Interview with Angelika Bammer


Interview with Angelika Bammer


Congresses; Germanists; Feminism


Interview between Angelika Bammer and Beth Muellner


Teams digital recording


Beth A. Muellner


June 8, 2022


Muellner; Angelika Bammer


Release form signed






Oral history of experience in Women in German


Angelika Bammer Interview
June 8, 2022
Transcribed/edited by Elizabeth Heatwole, 2023
Muellner: Why don't you go ahead and introduce yourself? Name, affiliation, country of residence and origin.
Bammer: Okay. Alright, that's a good place to start. So, my name is Angelika Bammer. My affiliation is Emory University. I'm in the comparative literature department there. My country of residence, that part is easy, I live in the United States. My country of origin is Germany.
Muellner: Okay. Thank you. So, the next question, really, is just when did you first join WiG and how did you first hear about it?
Bammer: Well, so this is funny because I don't remember when I first joined WiG, and I've often thought that, in light of the fact that what I wrote is being read as a memoir, people think, oh I have this amazing memory. I don't at all, so I was racking my brain trying to remember, and there is no way I can recall when I joined WiG, but I absolutely know how I heard about it and why I joined it. So, this actually- I mean, it kind of bleeds into the second question. When and how did WiG begin for you? But I was in graduate school at the University of Wisconsin. I was not in German. My PhD is in comparative literature. I did not ever study German officially at the university because I thought, stupidly, I mean, what did I know at the time? I thought, well, I'm German, I don't need to study it. I was clearly not yet a formed academic in my mind because I realized that a lot of times, we study the things we are. Nevertheless, I was in comparative literature, but in the University of Wisconsin, Madison, comparative literature was, if I remember right, on the 9th floor. German was on the 8th floor, so we were constantly back and forth. And of course, because for comparative literature, German, and French and English, the absolutely most conventional at the time configuration of languages. Those are my languages. So, of course, I interacted a lot with the people in the German department, and all the more so because Evelyn Torton Beck or as she was to me then, Professor Beck, was my advisor and had been assigned to me as an advisor, and she had a joint appointment with German and comparative literature. So that's how I heard about WiG, and that's how, kind of, WiG began for me when I was a graduate student. So that I can remember, it was 1975 that I started graduate school, as I said, in comparative literature with Evie Beck. David Bathrick was one of the people. He was only in Germany. He did not have a comp. lit. appointment. So, because I had these two people I was working with pretty much early on, whatever was happening in the wider kind of field of German anything, especially progressive, especially leftist, especially radical, German stuff. Initially, I, as well as other kind of similarly-minded people, got involved. This was before WiG existed. We got involved with New German Critique. So, David Bathrick was one of the editors, along with Anton Rabinbach and Jack Zipes. They were the three editors of New German Critique. And in Madison there was a so-called Student Collective that worked with new German Critique and I had kind of thought of myself ever since my initial student days at the University of Heidelberg. You know, we read Marx. We thought of ourselves as Marxist. I certainly did. So, this was the obvious kind of collective to gravitate toward. And I loved that. I loved working in a collective I loved…the part about academic life that always kind of,
not bothered me, but made me feel sad, made me feel like something was missing, was just this idea that you worked on your own, thinking great thoughts and doing brilliant scholarship. I'm not that kind of person. I do my best thinking, I'm also my happiest, when there are other people to do it with, you know, to talk with, to have fun with, to share ideas with, to work out ideas with. So New German Critique was initially that place.

