Pia Nordblom

German School Faculty

Pia Nordblom gained her PhD in history at the University of Heidelberg. Today she is a tenure lecturer at the Department of History of the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz. Her main fields of research and teaching are European and German history in the 19th and 20th centuries. Her publications in general deal with contacts and conflicts between the spheres of culture and politics, in particular with Nazism, the history of the resistance, minorities and border areas (regional studies), transnational relations, Franco-German relations, the history of political Catholicism, the history of the press and publishing, and economic history.



Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

GRMN6601 - Adv Language Practice      

Advanced Language Practice for Academic Work

This course will focus on various forms of German academic writing, with an emphasis on the special academic lexicon, stylistics, and the “mechanics” of writing for a German academic audience. In a scaffolded approach, students will learn how to summarize, analyze, and discuss academic topics, and thorough training of proper citation techniques and diversified register as well as insights into German academic conventions and usages will prepare students for turning research into high-quality written work and oral presentations.

A course reader will be made available.* Language & Stylistics

Summer 2013

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GRMN6612 - German Cultural History      

What is Germany? Myth, Memory, Culture

In 2014, the British Museum opened their fascinating exhibition Germany. Memories of a Nation, a show that incited the visitor’s active participation by distilling Germany’s unique and diverse history in only one hundred objects on display, carefully chosen by curator Neil MacGregor. At first sight only vaguely interconnected, these 100 objects invoked the fragmented nature of Germany as a country—neither geographically nor historically, we can even speak of a German nation or history prior to 1871. Instead, a multitude of smaller German states with constantly shifting borders but distinct regional identities suggested over the centuries that “German” was a complex cultural instead of a geopolitical concept. This course traces this complex cultural history and identity from the Reformation to our days. Questions guiding our discussions will include: What is German? What factors define a national identity and which ones created modern German identity? What is the relationship between this historically complex identity and today’s Germany as a nation-state? A study of myths and legends, master narratives, stereotypes and images from and about Germany will help provide answers to these and other questions.

Required texts:
- Neil MacGregor, Deutschland. Erinnerungen einer Nation. München: C.H. Beck 2015
ISBN 978-3-406-67920-9.
- Autorenteam. Meilensteine deutscher Geschichte. Von der Antike bis heute. Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung. ISBN 978-3-8389-0642-3 Area Studies

Summer 2012

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GRMN6661 - The River Rhine      

The River Rhine – Biography of a River in Historical Perspective

The river Rhine counts among Europe’s most famous rivers - it has been called „Nile of the Occident“ and „Heart of Germany“. Carl Zuckmeyer, German writer and emigrant who escaped from National Socialism to Vermont, referred to the river even as „große Völkermühle“ (a “blender of nations”) and „Kelter Europas“ (“Europe’s wine press”). But what is this river’s enigma, which seems to nourish so many myths? And: can a river actually „write“ history?
This course will explore exactly this question. We will try to unlock the river’s biography since the 19th century against its transnational and multifaceted historical background. On the one hand we will investigate the river’s problematic history in the realm of politics, environment, traffic/infrastructure and economy. On the other hand we will look at its cultural history and what the river means and has meant on a more abstract level. There are numerous relicts (i.e. Loreley, the Rhine as a romantic icon) which are associated with the dreams and longings of people who came in contact with the river. What role has the Rhine played over the past two centuries in the formation of a peoples’ soul and place of memory („Erinnerungsort“), and in that sense how important has the river been in the self-definition of a people, especially Germans? And finally, what is the Rhine’s current role within Europe? Area Studies

Summer 2013

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The German School

Sunderland Language Center
Middlebury College
P: 802.443.5203
F: 802.443.2075

Mailing address
German School
14 Old Chapel Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT  05753

Tina Ellison, Coordinator