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CGS Essay Prize

The Presence of the Past, as Hofmannsthal once said, is all around us; but why should we bother about the past, for it is the present in which we live and the future to which we look forward? The annual essay contest of the Center for German Studies at the University of Virginia asks students to draw on the large heritage of German culture to investigate what is alive and relevant for present-day society. For example: an engineering student may want to write on a German scientist, such as Einstein, whose legacy informs current research in the field. An architectural student may see the influence of the "Bauhaus" in present-day art and design. A student of economics or political science may want to investigate Germany's role in the current geo-political configuration. Students could also investigate negative influences such as patterns of anti-Semitism from the past that never seem to die. Germany's "Green Movement," on the other hand is forward-looking, and students could explore how it helps us rethink our own approaches to the environment and how to save the planet for our generation and those to come. The possibilities are wide-ranging, depending on students' interests and perspectives.

The student with the best essay will receive a cash award of $300 (first runner-up $200 and second runner-up $100).

Essays should be five to six pages long (double-spaced) and may draw on a seminar paper written at UVa. The deadline is the second week in April. The winners will be announced during the first week of May.  For more information, please contact Ms. Manuela Achilles.

2013 Winner: Michael Treves - On Selective Remembering