The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has awarded Jenny Tang ’13 a graduate scholarship for study in Germany next year. Tang will live in Berlin while working on a project at Humboldt University entitled “The Politics of Documenta 5: Harald Szeemann and the Exhibition of Social Critique.”
DAAD is a national agency in Germany, and it awards over 55,000 offers of financial support to those in higher education each year. The DAAD aims to work toward expanding academic cooperation between Germany and other nations.
Tang will graduate in June with a B.A. in art history, and plans to attend graduate school in media and film studies and critical theory when she has completed next year’s project.
“My goal, at the moment, is to continue pursuing answers to the intellectual questions that drive me,” Tang said. “Right now, that will most likely lead to a doctorate in media studies or critical theory. Hopefully, my time in Berlin will help me in further defining my disciplinary boundaries.”
During her time at the College, Tang has been recognized academically numerous times, winning fellowships and scholarships including the Allison Davis Research Fellowship, the Class of 1945 World Travel Fellowship and the Beinecke Memorial Scholarship. During the fall of her junior year, Tang studied abroad in London at the Courtauld Institute of Art. She spent the following Winter Study on a 99 independent project, studying Holocaust memorials in Berlin under the supervision of Professor of Art Elizabeth McGowan. This project in particular introduced her to the culture of Berlin and led her to pursue the DAAD Scholarship.
“I fell in love with the eccentricity, forward-thinking and radical openness of a city so marked by memory and mourning,” Tang said. “I knew that I wanted to return to Berlin after graduation, and sought out opportunities to do so. The DAAD seemed like the perfect mix of independence and structure, which I felt would be perfect for my year off before applying to grad school.”
“Documenta 5” was an international contemporary art exhibition that ran in Berlin in 1972. Tang will be studying the curator of the exhibition, Harald Szeemann.
“While my previous research has been focused on memory and memorials, with this project I am really interested in the current status of the curator, and how that has been historically informed by a string of predecessors to the curatorial celebrity we have today,” Tang said. “In this case, Harald Szeemann, who curated ‘Documenta 5’ in 1972, was one of the first to fashion a thematic exhibition, rather than one based on national representation, like the Venice Bienniale. I am also interested in the politics of exhibiting works of art premised on (or somehow influenced by) institutional critique in a post-1968 moment.”
According to Katerina King, director of fellowships, a “typical year” for the College results in one or two DAAD graduate scholarships, which are awarded less frequently than other fellowships because they require some proficiency in German. King called Tang “an excellent scholar and rising star in her field.”
Tang credits the College’s “intellectual community” and the opportunities it has provided with helping to foster her desire for knowledge. “I have had the incredible opportunity to travel and study abroad in South Africa, Morocco and London with the support of [the College], and have always done so with the values of a liberal arts education in mind,” Tang said. “Confrontation with difference – whether cultural or intellectual, domestic or abroad – have always prompted self-reflection on my own values and prejudices.”