Scott Denham — teacher, translator, scholar

current work:

  • collaborative work in public history with Davidson students and alumni with Jörg Kaps in Arnstadt in Thüringen: on the history of the Arnstadt synagogue (with alum and Fulbright recipient Breila Fuller) and on the history of the peaceful revolution of 1989 in Arnstadt (with Rosa Ramirez)
  • literary translation, of work by Jagoda Marinić and Thomas Medicus; I was a participant in the 2023 Bread Loaf Translators Conference (workshop faculty member Christopher Merrill); I have co-taught the theory and practice of literary translation several times (background on earlier versions of that course in this essay); I have published translations of a play by Friedrich Torberg and a late essay by Thomas Mann in the New England Review
  • ongoing archival project about German-Jewish diasporic and Holocaust and apartheid experiences through photographers’ eyes https://writingofmemory.scottdenham.net/ ; here is a moving selection of letters transcribed and translated from the Milford archive
  • ungrading and liberatory pedagogy (see examples here and here)
  • antiracist and antifascist teaching and research
  • diversity, decolonization, and the German Studies curriculum

current courses:

recent work, reading courses and independent projects with students include

  • Barbara Mann and I co-taught a course on Art Spiegelman’s Maus for folks in Christian County, Missouri, in response to the attempted banning of the book by the Nixa School Board there. This took place in October, 2023, and was sponsored by the Nixa Community Branch of the Christian County Public Library, with support from the grassroots group U-Turn in Education.
  • With Barbara Mann I co-taught a National Humanities Center webinar Why Teaching Maus Matters Now More Than Ever.
  • I taught a free pop-up online (synch and asnych) course on Art Spiegelman’s Maus I and Maus II for students in McMinn County, Tennessee, after their school board, in an act of structural antisemitism, removed the book from their curriculum.
  • 2021-22, beginning German, with my colleague Dr. Emily Frazier-Rath using the OER text Grenzenlos Deutsch
  • a completely new version of my introduction to German literary studies for intermediate B1-level German learners (spring 2022); we starting with Celan and Kafka and finished with Katja Petrowskaja’s Vielleicht Esther
  • a tutorial on trauma literature with a group of students including the very first trauma studies major at Davidson (2021)
  • a reading course on Arab-German / Deutsch-Arabische Literaturen (in German) with two students each double-majoring in German Studies and Arab Studies at Davidson (2021)
  • a reading course on Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism and some selected essays (2018 and 2021)
  • a reading course on post-colonial theory (2021)
  • a summer 2020 pandemic book club on Thomas Mann’s Magic Mountain with alums, students, colleagues, and new friends
  • a reading course on queer German history (2020)
  • a reading course on Marxist cultural theory (2019)
  • a workshop course on the history of Jews and Jewishness at Davidson (2019)
  • a tutorial on three novels by Christ Wolf (2018)
  • much action 2017-2021 in the radically re-imagined Humanities Program I lead as the E. Craig Wall, Jr., Distunguished Teaching Professor in the Humanities from 2017 through 2021

This is a special link just for my incoming advisees at Davidson. Go here to see a metaphorical version of you being invited to join our learning community.

about the images
I like this scene from Kuhle Wampe (Slatan Dudow, Bertolt Brecht, Hanns Eisler 1932).
Kurt Tucholsky is one of my spiritual and pedagogical mentors.