And somehow within that framework, all of a sudden, there was this other thing that people started talking about, and this event, an annual- I don't even think it was- it was certainly not called a conference yet, a gathering a get-together that they would drive to because it didn't take place in Madison. It took place, if I remember right, in Ohio. So, all of a sudden, my buddies, my women buddies, would for a while disappear, and then they would come back, and they would tell these stories. They were having so much fun. So, the first word that comes to mind for me for WiG, you know, when you asked about three words? And I thought this is so dorky and so unprofessional, but it's “fun.” They came back and they had lots of fun, but there were also serious discussions, and it was about the elements that we were- we who were involved with New German Critique and we who were students together missed in the kind of associations and communities that we had established, which was a kind of feminist way of being together. What does that even mean? I mean, initially, at least the way it sounded when they would come back all excited from their trip, initially, it just sounded like ohh it- now it's a bunch of women. And, we know of course, and even at the time we knew, that just being women together doesn't necessarily mean feminist, but that was what was initially something that both attracted me, drew me, intrigued me. So, what does it mean when and- and what changes when we get together as women and consciously as women and intentionally as women. How do we do things differently? Do we do things differently, and what does that mean in terms of the kind of political and social theories we were beginning to explore? Around the time, I don't remember the exact dates, but it was either in 1974 or 1975, around there, women’s studies was officially started at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In fact, as far as I know, and I- I think I'm pretty right about this. The women's studies program in Madison, was the first officially instituted women's studies program, and I was right there. I mean, I was right there. So was Evie Beck, and so were the close graduate student women friends I was involved with. So, the combination of the politics of New German Critique, the kind of intellectual life of graduate education and professional scholarship that I loved [?], and the kind of beginnings of thinking about feminist structures with women's studies. All of that came together. So, somehow that's what WiG signified. And then at some point, I couldn't stand it anymore. Ohh, I remember. Also, it was the first time I actually went to a meeting was when it no longer meant a drive to Ohio.
Muellner: Yeah, that was- I think as far as I have learned, those early meetings like ‘74 was the first one I think in Miami University in Oxford, OH. Gisela Bahr was apparently one of the kind of organizers of that. Yeah. So. So then do you remember, where was the first conference and?
Bammer: No, no, this is what's so weird. No, I was trying to rememberthat.
Muellner: You said it was in Wisconsin too, wasn’t it?
Bammer: To me, I want to say Milwaukee. It was not in Madison. I do know that. I want to say Milwaukee, but I can't quite picture it. But you know, honestly, I can't kind of create a timeline
of, oh, then we met there. Some people are really good at that, I know Sarah Lennox is really super good at that. I always have to do extensive research because it's not in my- in my memory, so I just do remember that it was not in Ohio anymore.
Muellner: Okay, okay. Yeah. So, I just wanted to kind of back up. When you mentioned that Madison was like sort of the first women's studies department, you're talking about. First, Women Studies department at a major research university in the United States.
Bammer: Yes.
Muellner: Yeah, wow, that's pretty amazing this sort of trifecta of power.
Bammer: That was crucial. In fact, that's part of why since I knew this was beginning to happen when I went to graduate school, I had started graduate school earlier and I was going to get a degree in comparative literature. That's always what drew me and, you know, life is weird. It takes you all kinds of places. I ended up in Dallas. I was teaching at SMU. They had discontinued comparative literature. I was getting a PhD in French, and I remember standing in the classroom teaching French and thinking what the- what am I doing? You know, I don't want to be teaching French. I- this is not what I want to do. What does this have to do with anything in the world? And so, I quit. I just got a Master’s. I kind of exited with the Master’s and then for a bunch of years, I did other stuff.
Muellner: Okay.
Bammer: Not academic stuff, and it was partly on some level, it's not just that I love the kind of space that universities provide for intellectual life, and I know absolutely that it's not the only place where intellectual life can flourish. I know that. And my critique of the university structure looms large whenever I say that. But, for those of us who have the luxury of a job in this environment, it provides an open space for that. I mean, I've always loved that. That always has drawn me. And the other thing was that, when the years when I was not in a university setting, when I was doing community organizing, community work, I realized that it takes a lot of skills and a lot of courage to do community work, to do community activism. A lot of that work is scary. At least it was to me. When you're talking about violence in the community, when you're talking about police and we're talking about intervention, it sounds cool when we read about it, but I found it really scary, and I kind of started wondering whether as someone raised in a kind of bourgeois, somewhat intellectual household, whether I was cut out for that kind of work and whether maybe my best contribution to making the world a better place, you know, I don't know how else to put it, for kind of progressive change, could be within this kind of setting. You know, learning and teaching and working with students and so that's why I went back to graduate school, and Madison, the University of Wisconsin, was a place I picked very purposely for that. For one, because of what was going on in the German department at the time with New German Critique and, really kind of nationally known, kind of leftist orientation, and feminism, the fact that women studies was starting there, which I had learned about. I thought, that's where I want to go, where these things come together.
Muellner: Right.
