German Studies Faculty
Ken Keffer retired in 2016 as emeritus professor of modern languages at Centre College, where he had taught since 1979. He held the Stodghill Professorship in Modern Languages since its inception in 2004.
Keffer received Centre’s “Rookie of the Year Award” in his first year at Centre and in 1988 and in 2010 received the David Hughes Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Keffer has spent 5 years in Europe serving as the teacher and director of Centre’s residential study-abroad programs in Strasbourg and in London. He was a Fulbright Exchange Teacher in Germany for a year and has pursued advanced research at locations in France, Germany, and Spain. Keffer has published scholarly articles in French and English and an award winning book (Mellen, 2001) on Montaigne’s Essays. This book was translated and published in French under the title Montaigne For Ever in 2005 (Editions Champion).
Since 2002 Keffer has devoted his “Art of Walking” courses to the study of Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Judgment. In the summer of 2012 he began reading Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time in German, French, and English, the topic of future writing and research.
Keffer holds a B.A. in French and English from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in romance languages from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
In 2010, Keffer was named the 2010 Kentucky Professor the Year by The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
File last updated: 9/27/13
EXPERT: Languages — French and German — French literature and history — Michel de Montaigne — Patriotism
A gifted and innovative teacher of languages who has spent a year as a Fulbright Exchange Teacher in Germany and two one-year stints as teacher-director of Centre’s residential study-abroad program in Strasbourg, France. Encourages everyday use of foreign language by having his students plant gardens, shop, and take boat rides together, speaking only French. Several teaching awards at Centre. Scholarly research on Michel de Montaigne.
Christina Svendsen joined the Centre College faculty in 2016 as visiting assistant professor of French and German.
Her research and teaching interests include comparative modernisms, the writings of Walter Benjamin, and the intersection of literary, architectural, and critical theory.
Svendsen earned an A.B. in literature, and an A.M. and Ph.D. in comparative literature from Harvard University, and an M.F.A. in fiction from the University of Virginia.
File last updated: 8/8/2016
Ian Wilson joined the Centre College faculty in the fall of 2003 as a visiting instructor of German and Humanities. He was awarded Centre’s “Rookie of the Year” in 2004 and in 2005 received the Kirk Award for excellence in teaching. He was named a Centre Scholar in 2009, and again in 2015, a two-year appointment recognizing teaching excellence, scholarship, and contributions to the Centre community.
He teaches courses in German language, literature, and culture, African American literature, and the first-year Humanities sequence. He has taken groups of students abroad during three CentreTerms and one summer and directed the Centre-in-Strasbourg program twice: in 2008-09 and in 2015-16.
His current research project focuses on evolving notions of space and place in contemporary German-language literature. He is also developing a book on approaches to teaching W. G. Sebald’s novel Austerlitz with his Centre colleague Christina Svendsen. He is co-editor of the volume, Cosmopolitanism Reconsidered: Jürgen Habermas, Germany, and the European Union (Routledge, 2016). He has published articles on Samuel Beckett, Elfriede Jelinek, W. G. Sebald, and John Edgar Wideman; he was also a contributor to a German Studies Review forum on Germany and the Euro Crisis (2013) and An Encyclopedia of African American Literature (2005, Greenwood Press). Other scholarly interests include the Holocaust, monuments and memorialization, critical theory, and intersections between literature and other arts, especially photography and film. He has given papers at conferences of the Modern Language Association, the German Studies Association, the Austrian Studies Association, the American Comparative Literature Association, and the Southern Comparative Literature Association, and at the Kentucky Foreign Language Conference.
He was previously a teaching fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he taught courses in German, comparative literature, and German-language sections of courses in history and international studies. He was also a graduate teaching consultant at UNC-CH’s Center for Teaching and Learning.
Wilson is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Delta Phi Alpha German national honor society. In 2000-01, he conducted research at the Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften in Vienna, Austria as a Fulbright Scholar. He received another Fulbright for the summer of 2012. He holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a B.A. in comparative literature and German from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
To read about his CentreTerm course “Introduction to the Cultural History of Central Europe,” click here.
File last updated: 8/3/17