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Margarete Lamb-Faffelberger, associate professor of German in Lafayette College’s department of foreign languages and literatures, will deliver a talk entitled “Beyond The Sound of Music: The Quest for Cultural Identity in Modern Austria” at 8 p.m., Thursday, April 13, in the auditorium of Lafayette’s Kirby Hall of Civil Rights.

The talk, the second of two Jones Faculty Lectures for the 1999-2000 academic year, is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Thomas Roy and Lura Forrest Jones Faculty Lecture and Awards Fund, established in 1966 to recognize superior teaching and scholarship.

Lamb-Faffelberger will examine the political and socio-cultural developments of Austria’s post-war republic.

“The tiny yet prosperous state of Austria in the heart of Europe is commonly perceived as one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Many Americans remember it from the popular film The Sound of Music. Since the founding of modern Austria after WWII, its elite has successfully cultivated the image of a country rich in cultural traditions and blessed with magnificent natural beauty,” Lamb-Faffelberger says. “However Austria’s most recent political move brought international scorn and punishment. Fourteen member states of the European Union decided on economic sanctions against Austria for forming a coalition government with the extreme right-wing Freedom Party.”

She will discuss three major premises on which modern Austria’s cultural and national identity was established, showing how the founding myths of modern Austria contributed on the one hand to a politically stable and economically prosperous country, and on the other hand to the guaranteed continuation of Austro-fascist ideology and ultimately to the electorate’s shift towards the extreme right.

Lamb-Faffelberger joined the Lafayette faculty in 1992. She holds a Ph.D. from Rice University and an M.A. from the University of Illinois.

Her research interests include 19th and 20th century German literature and culture; modern Austrian literature and film; Austrian theater; feminist and minority discourse; and multi-media for foreign-language teaching.

She edited and wrote an introduction for Out from the Shadows. A Collection of Articles on Austrian Literature and Film by Women since 1945, published by Ariadne Press in 1997. The book’s essays document how the impressive body of literary works and films created by women writers and filmmakers has greatly enriched the Austrian cultural scene since 1945. Their contributions, however, were only marginally recognized during the 1950s and early 1960s and remained hidden within the shadows of the body of art created by their male counterparts in the process of reestablishing Austria’s post-World War II cultural identity. The situation changed during the 1970s, when the literary and film texts of the younger generation began to strongly assert feminist views and issues. The texts of contemporary Austrian women writers and filmmakers were directed towards social and ethnic consciousness-raising and are united by their radically new use of language.

She authored the book Valie Export und Elfriede Jelinek im Spiegel der Presse. Zur Rezeption der feministischen Avantgarde Österreichs in the Austrian Culture Series, published by Peter Lang in 1992. She has also written several articles in scholarly journals and other publications, including “Threats to Establishment: A Portait of Valie Export” in Austria Kultur, a publication of the Austrian Cultural Institute, New York (1998), and “Heimat Is a Political Space: A Dimension of Peter Turrini’s and Elfriede Jelinek’s Criticism of the Heimat-Myth” in I Am Too Many People: Peter Turrini: Playwright, Poet, Essayist, published by Ariadne Press (1998).

The first Jones Faculty Lecture of the academic year was delivered in October by John Meier, associate professor of mathematics.

Categorized in: Academic News