Bammer: And women's studies in Madison was an absolutely exhilarating, exhilarating process. It was like a little utopian place. We had our own building if you can imagine that. And it wasn't a university building, you know. It was a little house.
Muellner: It seems like a really nice gesture to have your own building, but was it maybe also that you were marginalized as, like, not as important to occupy a bigger space? Or is that sort of like symbolic of how- how women’s studies started?
Bammer: Well, that's- that's a hindsight question, because at the time, being marginalized was not yet a factor. We were just beginning.
Muellner: Yeah.
Bammer: Being marginalized, that came later. No, we I think we loved it. We had our own space. So, the way we thought about it was more in terms of Virginia Wolfe's A Room of One's Own. We not only had a room of our own, we had a whole house of our own.
Muellner: Yeah, that’s brilliant. I like that interpretation of it. So, when you first kind of started going to WiG conferences, what role did WiG then play in your career? I mean, you know, also vis-à-vis what was going on as a graduate student with this burgeoning women studies program? How did those two things kind of intersect for you? Women in German and your own
professional development?
Bammer: Not in an immediately intelligible or articulable way. And not in an in a- for me, I think differently than for others, because I think most of the others that I encountered in WiG when I started going seemed to be in German departments.
Muellner: Okay
Bammer: I was not. So, for me it felt much less instrumental if I want to put it that way. It really was completely optional. It had nothing directly to do with the kind of institutional spaces I was inhabiting and working in. So, for me, the way it- WiG played a role in my career was, I think, related to that fact – that it was not something I had to do. It didn’t- if I didn't do it, it made no difference whatsoever to my career or professional development, and it was completely freely chosen. All the networking I did, I didn't even think of as networking. These were just women I like to spend time with, and what I think looking back on it, this was not something I was conscious of at the time, what WiG did is provide a space to think differently, to do all the stuff that I was ordinarily doing anyway: thinking about language, working with language. I don't mean teaching language, but just how we talk about things, how we talk to each other. These were things that were deeply, deeply important to me, and in fact, I remember once giving a talk at WiG, and then writing an article that had more or less this title: “How do we talk to each other?” Something like that. These were all issues that didn't really fit within the framework of the other kind of theoretical constructs I was working with. They didn't fit into a Marxist framework. They didn't fit into a deconstructive framework, at least not in the way I was working with it at the time. But they felt so urgent, and so in WiG we were practicing all this stuff. How do we relate to each other? How do we relate to each other differently? How do hierarchies that institutions impress on us constantly? Who's the professor? Who's the senior professor? Who's the TA, who's all of that, that is so ingrained in the institutions. In WiG, and this was crucial for my I- I don't know if career, Beth, I don't know if that's the right word. It certainly became an element of my career. But it was crucial for my development as a thinker, as a writer, as a scholar, and as a teacher, because we kind of proceeded with the sense that there's a lot of stuff that doesn't feel right. And we want to do it differently and then we would just, in a kind of messy, messy process, see what happened if we did it differently.
Muellner: Right.
Bammer: And I was part of that. And so it felt like a giant experiment.
Muellner: That's that's really cool, yeah. So, it's all kind of really just experimental in many ways, like testing the boundaries of how to change academic discourse and academic behavior in a way. I mean thinking about how we relate to each other.
Bammer: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And so, things that that then later became scholarly projects like the book that I ended up doing with Ruth-Ellen Boetcher-Joeres, the Future of Scholarly Writing, that started at, and because of, WiG. I mean, I remember distinctly that was the meeting- I think 2007, if I remember right- Ruth Ellen and I gave- We had been talking. And I met her through WiG. I met her at WiG at a WiG meeting and through WiG, and we had both kind of noticed each other and we had noticed, I guess, the same thing, which is that we were both really concerned about and kind of drawn to thinking about language and scholarly writing, and you know, this whole big question of not just how we talk to each other, but how so how we write. So, we had started just talking privately about that and then we thought, well, let's do something at WiG, because that's a place where you can do something like this. The MLA was much too established. German Studies Association, which I actually, at the time, didn't even go to because I didn't have to. That was not my professional organization. So, while everyone else went to WiG and GSA, I didn't because I wasn't in German studies. I was in comp. lit. So, we thought, well, WiG is the perfect place to try this out, and we started just talking and emailing back and forth between ourselves and then, we thought, well, let's do a kind of test run at WiG because you can take risks at WiG. And we did, and it was transformative. I will never forget that, you know, like, you can do things that are kind of kooky, kind of a little bit crazy. And it's okay if it fails. I don't think we would have had the chutzpah to do it anywhere else. And so, we thought instead of reading our script, which we had already- and this was already a huge leap into- into the unconventional we'd already written it in two voices, rather than the monologue. Ours was a dia-logue from the very beginning in two voices: Ruth Ellen and me. And so, I remember when we were talking about, so how do we present this? How are we going to do this? We had this crazy idea that we would both speak our role like we were actors, and then I remember we were thinking, oh, but then, we need two microphones. So, we have two microphones, because you know our conference settings are kind of primitive or they were at the time. And I actually don't remember now if we had two microphones or if we passed it back and forth. But anyway, what I do remember is there was a table where the presenters usually sit, so we stood up and we looked out at our friends, at these women and some men that we knew and trusted. That was the big thing. We trusted each other and we thought, this is going to be really scary and risky. And I remember, still now, I was so nervous. And Ruth Ellen was nervous too. And we looked at each
