TEDx Klagenfurt Curators Visit English Students!

On Wednesday 15th January, TEDx Klagenfurt Curators, Eithne Knappitsch and Marko Haschej, visited students in the Department of English and American Studies. The aim of the guest lecture was for students to find out about TEDx Klagenfurt and learn more about public speaking as part of the course titled, “Professional Speaking Skills.”

Who and what is TED?

Many people are familiar with the inspiring TED videos on Youtube. But what is TED and how did it all begin?

TED is short for Technology, Entertainment and Design. It began as a conference founded in 1984 by Richard Saul Wurman and Harry Marks. Today, TED is a global non-profit organisation with the mission to research and discover “ideas worth spreading.” In 2009, TED opened up its conference format to local, independently organised events called TEDx. Since then, thousands of communities around the world have come together to host their own annual TEDx events, including Klagenfurt.  

TEDx Klagenfurt

Last year, Ms Knappitsch took over the role of TEDx Klagenfurt Curator from Mr Haschej, who was previously the Curator for 7 years. During their talk, the Curators shared the history of TED with the students and explained how TEDx events are organised. The group were given an insight into how guest speakers are selected and what goes on back stage on the day, which includes lots of rehearsing with coaches and even massages to help speakers relax!

Mr Haschej and Ms Knapptisch then gave the students advice on speaking in front of an audience. Some of their top tips included:

·         When you have finished what you want to say either move on to your next point or wrap up, do not talk aimlessly.  

·         Think about who your audience are and why they should care about what you are saying.

·         Be authentic.

At the end of this semester, as part of the course, the group will deliver individual presentations to their colleagues on the topic of institutional talk. This visit was not only an opportunity for the students to ask questions and prepare for their upcoming presentations, but also to find out how they could get involved with TEDx.

We would like to thank Mr Haschej and Ms Knappitsch for speaking to our group and wish the students all the best with their final presentations.

If you would like to learn more about TEDx Klagenfurt or attend an event, then you can find further information on the following website: https://tedxklagenfurt.com/home.

BEd/BA Thesis Writing Workshop


Mag. Katharina Rodgers
24 January 2019, 12:00-15:00, N.0.42


Please register at the English department’s administration office.



Guest lecture by J. Jesse Ramírez “Waiting for the Martians”

Alien invasion has been one of the most persistent fantasies in US speculative culture since the emergence of science fiction in the late nineteenth century. A technologically superior, extraterrestrial “race” arrives on Earth and defeats most or all of world’s nations. Sometimes the United States alone is able to defeat the aliens; sometimes the planet is saved only by a miracle. Ranging from American revisions of H.G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds to Ted Chiang’s “Arrival,” this talk asks: why has US popular culture dreamed so often and so vividly of America’s destruction by an alien power? Why, in other words, is US speculative culture always waiting for the Martians? Is alien invasion a symptom of dystopian pessimism, utopian hope, or something else?

About the presenter:

Jesse Ramírez teaches and writes about speculative cultures. He holds a PhD in American Studies from Yale University and is currently Assistant Professor (Assistenzprofessor) of American Studies and co-director of the Technologies concentration in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of St Gallen, Switzerland. His monograph Un-American Dreams: Apocalyptic Science Fiction and Bad Hope in the American Century is under review for Liverpool University Press’s series Science Fiction Texts and Studies, and his monograph Ruse of the Robots: Against Automation Mythologies is under review with Routledge. Jesse grew up near the Sal Si Puedes neighborhood in East San José, California, where César Chávez began his organizing for the United Farm Workers. He is the first person in his family to graduate from college.

Date and place:

January 15, 2020


HS 4

ELT 2020: Insights into Theory and Practice for Future EFL Teachers (by Carmen M. Amerstorfer & Blake Shedd)

On Friday, 17 January 2020, the Department of English will host a conference entitled “ELT 2020: Insights into Theory and Practice for Future EFL Teachers” in the Stiftungssaal der Kärntner Sparkasse (room O.0.1). Seven researchers from educational institutions in Austria, Germany, and the USA will give presentations and workshops related to teaching English as a foreign language in secondary education.

This conference is targeted at students in teacher education programmes at the University of Klagenfurt and our cooperation partners, particularly those who study to become teachers of English or other foreign languages. Teacher educators and researchers in the fields of Applied Linguistics and Foreign Language Teaching Methodology are also welcome to attend this one-day event.

The schedule below provides a quick overview of the presentations. Please download the conference programme for details about the contributions and presenters. We look forward to an inspirational day of talks, workshops, and exchange.

