Marlboro College

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.

Teaching Philosophy

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

Scholarly Activities

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.

Selected Publications
Selected Conference Papers

B.A., Emory University, 1991; M.A., University of California, Berkeley, 2003; Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 2010; Marlboro College 2010 -


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