Dr. Helga Thorson

Dr. Helga Thorson
Position
Associate Professor
Credentials

PhD (U of Minnesota)

Status

On leave until 06/30/2020

Contact
Office: CLE D250

I teach German language and conversation courses as well as cultural studies courses on early twentieth-century literature, Nazi cinema, and literature about the Holocaust and World War II. In 2012 I received the Faculty of Humanities Teaching Excellence Award. One of the highlights of my teaching career has been co-founding and teaching the I-witness Holocaust Field School. This four-week course examines Holocaust memorialization in Central Europe. During the first week of the course students engage in intensive study at the University of Victoria. This is followed by three weeks in Central Europe focusing specifically on Holocaust memorial sites, former concentration camps, museums, and monuments. Former Field School participants have discussed the lasting impact of this courses on their lives.

Together with two participants from the inaugural I-witness Holocaust Field School, I co-founded Victoria's Holocaust and WWII Memory Archive housed at the University Archives and soon to be available online. This project collects local stories from individuals whose lives were affected by the Holocaust and WWII.

My research areas are very diverse and include: modernist German and Austrian literature, Scandinavian studies, gender studies, history of medicine, foreign language pedagogy, and Holocaust Studies. Currently I am the Editor of the Scandinavian-Canadian Studies  journal. Together with my colleague, Charlotte Schallié, I co-founded “The Future of Holocaust Memorialization: Confronting Racism, Antisemitism and Homophobia through Memory Work” international working group and research collective. Our first conference was in Budapest, Hungary in June 2014; the second conference, “Global Connections: Critical Holocaust Education in a Time of Transition” took place at the University of Victoria in September 2015.


Co-edited with Andrea Pető. The Future of Holocaust Memorialization: Confronting Racism, Antisemitism, and Homophobia through Memory Work. Budapest: Tom Lantos Institute, 2015.

Co-authored with Andrea van Noord. “Stories from the Past, Creative Representations of the Future: Inter-Cultural Exchange, the Possibility of Inter-Generational Communication, and the Future of Holocaust Studies.” The Future of Holocaust Memorialization: Confronting Racism, Antisemitism, and Homophobia through Memory Work. Ed. Andrea Pető and Helga Thorson. Budapest: Tom Lantos Institute, 2015. 80-86.

Co-authored with Agatha Schwartz. Shaking the Empire, Shaking Patriarchy: The Growth of a Feminist Consciousness Across the Habsburg Monarchy. Riverside, CA: Ariadne Press, 2014.

Co-authored with Charlotte Schallié, “‘Jetzt machen wir hier mal Multikulti’: Fostering Critical Engagement with Multiculturalism through Peer-Assisted Language Learning.” Die Unterrichtspraxis / Teaching German 45.1 (2012): 53-66.

“Regarding the Voices of Viennese Literary Modernism: Grete Meisel-Hess’s Die Stimme. Roman in Blättern (1907).” Modern Austrian Literature 44.3-4 (2011): 1-18.

“University Students’ Perceptions on Dialogue-Journal Writing in a Networked Society.” Zeitschrift für Interkulturellen Fremdsprachenunterricht: Didaktik und Methodik im Bereich Deutsch als Fremdsprache 16.2 (2011): 204-221.

“Student Perceptions of Writing as a Tool for Increasing Oral Proficiency in German.” Foreign Language Writing Instruction: Principles and Practices. Ed. Tony Cimasko and Melinda Reichelt. Anderson, SC: Parlor Press, 2011. 255-284.

“Ethnic and Sexual Tension in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy: A Case of Mistaken Identity in Grete Meisel-Hess’s ‘Zwei vergnügte Tage.’” Gender and Modernity in Central Europe: The Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and its Legacy. Ed. Agatha Schwartz. Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 2010. 17-28.

“Confronting Antisemitism and Antifeminism in Turn-of-the-Century Vienna: Grete Meisel-Hess and the Modernist Discourses on Hysteria.” We’re from Jazz: Festschrift in Honor of Nicholas V. Galichenko. Ed. Megan Swift and Serhy Yekelchyk. Washington, DC: New Academia Publishing, 2010. 51-72. 

“Masking/Unmasking Identity in Early Twentieth-Century Germany: The Importance of N. O. Body.” Women in German Yearbook 25 (2009): 149-173.

Co-authored with Rasma Lazda. “Teaching Foreign Languages to Students with Disabilities: Initiatives to Educate Faculty.” Worlds Apart? Disability and the Foreign Language Classroom.  Ed. Tammy Berberi, Elizabeth Hamilton, and Ian Sutherland. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2008. 107-133.

Co-authored with Rasma Lazda. Neuer Wein und Zwiebelkuchen: A Cultural Reader. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2005.

(with Elizabeth Vibert). “Tales from the Field: Reflecting on Present Pasts.” The Canadian Bureau of International Education’s 48th Annual Conference. Ottawa, November 20, 2014.

(with Andrea van Noord). “Stories from the Past, Creative Representations of the Future: The Possibility of Inter-Generational Communication and the Future of Holocaust Studies.” The Future of Holocaust Memorialization: Confronting Racism, Antisemitism, and Homophobia through Memory Work. Central European University, Budapest, June 10, 2014.

 “The ‘I’ in I-witnessing: Personal Commitment and Change.” Association for Canadian Jewish Studies Annual Conference. University of Victoria, June 3, 2013.

“The ‘I’ in Eyewitness: The 2011 Holocaust Field School at the University of Victoria.” Educational Abroad Programs in German-Speaking Europe in the Age of Globalization and Virtuality. Emory University, Atlanta, March 23, 2013.

(with Agatha Schwartz). “Shaking the Empire, Shaking Patriarchy: Austro-Hungarian Feminisms in a Trans-Regional and Trans-Border Context.” Austrian Studies Association. California State University Long Beach, April 27, 2012.

(with Agatha Schwartz). “Towards and Aesthetics of Change: Women Writers of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy.” Trans-Aesthetics: Crossing Central Europe. University of Alberta, April 2, 2012.

“Mixed Bodies: Identity and Intersectionality in Early 20th Century Germany.” Popular Sex: Media and Sexuality in Germany in the Early Twentieth Century. Calgary, January 8, 2011.

“Cosmopolitanism, Colonialism, and the Cult of Personality: The Intersections of Gender, Class, Ethnicity, and Race in the Writings of Grete Meisel-Hess.” Modern Austrian Literature and Culture Association. Vienna, Austria, May 23, 2010.

“The ‘Other’ Woman and the ‘Other’ Man: Das süße Mädel and the Middle-Class Man in early Twentieth-Century Vienna.” Canadian Association of University Teachers of German. Ottawa, Ontario, May 24, 2009.

"Literature, Sexual Reform, and the ‘New Woman’ Writer.” Northeast Modern Language Association Convention. Boston, Massachusetts, February 28, 2009.

“Student Perceptions of Writing as a Tool for Increasing Oral Proficiency in German.” Foreign Language Writing Instruction: Principles and Practices (Seventh Symposium on Second Language Writing). Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, June 7, 2008.

“Ethnic and Sexual Tension in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy: A Case of Mistaken Identity in Grete Meisel-Hess’s ‘Zwei vergnügte Tage.’” Gender and Modernity in Central Europe: The Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and its Legacy. University of Ottawa, May 17, 2008.

Helga Thorson

Helga Thorson with Dr. D. Turpin, UVic President and Dr. J. Archibald, Dean of Humanities, upon receipt of the 2012 UVic Faculty of Humanities Teaching Award

Thorson and Archibald

With Dr. J. Archibald, Dean of Humanities, at the Fall 2012 Convocation