Austrian Conference at BGSU wraps up 50-year celebration

Bowling Green State University hosted the 2019 Austrian Studies Association Conference April 11-14, 2019. The conference served as the closing event of a yearlong celebration of the 50-year partnership between BGSU and the University of Salzburg.

Nearly 100 Austrian studies scholars from six countries convened for the four-day, interdisciplinary conference, where they explored a broad range of issues related to migration in relation to Austria, Europe and North America. The 90-plus presentations highlighted artistic, cultural, economic and political developments related to migration from contemporary and historical perspectives.

The yearlong celebration launched in June 2018 when BGSU President Rodney Rogers and others from BGSU gathered with 80 Austrian and American alumni and the faculty at the University of Salzburg to acknowledge the partnership.

Even before the celebration, Dr. Christina Guenther and other German faculty members at BGSU began working together with the University of Salzburg’s Vice Rector Sylvia Hahn, professor of history specialized in migration studies, and her assistants on the annual Austrian Studies Association Conference.

A special feature of the German, history and political science programs at BGSU continues to be the emphasis on Austrian studies.

BGSU was the first university to establish an exchange with the University of Salzburg, which re-opened its doors to students in the early 1960s after an almost 150-year hiatus. The joint-exchange study program is 51 years old and includes several thousand alumni from both sides of the Atlantic.

Three faculty members in the German program have published extensively in the field, and all faculty members in German and one in political science have served as directors of the singular study-abroad program at the University of Salzburg.

Keynote speakers included Dr. Mathias Beer, director, Institut für donauschwäbische Geschichte und Landeskunde, Baden-Württemberg & University of Tübingen, and Dr. Manfred Mittermayer, director of the Literary Archive of the University of Salzburg.

There were several events during the conference that were free and open to the public, including a rap concert by slam-poet and singer Yasmin Hafedh, of the group Yasmo and Die Klangkantine, a reading by Austrian author Clemens Berger, and film screenings of “Der Bauer zu Nathal: Kein Film über Thomas Bernhard” (2018) with Director Robert Dassanowsky  and “Unten” (2016) with Director Djordje Cenic.