ELT 2020 programme

8:30-9:20 a.m.
Neil Stainthorpe (Private University of Education, Diocese of Linz)
Playing with language: Fun, games, and creativity in the language classroom
9:30-10:20 a.m.
Verena Novak-Geiger (University of Klagenfurt)
Making it stick: The Role of Memory and the Brain in Foreign Language Learning
10:40-11:30 a.m.
Max von Blanckenburg (University of Munich)
Exploring political and cultural performance with language learners
11:40 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Sarah Mercer (University of Graz)
Language Teaching for the 21st Century and Beyond: Integrating Language and Life Skills
2:00-2:50 p.m.
Dinorah Sapp (University of Mississippi)
Experiential Learning to Improve Grammar, Speaking, and Writing Skills
3:00-3:50 p.m.
Volker Eisenlauer (Bundeswehr University Munich)
Virtual Reality for ELT purposes
4:00-4:50 p.m.
Thorsten Merse (University of Munich)
Countering the Silence: Dialogues between Foreign Language Education and Queer Theory

Excursion to BBS Rohrbach (by Carmen M. Amerstorfer)

From 25th to 27th November, a group of 15 students visited the BBS Rohrbach in Upper Austria to conduct research about teaching English as a foreign language in a student-centred learning environment.

BBS Rohrbach is an innovative vocational school that offers multiple educational emphases, such as Digital Business, Information Technology, Media Design, and Health & Nutrition. Most students at BBS Rohrbach study two or three foreign languages, English being one of them. In 16 classes, a humanistic teaching approach called the Dalton pedagogy is applied to teaching English and other school subjects, such as Natural Sciences or Geography.

The Dalton pedagogy fosters learner autonomy, self-regulation, and cooperation. Students receive self-study assignments, which they complete in teams during open-learning phases at school. The assignments, prepared by the teachers at BBS Rohrbach, often combine different subjects with each other. When completing the assignments, students are free to move within the school building, use the resources available at school and online, and consult the teacher or other students for support.

By working in teams and independently of a teacher, students develop a multitude of skills beyond those related to the subjects they are studying. They learn, for example, how to manage their own time, how to communicate effectively, how to solve problems, how to explain processes, and how to motivate themselves and each other. Their acquired social and communicative competences, as well as their ability to self-regulate their capacities, make graduates from BBS Rohrbach strong competitors on the job market. However, during the excursion we learned that many students at BBS Rohrbach plan to continue studying at university.

The excursion was part of a university course in the teacher education programme at the Department of English at the University of Klagenfurt. The course has a strong focus on research and enables students to gain experience with planning, conducting, and writing about small empirical research projects on topics related to teaching and learning English as a foreign language. The participants were impressed by the way the Dalton pedagogy is implemented at BBS Rohrbach and by the high degree of contentment and self-confidence the students displayed.

We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to the dedicated teachers and the headmaster at BBS Rohrbach, who have been welcoming us for years, and look forward to visits in the future.

Students Visit The European Centre of Modern Languages

On Wednesday 11th December 2019, 14 students from the University of Klagenfurt visited the European Centre of Modern Languages (ECML) in Graz. The aim of the excursion was for students to discover more about the work of the ECML and language education in Europe.  

The ECML is a Council of Europe Institution based in Austria. Working at the Centre is a team of language experts who are passionate about learning and teaching foreign languages. In collaboration with experts in member states, the ECML and its staff work on language education projects across Europe. Some of the key areas at the heart of the ECML’s projects are plurilingual and intercultural education, migrant education and employment and new media in language education.

During the visit, students attended an informative presentation with Catherine Seewald, Documentalist, and Elisabeth Görsdorf-Léchevin, Language Project Manager. The presentation provided students with an overview of the projects that the ECML is currently working on and information about language education in Austria. Afterwards, students were given a tour of the ECML’s Resource Centre, which offers a range of fantastic resources for both language learners and teachers, including materials for celebrating the European Day of Languages and a library of books donated by the late linguist John Trim.

The students who visited the Centre are currently taking part in Natilly Macartney’s Professional Speaking Skills course and are Bachelor students studying either English and American Studies or Teacher Education. As part of the course, students deliver a group presentation on language teaching in UK schools and colleges, specifically in English as an Additional Language (EAL) and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) contexts. The students also participate in group discussions about plurilingualism in schools and how teachers can incorporate students’ home languages into the classroom.

As part of the excursion to the ECML, students learnt about the teaching of English and other modern languages in Austrian schools, as well as some of the approaches to teaching German as a second language (Deutsch als Zweitsprache). In addition, they also explored how multilingual games can be used by teachers and parents to both encourage and value minority and home languages in schools and at home. Students left the Centre with many ideas and resources they could include in their teaching practices in the future.

If you would like to learn more about the ECML, or plan a visit to the Centre, you can find further information on their dedicated webpage: www.ecml.at/.

We would like to thank the ECML for hosting our group, and we look forward to visiting the Centre again in the future.

CFP for International Conference “Narrative Encounters with Ethnic American Literatures”

Conveners: Alexa Weik von Mossner, Marijana Mikić, and Mario Grill

Location: University of Klagenfurt, Austria

Dates: September 17-19, 2020


Taking a cue from pioneering efforts at the intersection of context-oriented approaches in race and ethnicity studies and post-classical narratology, this conference is interested in the relationship between narrative, race, and ethnicity in the United States.

