Professor Yuliya Komska: Iron Curtains (Reuters)

The term “iron curtain” is more than 200 years old. Its usage has evolved through time. Long after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Professor Yuliya Komska says that its recent rise in common usage may help to foster destructive divisions among European nations.

“By applying ‘iron curtain’ to these divisions,” Professor Komska writes, “journalists and politicians create a fault line between Western Europe and countries in the east. In doing so, they risk associating problems common across all Europe — security, immigration, xenophobia — with only a handful of communities on the EU’s eastern periphery.”

Read more from Reuters.

Yuliya Komska on Teaching German and Other Joys

By Joni B. Cole

This Focus on Faculty Q&A is part of an ongoing series of interviews exploring what keeps Dartmouth professors busy inside—and outside—the classroom.

Yuliya Komska is an assistant professor of German studies, a Cold War cultural historian, and a self-proclaimed “wannabe Austro-Hungarian.” A native of Ukraine, Komska recently published her first book, The Icon Curtain: The Cold War's Quiet Border. She shares her views on belonging, her joy in teaching, and the difference between her and the futuristic mom in the 1960s cartoon show The Jetsons.

Dartmouth Public Voices to Broaden Debate for a Third Year

Over the past year, Assistant Professor of German Yuliya Komska became a regular columnist for Reuters on her native Ukraine and other issues and was part of The New York Times “Op-Talk” feature, and Associate Professor of Engineering Vicki May landed a book deal based on her Huffington Post series on STEM education and is preparing a five-part lesson series for TED-Ed on thinking creatively about engineering.

This is just a fraction of the work produced with support from the Dartmouth Public Voices Fellowship program, an initiative launched in 2013 in partnership with The OpEd Project, which is dedicated to increasing the impact of the nation's top scholars.

Following the successes of 2014, when 15 Dartmouth Public Voices fellows from diverse scholarly fields produced 44 articles for major media outlets, and broadened their reach as expert commentators for TV and radio, the College has extended the program for a third year.

25 Years Later, Remembering the Berlin Wall

by Professor Irene Kacandes

I’m an American child of the Cold War. The yellow alarm pole was next to my elementary school, and when it went off we practiced duck and cover. I had a repeating dream of a red monolith I knew was “Communism,” even as I had little sense of what that meant other than “bad” and “dangerous.”

I’m a Dartmouth professor currently directing the Department of German Studies’ Foreign Study Program in Berlin. For weeks now, local residents have been commemorating events that led up to the Mauerfall, the opening of the Berlin Wall on Nov. 9, 1989. I plan to walk around in the city center and take in the atmosphere. I’m particularly eager to see the Lichtgrenze, literally “border of light,” a marking with lamp poles where the wall that divided this city long stood.

I remember the actual wall. I first visited Berlin on a high school exchange. I recall having cramps during the whole visit and being simultaneously intimidated and fascinated by the military presence, a presence I didn’t know about in suburban New York. I promised myself I’d come back one day.

ACLS Honors Dartmouth Professors’ Joint Work

Dartmouth’s George Edmondson, an associate professor of English, and Klaus Mladek, an associate professor of German studies and comparative literature, make up one of eight teams chosen by the American Council of Learned Societies for 2014 Collaborative Research Fellowships. Edmondson and Mladek plan to write a book together; it is to be titled “A Politics of Melancholia.”

“Long-lasting collaborations between scholars from different fields are unusual in the humanities,” Mladek says. “When George and I began working on our co-authored book, we had to get out of our customary writing habits as soon as we began developing our thoughts together—by writing and discussing at the same desk and on the same computer.”

This process, he says, “forced me to break out of my own mode of solitary thinking in reaction to the voice and ideas of my collaborator.”

The ACLS Collaborative Research Fellowship Program, launched in 2007 and made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, aims to demonstrate the creative potential of collaborative research in the humanities and related social sciences.