other and we smiled. And I remember at that moment, thinking we really love each other, nothing can go wrong. If this turns out to be a big goofball thing, who cares? And we then looked at each other as we spoke and, periodically, we remembered to look out at the- the audience, but we were really speaking to each other, and it was so intense and so intimate and felt so true to what we were doing. When it was over, everybody jumped up, and it was like this chaos of enthusiasm, and it was absolutely fantastic. I mean, I think Beth, that that's when we realized, you know, we're going to do something with this. And we decided, yep, we're. And we didn't at that point yet think, oh, we'll do a volume, but that's where it started. So, in that sense, WiG as a place of possibility, as a place for thinking otherwise. Attempting to do things differently was absolutely generative and critical.
Muellner: Yeah. I want to say that I was at that conference but. I'm thinking of it as earlier, like wasn’t …
Bammer: It was early, maybe it was because, yeah, I was thinking it was in.
Muellner: I think it was in 2002. I see on your CV here the “The Measure of our Words” or- yeah.
Bammer: If you're Rio Rico, yeah.
Muellner: That yeah, that was really a beautiful moment, for sure. And it's- it's interesting to hear from your perspective because, you know, I was a very young- well, I was still a graduate student at that point, and so I didn't really think about this dual, you know, dialogue as you presented it as so unusual because you were all our mentors and the people we were looking to setting the examples when I was thinking well, this is- this is a possibility, you know. So, to think about from your perspective how it was so experimental and so risky for you or just like outside of the box of what academic …
Bammer: Oh yeah. Absolutely. Because– I had had an earlier experience, a different experience that I've sometimes talked about. It was, it didn't involve Ruth Ellen, but it involved Evelyn Beck, Evie Beck. We had both been invited to a conference in Germany, in Hamburg. It was organized by the Frauen in der Literaturwissenschaft and, at that conference, I and Evie in two very different ways, we had our own independent presentations. We were just there as well. She was still my mentor and I was still a graduate student at the time, actually, but we'd both been invited to they had different kind of keynote things- they didn't have one keynote they had, like keynote things scattered in between, and we both had been invited to give one, which is a big deal, certainly for me, was a huge deal at the time. And I spoke about language and theory, and Evie spoke about language as a Jewish woman speaking German in Germany.
Muellner: Okay.
Bammer: So, both of us spoke about language and its import to how it affects how we relate to each other and who we are four and to one another in different ways and we were both very aware of the fact that we were both taking huge risks, that this these were uncomfortable things to talk about and the reception was ice cold.
Muellner: wow
Bammer: Ice cold. So much so that Evie and I were both- I would say in a state of kind of shock, and I remember afterwards saying, let's go for a walk, and we walked through the streets of Hamburg, kind of deprogramming what just happened. It was horrible. It was absolutely horrible. So, it was not so- what we did at WiG, partly because I had had this other experience, and because we kind of knew what's considered valid in the institution it was not just something to do, it was indeed a- a step into a new way of doing things, and in that sense it was risky.
Muellner: Yeah, I mean, that's interesting that you talk about the differences between academic risk-taking in the United States, you know, coming from Wisconsin, versus what was going on in Germany. This was like in the 90s or late 80s in Germany?
Bammer: Yeah, it was. It was a little earlier.
Muellner: Yeah, because I think when Sara Lennox was interviewed, she talked a lot about also being in Wisconsin and experiences with the origins of women's studies in the US and then what it meant for her to go to Germany. And they were just very different worlds like going on in the US versus what was going on in Germany. And so, in some ways it seems like there's parallel conversations happening around identity, you know, really the personal in the professional, like this merging that you seem to really focus on a lot in your work, too. And so very different places. So, I guess maybe just to jump in, okay, so you've talked a lot about the role that WiG played in your career, really in your scholarship. What role did you play in WiG?
Bammer: I don't know exactly. I mean, I was on the steering committee for three years. I almost forgot that. And I was looking through my CV. I thought, oh, yeah, of course I remember that. Between 1987 and 1990, I was on the National Steering Committee. I kind of was on the graduate student essay prize for a while, so I did play some institutional roles or some structural roles in WiG.
Muellner: You were involved in proposing sessions.
Bammer: Yeah, yeah, it- it all felt so organic, you know. So actually, when I was looking through the questions that you were asking, that was the one that kind of stumped me because I thought, well, I don't know what role did- what role did I play? I think a role I played, I'm just thinking about this now, is also connecting structures like WiG to structures like the GSA or the MLA. I was very involved in the MLA, actually much more. I- I was not that much involved in GSA for reasons that I explained earlier. I was very involved in the MLA, and for a while I was on the steering committee. I can't remember if they called it steering committee, but I was kind of representing within the framework of the MLA, the German- the division of German Studies, something like that. I can't remember.
Muellner: Yeah, I’m looking at your extensive CV over here trying to find it.
Bammer: Within the framework of one big professional organization which will keep on doing what it does, until an impulse from elsewhere comes in and says hey, have you considered doing this differently, or let's do this. I think one of the roles that I ended up playing is being that person who can bring impulses and ideas from one structural context to another.
Muellner: Mm-hmm.