Reading so-called “ethnic” American literatures means encountering characters and storyworlds imagined by writers associated with minority communities in the United States. Without doubt, the formal study of narrative can help us gain a deeper understanding of such encounters, but until recently, narratologists rarely grappled with the question of how issues of race and ethnicity force us to rethink the formal study of narrative.

Attesting that the relative “race/ethnicity-blindness” of narrative theory is a severe limitation, scholars such as James Donahue have called for a “critical race narratology” (2017, 3) that addresses this lacuna. A range of recent book publications (e.g. Aldama 2005; Donahue 2019; Donahue, Ho, and Morgan 2017; Fetta 2018; Gonzáles 2017; Kim 2013; Moya 2016; Wyatt and George 2020) demonstrate that a variety of insights can be gained from narratological approaches that open themselves up to issues of race and ethnicity in conjunction with other important identity markers including class, religion, gender, and sexuality. And, as Sue Kim has noted, there are shared interests in understanding the ways in which such narratives “operate within larger social structures as well as an investment in the scrutiny of how minds and subjectivity work in and through narratives” (2017, 16).

How do ethnic American literary texts use narrative form to engage readers in issues related to race and ethnicity? What narrative strategies do they employ to interweave these issues with other important identity markers such as class, religion, gender, and sexuality? How do they involve readers emotionally in their storyworlds and how do they relate such involvements to the racial politics and history of the United States? And how does paying attention to the strategies and formal features of ethnic American literatures change our understanding of narrative theory? These are some of the questions we hope to address at this conference.


Confirmed keynote speakers:

Frederick Luis Aldama, Distinguished University Professor, Ohio State University

Patrick Colm Hogan, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor, University of Connecticut

Paula Moya, Danily C. and Laura Louise Bell Professor of the Humanities, Stanford University


We invite paper proposals on topics including, but not limited to the following:

  • Theoretical intersections of race/ethnicity and narrative theory
  • Narrative worldmaking and ethnic American storyworlds in fiction and nonfiction
  • Narrative strategies of representing racial and ethnic histories
  • Intersectional narratologies
  • Narrative identification and disidentification
  • Performativity and ethnic identity
  • Cognitive approaches to ethnic American literatures
  • Narrative engagement, simulation, embodiment, and emotion
  • Affective reader response and the empathic imagination
  • Unnatural narratives and non-normative narrators
  • Narrative ethics, race, and the environmental imagination
  • Empirical reception studies related to ethnic American literatures


The conference is supported by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) in the context of the Narrative Encounters Project at the University of Klagenfurt (https://narrativeencounters.aau.at).

There are plans to publish an edited collection related to the conference theme; selected papers will be considered for inclusion.

Abstracts (300-400 words) for 20-minute papers and a short bio note should be submitted by email no later than Jan 31, 2020 to: narrative [dot] encounters [at] aau [dot] at

For questions and queries, please contact narrative [dot] encounters [at] aau [dot] at.


This semester we’ve planned a book club of firsts. Firsts of what? The first book in a series! From November to February, each text that we’ll be reading is the first in a trilogy or series.
We hope that reading the first one will whet your appetite for finishing the series on your own. We’ll meet at Uniwirt at 5 pm each month (see flyer for dates) to discuss the book informally.
The purpose of the group is to allow you to talk about what you’ve read in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere.

The discussions will be facilitated by Patricia Keren <pakeren [at] edu [dot] aau [dot] at> and/or Blake Shedd <blake [dot] shedd [at] aau [dot] at>.
If you’re interested in helping out or planning the book club for the summer term, let us know! We look forward to seeing you there!

Book Club

Refugees and Displaced Persons in Postwar Austria: A Class Exhibition

The following website contains work completed by students in Professor Andrew Urban’s seminar, “Gatekeeping Nations: The Politics of Migration Control in the United States and Europe,” which took place during the spring 2019 term.

Migration Studies and Narratives of Displacement: A Class Project at the University of Klagenfurt

The site is divided into three sections, and features a student-curated online exhibition on Displaced Persons in Austria and Europe during the years 1945 to 1947, and posts that address firsthand accounts of migration and how migration is covered by the media.


ELT 2020


Friday, 17 January, 2020
8:20 – 5:00 pm
Stiftungssaal der Kärntner Sparkasse (O.0.1)


Univ.-Prof. Dr. Sarah Mercer, KFU Graz
Dr. Volker Eisenlauer, Universität der Bundeswehr München
Dr. Thorsten Merse, LMU München
Max von Blanckenburg, MA, LMU München
Dinorah Sapp, MA, University of Mississippi
Neil Stainthorpe, MA, Pädagogische Hochschule d. D. Linz
Mag. Verena Novak-Geiger, BA, Universität Klagenfurt

ELT 2020