"Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist."
"I am ashamed to think how easily we capitulate to badges and names, to large societies and dead institutions."
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)
My professional interests revolve around knowledge and texts and the processes in the course of which they are conceived: reading, writing, learning, and teaching.
As a trained applied linguist, educational researcher and language teacher (German as a foreign language), my core topics are language acquisition, language learning and teaching, German as a foreign and second language and multilingualism.
In my master's thesis ("English as a lingua franca - A simplified code?") I looked at ELF discourse from a systemic-functional perspective to demonstrate the creativity that non-native speakers of a language are capable of. After that, I've worked on modelling and capturing language competence from a quantitative, sociological perspective, investigating knowledge acquisition across the lifespan in a multicohort sequential design project and found it to be a bore. I then ventured into the didactics of writing and writing process research, which currently are my bread-and-butter lines and also pet peeves: I do writing center work at a university and I teach the cultural history of writing and writing in digital environments at a university of applied science; and every once in a while I get a chance to give a workshop on writing-related topics in other surroundings and sometimes even in the "real world".
The bottom line of what I do is motivating people and helping them (find and) harness their individual potentials.
Remnants of my former life in American literary and cultural studies are my (now dormant) interests in the transcendentalist movement and the writings it brought forth (like Emerson, Thoreau, Ripley, Whitman), my interest in Puritan literature, American Renaissance painting / the Hudson River School, Pictorialism and the Photo-Secession. I'd also love to have more time for doing social semiotics again.
Apart from that, I like to think of myself as an environmentalist. Here's from the journal:
"My spirit is in the desperate need of renewal only the woods, hills and lakes can provide. I crave silence for my ears, cool air in my lungs and nature's grandeur for my eyes. Cities will never satisfy like the Earth's tones and what her natural splendor can offer a man weary of society.
Give me birds, not planes. Bumblebees, not armies of cars. Rivers and lakes, not canals. Trees, not buildings. Animals, not human animals. 'Humans are a plague to the Earth', (Attenborough), so heavily tax those who proliferate (Pianka).
The world I live in is a perpetual assault on the senses that distract me from myself. Electronic beeps and tones and clattering rails and ridiculously loud cars and motorcycles and billboards and TV screens and radios and cellphone apps and social media designed to bring me closer to people, but resulting in artificial relations that chip away at my interpersonal social skills. People I once knew or are now am supposed to know have become or just remain little more than avatar faces, spewing characters on screens, corpses in my ever growing contact list.
I live in a world that teaches people that they do not have enough and in which many willingly buy into this lie - and while they're buying, others (unseen) are paying the real price. People think they need more, ever more, more tech, more connections, more friends, more fun. I long for a world that teaches people that they need less, and that happiness lies therein. The woods are such a teacher.
Nature connects me with the world around me in a way that technology never can. I may be able to communicate with virtually any other human animal regardless of their whereabouts on planet Earth in an instant, but Nature offers a mechanism that connects my soul to something more basic, more reliable, and sometimes less treacherous and more fulfilling than human animals. My most reliable connection is my connection to mother Earth, to which soon enough we'll all return."
Hobbies and interests:
Earth first. Words, writing, learning, teaching, living. Environmentalist activism, ecosocialism, Mother Nature, non-human Animal liberation, veganism, cats (big and small), frogs, bumblebees. Bike commuting, cross-country cycling, singletrail, occasional MTB downhill/enduro (avid bikepark explorer, surfer of upland trails). Books, darts, pipe smoking, djembefola, music (worldmusic, percussion, electro of all kinds, dub, glitch, 80s synthpop, SID sounds - cf. my public YT music list
). Ultimate goals: independence, autonomy and self-reliance.
From cars and motorcycles to chainsaws and blenders: I tend to dislike things that come with a motor. I support local nonhuman Animal liberation initiatives and movements and panthera.org
I am a translator for www.yourveganfallacyis.com
and I am currently co-translating part of "Against Religion - The Atheist Writings of H.P. Lovecraft" into German, due for publication in 2016.