Bammer: So, a lot of what we did at WiG, and ways in which we thought that WiG, including not wanting to have a precedent, including wanting very consciously to have a different organizational structure, that was formulated for me at WiG.
Muellner: Mm-hmm.
Bammer: And I brought that to the Women's Caucus of the Modern Language Association. I remember talking there about the organizational structure, the hierarchies, that we were just, you know, hadn't even thought about. It was just the way things are done. And I remember talking about WiG and how it's done differently there, and we could try learning from each other. So, when I think about the role I played in WiG, it's as much between WiG and other organizations, especially the MLA where I was very involved in the Women's caucus and this was on a kind of national level. And then I eventually served for a term on the National Steering Committee, and I obviously wasn't there representing WiG, but the ways we had done things in WiG were radical structural changes and interaction changes that I then would carry to other places, as well.
Muellner: Okay. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I can see that. I mean, I am certainly not an expert when it comes to especially, MLA. I stopped really going to MLA after I got my job because it's such a huge, you know, a huge kind of madhouse. But like GSA, I kind of feel like there- there are some overlaps between the way that GSA has changed over the years and WiG, you know, and I kind of feel like WiG has a huge impact, you know, like this trickle down, like of this experimental space like you're describing, it's really, it's really kind of coming clear to me how it functions in that way to impact other organizations, like GSA, that was so rigid. When I first started as a graduate student, I remember being terrified.
Bammer: Yeah.
Muellner: Historian-run, sort of.
Bammer: Right. Right.
Muellner: But- so, you have kind of talked about this wonderful moment at WiG when you and Ruth Ellen gave your joint talk. I'm wondering if there's another anecdote that embodies WiG for you? I mean, maybe that's it, but is there another moment that you might want to talk about, that kind of was a real WiG moment?
Bammer: Yeah, yeah, that- Well, there are two. And, actually, in the questions that you gave me, they're kind of connected to number eight and number nine. So, I- maybe I can connect them there. So, as I was thinking about this, two things came to mind right away. One is kind of connected to number eight: “what were some of the hardest discussions or debates that came up at WiG in your memory?” So why don't I start with that one?
Muellner: Okay.
Bammer: Because, and again, you know my awful- my awful historical memory, that is anything but linear makes it kind of challenging for me to identify exactly when and where this was. I'm thinking Minnesota. In fact, I'm almost positive that it was Minnesota, and therefore I'm thinking cold. So, I'm thinking Minnesota, and I don't have the list of when WiG, you know,
what were the years that we met in Minnesota, but that's kind of what I'm thinking, it was in Minnesota. I'm remembering forested area, I'm remembering a stream, and this is how my- my memory works. And somehow, something triggered uneasiness, nervousness, resentments, distress that had clearly been kind of simmering under the surface. Not just there, not just then, but for a while.
Muellner: Mm-hmm.
Bammer: And they had to do- they had to do with language. Language seems to be the through line for so much of what I have struggled with and thought about and then kind of worked with and worked through, and so this, again, had to do with language, but this was not in the way that I talked earlier about language. This would come up periodically. I remember at the time, at WiG, when someone would say- she would raise her hand or just kind of blurt out, “warum sprechen wir nicht Deutsch? Warum sprechen wir dauernd Englisch miteinander? Wir sind doch Women in German. Deutsch! Warum sprechen wir alle Englisch?” And then there'd be this discussion, well, what should we speak? Should we speak German? Should we speak English? And indeed, why are we speaking English? Why aren't we “sprechen Deutsch mit einander?” And the and then it initially took the form of, well, let's just vote, so established structures would resolve the issue. A vote, a majority, whatever. But the underlying emotional, historical, political, social resonances that language carries, and in this case, not theory language, which is what I had talked about in other contexts, but a national language, what did that carry with it? And especially in a German context that we never- we didn't go there. Partly, I think because we didn't know that that was the place we should go. We didn't even know that that was being