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Margarete Lamb-Faffelberger, associate professor and assistant head of foreign languages and literatures, will travel to Ireland tomorrow to give lectures at three universities over the next week as a guest of the Austrian Embassy in Dublin.

Lamb-Faffelberger will speak on the role of theater in the quest for national and cultural identity in modern Austria at University College Dublin, University of Maynooth, and University of Galway. She also will meet with students and participate in seminars on contemporary Austrian culture and affairs.

Briana Niblick ’05, a double major in German and electrical & computer engineering from Hatboro, Pa., assisted Lamb-Faffelberger in preparing the presentation she will give to the Irish universities. Niblick has worked closely with Lamb-Faffelberger as an EXCEL Scholar on the attempts by East Germans to create a cross-border identity in the Euroregion Neisse, a region named after a river that separates Germany and Poland. Niblick also helped her edit and revise a volume of scholarly essays. In Lafayette’s distinctive EXCEL Scholars program, students collaborate with faculty on research while earning a stipend.

The German newspaper Sachsiche Zeitung featured Lamb-Faffelberger in an article about her research on the Neisse, which stretches across parts of Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic. A third of the area is within the European Union (the German side along the west bank of the river Neisse) and the rest (Poland in the east and the Czech Republic in the south) lies on the other side of the Schengener outer border between the European Union and the Eastern European countries – members of NATO but not of the EU.

“Having grown up in the border region of Austria’s Waldviertel along the Czech Republic — a region that once was at the center of the Habsburg Empire but was divided by the Iron Curtain after WWII — Margarete Lamb-Faffelberger brings a particular sensitivity toward the need for enhanced crossborder relations to her project,” stated Sachsiche Zeitung. “She studies the written word as it was and still is used for fostering identity formation, namely literary texts and the media.”

Her commentary, “Für die Würde des menschlichen Lebens” (“For the Dignity and Sanctity of Humanity”), has been featured in the tri-lingual journal SODA, a cultural magazine for readers in the Neisse region.

General editor of the Austria Culture Series produced by Peter Lang Publishing, New York, Lamb-Faffelberger played an instrumental role in securing a grant for Lafayette’s Max Kade Center for German Studies, which was dedicated last week. In addition to funding the technologically advanced headquarters for the study of German at Lafayette, the Max Kade Institute awarded $5,000 to help fund a German library and the first in a series of visiting scholars and writers-in-residence that Lafayette’s department of foreign languages and literatures plans to host. Herbert Herzmann, professor and head of German at University College Dublin, will serve a residency March 10-12, interacting with students majoring in German and delivering a public lecture.

Last year, Lamb-Faffelberger coordinated an internship program for Lafayette students with the University for Applied Sciences in Zittau/Görlitz, Germany. Peter Totev ’04, a civil engineering major from Oberursel, Germany, worked for Bombadier Transport, a company that builds locomotives and trains, while Gretel Raibeck ’03, a chemical engineering major from Albrightsville, Pa., worked for fit GmBH, a soap and detergent manufacturer.

Along with Javad Tavakoli, professor and head of chemical engineering, Lamb-Faffelberger has led Lafayette students to Germany and Austria through a three-week interdisciplinary course, “Green Europe,” over the May interim session.

The professor accepted an invitation by Austria Secretary of Education Elisabeth Gehrer to join a “think tank” focusing on sweeping reforms of the country’s university system. “The secretary and her ministry are particularly interested in the Lafayette faculty’s strong relationship with students, our advising and mentoring programs, and our EXCEL Scholars program, as well as our special relationship with alumni and our success in raising funds for the institution,” says Lamb-Faffelberger.

She hosted 35 scholars from 11 countries at Lafayette for the sixth Annual Conference of Austrian Literature and Culture, “Visions and Visionaries in Literature and Film of Modern Austria.” She served as one of two co-organizers of the conference.

Lamb-Faffelberger was part of a three-person group that formed an international organization exclusively dedicated to the research and teaching of Austrian literature and culture studies. The trio established the constitution and by-laws for the Modern Austrian Literature and Culture Association.

A member of the Lafayette faculty since 1992, Lamb-Faffelberger holds a Ph.D. from Rice University and master’s 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.

Lamb-Faffelberger co-edited and wrote an introduction for Postwar Austrian Theater: Text and Performance, published last year by Ariadne Press, as well as Out from the Shadows. A Collection of Articles on Austrian Literature and Film by Women since 1945, published by Ariadne in 1997. She also edited Literature, Film, and Culture Industry in Contemporary Austria, published last year by Peter Lang. 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.

Lamb-Faffelberger also has written numerous articles in scholarly journals and other publications, and given lectures internationally. She has received the Roy and Lura Forrest Jones Faculty Lecture Award, established at Lafayette in 1966 to recognize superior teaching and scholarship, and the Delta Upsilon Award for outstanding teaching and mentoring.

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