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Erika Hille Rinker. Associate Professor of German
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University Hall 3119
(205) 975-5352

Research and Teaching Interests: Twentieth-century German and Austrian Literature and Culture, Literature and Medicine, Translation Theory and Practice, Travel Writing, Women’s Writing

Office Hours: By appointment

  • BA, Wake Forest University, German
  • MA, Washington University in St. Louis, Germanic Languages and Literatures
  • PhD, Washington University in St. Louis, Germanic Languages and Literatures

From August 2008 to May 2022, Erika Hille Rinker was responsible for all sections of German offered at UAB and advised all German minors. Both in the language classroom and in her role as the facilitator of Stammtisch, Rinker looked for opportunities to share her interests in her discipline, especially the intersections of German and Austrian literature, film, and popular medical discourses, and promoted student exploration of their own personal and academic interests through faculty-led and third-party study abroad.

In addition to supporting the German program, Rinker regularly offered English-language courses required by the Foreign Language Major Common Core, and she maintains her relationship with the Department of World Languages and Literatures as a credentialed course instructor in this capacity. Rinker also serves as a credentialed course instructor in the Honors College. In that setting, taking the Berlin Wall, the U.S.-Mexico Border Wall, and Birmingham itself as guiding subjects, Rinker seeks to increase an understanding of how such walls are physically constructed, how fallen walls psychologically endure, and how walls themselves may serve as a Kafkaesque “way out.” In their reading of travel memoirs, Rinker encourages students to consider the stewardship of resources and sites of remembrance while traveling.

  • Recent Courses

    WLL 121 Songs of Social Change
    This undergraduate course is designed to introduce students to significant multicultural topics across the primary languages and civilizations represented in the Department—selected from regions such as Far East Asia, Western Africa, Western Europe, and Latin America—mostly through the cultural medium of music. Team-taught by faculty of the different languages, the course explores and reflects on ideas and attitudes, customs and traditions, identities and values of diverse western and non-western civilizations, especially as these concern social change. This course focuses on representative songs and musical pieces of the different nations and considers the extent to which these selections reflect an historical time in their respective civilizations, especially in response to social movements arising from issues of race, ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic class.

  • Academic Distinctions
    • Provost’s Award for Faculty Excellence in Service Learning, Spring 2021
    • Recipient – American Association of Teachers of German Checkpoint Charlie Foundation Teacher Award, Fall 2020
    • UAB Faculty Fellow in Education Abroad, 2019 – 2020
    • Participant – German Studies Go Global Seminar, Sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of German. Forty-Second Annual Conference of the German Studies Association, Pittsburgh, PA, September 27 – 30, 2018
    • Recipient – Quadrille Scholarship, sponsored by the Germanistic Society of America and announced by American Association of Teachers of German. Stipend covered full cost of round-trip international airfare and accommodations to attend Internationaler Fortbildungskurs, Universität Heidelberg, August 1 – 26, 2016.
    • Provost’s Award for Faculty Excellence in Education Abroad, Spring 2016
    • Recipient – Goethe-Institut / American Association of Teachers of German Certificate of Merit, 2015
    • Faculty Mentor – GHS320 Global Health Service Learning, Project Hearts, Spring 2015; Co-led student group to Baitoa, Dominican Republic, March 2015
    • UAB Faculty Fellow in Engaged Scholarship, 2014 – 2015
    • Fulbright Grant to attend the Baden-Württemberg Seminar for American Faculty in German and German Studies, June 22 to July 3, 2010