triggered by this seemingly simple question, “Warum sprechen wir nicht Deutsch?” Well, something triggered it. All this stuff at that conference. And you know what, Beth? Even now, as I'm remembering it, I can feel the unspeakable grief and rage and tension that just exploded. And I mean literally, I'm shocked. I can literally feel it now as- as I'm going back to that memory and it was as if history, German history that none of us – no, that’s not true – that only very few of us lived through, Evie Beck being one of them, as a Jewish German who, in 1938, if I remember the date right, as a little Jewish girl in Vienna, had been witness to her father being arrested, and who was then, along with her family, forced to leave Germany and came to America. German has a different role, has a different feeling for her and for all of us, for me. German was the language I could leave when I left Germany, again, when I was 20 years old, without thinking about what does this mean as a 20-year-old to leave my country, leave my family and just kind of reinvent myself as an English-speaking person? I never dealt with that. I never dealt with those feelings. So that came up at that meeting. So, I remember standing in the hallway of whatever dorm or building we were in, our backs pressed against the wall because we didn't even know where to go. We didn't even know how to be with each other. We didn't even know- could we sit? Could we look at each other? That's the image. We're standing in the hallway, our backs pressed against the wall, sobbing.
Muellner: Wow.
Bammer: No other professional organization would create a space, A) where that happened and B) where we then lived through it together and worked with it. I think that's probably, I mean that was without any question the hardest thing. The discussion or debate is not even the right term. It was literally a kind of psychoanalytic working through that we then embarked on, and it was profound. It was absolutely for those of us who went through that it was absolutely profound and- and incredibly meaningful. So that’s certainly one.
Muellner: Yeah, that is pretty amazing. I mean, again, it's so fascinating to hear about this from your perspective. Now knowing what I know about you, having read your memoir and also, you know, hearing stories of other women who were present. As a graduate student, hearing those kinds of conversations, I kind of remember that, but super superficial, you know, the- the ways in which German or English took sort of, you know, Vorrang for what happens but you know.
Bammer: Yeah, what should I? Should I maybe end with my favorite cabaret moment? Muellner: Yes, that would be lovely. Okay.
Bammer: Because that will get out of the darkness into the light. My favorite cabaret moment again, blah, blah blah. I don't remember the exact year, but it was- I actually have two, but I'll just pick one. I remember it was in Florida, it was in Saint Augustine, and that was super fun because we had the beach and one of our members, Martha Wallach, had cancer and she was going through chemotherapy. And she had lost her hair, and she was wearing a wig. Well, cabaret time came. I mean, we were absolutely intrepid. So, the theme of that year's cabaret was wigs –and wigs proliferated. Everyone on stage had a wig on and Martha had her wig on. And it was the most beautiful celebration of what it means to be together. Kind of, not as academics, not as scholars, as women who cared about each other, who loved each other, and who grieved together and thought, you know what? Fuck it. We're just gonna have a really, really wild time. And I will never forget that there was Martha Wallach with her black wig and all these wigs, and I don't remember exactly whether there was a point when everyone took their wig off and threw it in the air, but yeah. Like it was, it was taking what we do and who we are and transforming it into something that responds immediately in the moment to something in the most zany, crazy, wonderful, creative way.
Muellner: Wow, that is amazing. That gives a little context to why everyone wears wigs now, so much. I didn't know that. Interesting. Yeah, that's a whole different ball game. So, three words that come to mind when you think of WiG, you already gave one, which is fun.
Bammer: Yeah.. You know, I had the hardest time, too, coming up with words. I don't really know because right next to fun is serious and right next to that is transformative.
Muellner: Great. Wonderful. Well, this was a really amazing interview. I've so enjoyed talking with you and learning so much about your perspective and you're just really filling a lot of gaps for me. So, thank you so much. I really- Yeah, this was wonderful.
Bammer: Thank you, Beth.




“Interview with Angelika Bammer,” Women in German Herstory Project, accessed July 15, 2024,