wit, and enthusiasm for birdwatching in Santa Barbara and hiking near his home in Mission Canyon. We will miss him dearly.
2019 Germanic & Slavic Studies Awards Ceremony
Congratulations to all of the recipients of Certificates of Excellence and our highest awards and distinctions!
Focus on Faculty: Dr. Susan Derwin on her writing workshop for veterans
"The Healing Power of Storytelling: from the Holocaust to recent American military deployments" by Maya Chiodo (November 2018)
Read the interview with Dr. Susan Derwin (a specialist on trauma studies and a professor in UC Santa Barbara’s Comparative Literature and Germanic and Slavic Studies departments)
Heidegger and Kabbalah. Exploring Elliot Wolfson’s Work on Martin Heidegger and Jewish Mysticism
Thursday, March 5, 2020, Annenberg Conference Room, SSMS 4315, 10-5 pm
University of California, Santa Barbara
A conference on Elliot Wolfson’s book, Heidegger and Kabbalah. Hidden Gnosis and the Path of Poiēsis (Indiana University Press, 2019).
Convened by Elisabeth Weber (Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies, Comparative Literature)
"Radio and Environments. From Hörspiel to Radio Art"
Wednesday, February 27, 2019, 5pm, Phelps 6206: A Lecture by Ute Holl (Basel University)
Film Screening and Discussion: "Images of the World and Inscription of War"
Monday, March 4, 2019, 7pm, HSSB 1173. The film will be introduced by Visiting Kade Professor, Dr. Ute Holl, who will also moderate the post-screening discussion.
This event is presented by the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies and the UC Santa Barbara Memory Studies Reading Group.
A Day Commemorating the Life and Work of Professor Ursula Mahlendorf
Friday, April 12, 10:30am-5:00pm, Mosher Alumni House and Geiringer Hall (Music Department).
This event is presented by the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies and co-sponsored by the College of Letters and Science, the Departments of Sociology and Feminist Studies, and the Comparative Literature Program.
Film Screening and Discussion: "The Milan Protocol" ("Das Milan Protokoll")
Tuesday, February 19, 2019, 7:00-9:45pm, Pollock Theater: Following the film, director Peter Ott will join moderator Dr. Elisabeth Weber for a post-screening discussion.
The event is free, but a reservation is recommended to guarantee a seat.
More information is available here.
"Beyond Praries and Skyscrapers? Austrian travelogues of the inter-war era on the U.S."
Tuesday, November 27, 2018, 4pm: a talk by Rebecca Unterberger (Visiting Fulbright Scholar)
"Persons of Interest"
Tuesday, February 27, 2018, 5-6:30 pm: a talk by Andreas Bernard (Leuphana University Lüneburg / Germany)
Event Flyer (front)
Event Flyer (back)
"Germany's Musical Ruins"
Tuesday, February 20, 2018 at 5 pm: a talk by Professor Martha Sprigge
"Jackals and Arabs (Once More: The German-Jewish Dialogue)"
Thursday, October 26, 2017 at 6pm: a lecture by Gil Anidjar (Columbia University)
"Rebranding Sovereignty in the Age of Trump"
Wednesday, May 10, 2017, 4-6 pm: a talk by Professor Eric Santner (University of Chicago)
"A Child Hero: Heroic Biographies in Children's Literature"
Thursday, April 27, 2017, 2-3:15 pm: a talk by Svetlana Maslinskaya (Institute of Russian Literature, Pushkin House, St. Petersburg, Russia)
"School discipline inside and out: the limits of Soviet school's disciplinary authorities"
Thursday, April 27, 4-5:30 pm: a talk by Kirill Maslinsky (National Research University of Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg, Russia)
"Heidegger, Nazism, and the Jewish Other"
Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 4-6 pm: a seminar with Professor Elliot Wolfson
The link to the preface and two chapters of Elliot Wolfson's book is here
"Hannah Arendt, On truth and lying in politics"
Monday, April 17, 2017, 4-6 pm: a workshop with Professor Susanne Lüdemann
The seminar began with a short presentation by Dr. Lüdemann, after which the following texts by Hannah Arendt were discussed:
"Translating the Russian Classics in the Twenty-First Century"
February 16, 2017, 12:30 pm: a talk by Marian Schwartz (Russian translator)
"What is "Modern Technics"?
Monday, October 11, 2016, 4 pm: a talk by Bernard Stiegler (Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris)
For the video of Bernard Stiegler's talk, click here:
(Please note: The audio of the introduction is poor, but Stiegler's talk is loud and clear.)
"Dialectics of a Constellation: Heinrich Heine in Critical Theory"
Tuesday, April 26, 2016, 4 pm: a talk by Willi Goetschel (University of Toronto)
Past Conferences and Symposia:
"Nabokov's Idioms: Translating Foreigness," a one-day symposium in honor of Don Barton Johnson, emeritus professor, took place on Friday, February 19, 2016.
On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the publication of Franz Kafka’s famous text “The metamorphosis,” an interdisciplinary conference at UCSB brought together a wide array of scholars and artists to discuss Kafka’s text in its literary-historical context, and to read it as an exploration of metamorphoses that problematize borders between species and between living organisms and machines.