The online NWS 2020 was organised by the German Section, Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) in collaboration with the DAAD – German Academic Exchange Service from 10 to 14 August 2020.

Digital conferencing, virtual interactions, connecting dots online: the new normal! The importance of presenting their work and research ideas, thereby receiving valuable feedback and gaining insights is something only young researchers can understand.

In this exceptional year of 2020, the entire team of the Germanistisches Nachwuchssymposium made it possible for research scholars pursuing M.Phil. or Ph.D. at various German departments in India to present their research papers virtually and receive comments, suggestions, praise, critique and most importantly motivation to continue with the research. While the symposium has so far taken place physically, it was digitally hosted this time by the Department of Foreign Languages of the SPPU. The conference opened with welcome speeches by Dr. Katja Lasch, Director, DAAD, New Delhi and Dr. Swati Acharya, Coordinator, German Section, Department of Foreign Languages (DFL), SPPU followed by the key note speech on the very relevant subject of digitalisation of and within the literary sphere by the chief guest Prof. Ursula Kocher of the Bergische Universität, Wuppertal. This set the tone and underlined the relevance of such an event.

The Symposium-Week was divided into five sessions; from Monday through to Friday, each session had a thematic focus. Eighteen young researchers from several universities presented their research within the community represented by students, teachers, professors and experts.

The topics spanned poetry, gender studies, comparative literature, contrastive linguistics, didactics, aesthetics of literature to name just a few. Each panel was accompanied by two expert commentators, who generously gave suggestions and offered a wide perspective to each research paper. A lively and interactive Q&A session followed each presentation. The exchange happened in a constructive spirit and helped not only the young researchers but also the audience to get insights into contemporary aspects of the research.

All in all, the symposium was an excellent example of digital cooperation in the field of German studies – spirits were lifted and the outreach widened!

Report by Aboli Patwardhan, M.Phil. Student at Savitribai Phule Pune University

Read the brochure of the Symposium: NWS_Brochure_2020_8.8.2020