Dr. Ana Foteva is a new Visiting Assistant Professor of German Studies. In between teaching three German language courses, Foteva is finishing the technical work on a book that will be published in 2013 and continuing to conduct research on cultural identity in central Europe.
Foteva is from Macedonia, which is in the Balkans. She witnessed the sequence of wars from 1990 to 2001 that caused Yugoslavia to fall apart, and this is what initially sparked her interest in her field of study. She said, “At that point, there was a lot of discussion about why that happened and whether it had to do something with different cultural identities for the country. I realized it has to do, really, with the question of whether some of the parts of this former country belonged to the Habsberg Monarchy or not, and whether they were Central Europeans, or what is Central European and what is Balkan?”
This central question led to Foteva’s decision to focus on the cultural identities in Europe through research on the relations between the Balkans and the Habsberg Monarchy. In addition to studying European identity, Foteva is interested in theatre, and specifically in comical theatre genres. “I have always been an opera buff,” explained Foteva. “So I guess that’s how the interest developed.”
The theatre dramas that she studies are related to the opera and are very performative plays. Foteva said, “And there I move within the realm of what is today Austria, but also within the broader space of central Europe, so there would be some influences from the Italian Commedia dell’Arte, for example, although mostly I will probably research German language plays.”
Since there is only one professor in the German program at a time, Foteva is teaching two German language courses this fall: elementary and intermediate. Her third course is called German Culture Through Film. By watching German movies, the students in this class enhance their language skills and their cultural knowledge of German-speaking countries. Next semester, Foteva will be offering a course that will be cross-listed in the German, European studies, history and possibly government. The course will deal with European identities.
Foteva is enjoying her classes so far and said, “I like the students very much. I think they’re very motivated and engaged.” To students taking a foreign language, she said, “With a language, it’s always a struggle and people come from different levels. So my advice for that would be not to give up and not to get scared.”
Her goals for this academic year include finishing and publishing her book, which comes out of her dissertation, as well as submitting one or two additional articles. She said, “At this point, I actually have started conducting research on the next project, but there are still things that I can publish from this book so I’m doing it parallel.”
Though she hasn’t had to travel extensively to conduct the research for this book, Foteva goes home to Macedonia every summer and said, “I have done research before that, and I can read the texts in these languages, and the American libraries are amazing. So for this book, I didn’t actually have to do extra traveling. For the theatre project, I think I will have to because that’s a different type of research, and you need to go to archives and I think that I will probably need to do local research, on the spot.”
For now, though, Foteva is happy to be in Canton. While some St. Lawrence students complain about the campus’ relative isolation, Foteva says she likes the location and is looking forward to traveling to the nearby cities. “I think you have every right to be very proud of this campus, because I’ve seen a few, and this is a really wonderful campus. And I really like the place. I like where it’s situated,” said Foteva. When she’s not teaching or doing research, she also enjoys swimming, cooking and chatting with friends.