Academics Michael Huffmaster - Applied Linguistics & German
In addition to his formal academic degrees in German literature and culture, Michael Huffmaster also studied Polish philology at Jagiellonian University in Krakow for two years and German philology and Russian at the University of Vienna for three years. He has taught language and culture at UC Berkeley and Jagiellonian University as well as at private companies in Vienna. Michael's interests include language theory, linguistic approaches to literature and 20th-century German literature and culture.
Michael understands the study of any particular language and culture as "a privileged site for promoting analytical thinking and critical reflection on the relationship between language, thought and human behavior." His teaching philosophy is inspired by the German notion of Bildung, which sees education as the process by which individuals discover and develop their innate aptitudes and abilities. He uses a student-centered approach to foster a sense of agency in his students, to get them to take ownership in their education. "I never enter a classroom thinking that I have something my students don't, as though teaching were a matter of opening up their brains and installing new content," Michael says. "Rather, I approach every course and every class as a creative, collaborative enterprise in which students' and teacher's minds are works in perpetual progress."
Student Plans and Collaborations
- A study of foreign language education in U.S. primary schools and an illustrated manuscript for a textbook for elementary French language instruction. Paige Martin '11.
- An exploration of translation theory in the context of a study of Italian food culture in the 19th and 20th centuries, including translations of seminal primary sources. Antonio Gross '11.
- A comparative study of language and music as communicative systems. Alison Presswood ’12.
Michael's current book project, tentatively titled Reading Kafka's Mind: The Cognitive Poetics of a Multilingual Imagination, employs cognitive theory to explain the Kafkaesque. He is also currently working on a textbook aimed at incorporating poetry into the intermediate German language curriculum. Michael regularly presents research at conferences in the fields of German studies and applied linguistics.
- “Translation as a multilingual pedagogical practice,” with Claire Kramsch. In Multilingual Practices as a Pedagogical Tool, Jasone Cenoz and Durk Gorter (eds.) (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, forthcoming 2012).
- “Judging Torleß’s confession: Literature as language.” In Das Geständnis und seine Instanzen, Anders Engberg-Pedersen et al. (eds.) (Vienna: Turia+Kant, 2010).
- "The political promise of translation," with Claire Kramsch. Fremdsprachen Lehren und Lernen 37 (2008).
Selected Conference Papers
- “The Grammar of Poetry, the Poetry of Grammar,” Modern Language Association convention, Seattle, January 2012.
- “Kafka’s Multilingual, Jewish Imagination,” Modern Austrian Literature and Culture Association conference, Washington and Jefferson College, April 2011.
- "Digital immigrants fostering the multilingual subjectivities of digital natives," New England Regional Association for Language Learning and Technology fall conference, College of the Holy Cross, October 2010.
- "Between Germany and the Orient: The topography of Austrian identity in Schnitzler’s Traumnovelle," Modern Austrian Literature and Culture Association symposium, Emory University, April 2009.
- "Translation as a point of entry to the poetics of mind," Modern Language Association convention, San Francisco, December 2008.
B.A., Emory University, 1991; M.A., University of California, Berkeley, 2003; Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 2010; Marlboro College 2010 -