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April 15, 2004



Alice Goff

Alice Goff '04, a double major in history and German who is renowned on Bryn Mawr's campus for her revival of the collegial tradition known as Coffee Hour, has been awarded a 2004 Fulbright Grant to support a year of teaching in Germany. The Fulbright Program, an international educational exchange sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, was established by legislation introduced by former Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas in 1946 to "increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries." Fulbright grantees are chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential.

Goff will spend a year in Germany teaching English; her grant will cover transportation costs and a living stipend. Recipients of Fulbright teaching grants are also entitled to register for one or more college courses, if they are placed in university towns, and they are encouraged, but not required to pursue research during the Fulbright year.

"I've been placed in Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), which is in the northwest corner of the country, west of Berlin," says Goff, "but I don't know yet which city. I indicated a preference for cities that are historical centers of the book and print industry because I want to do research into the history of the book. I'm interested in what motivates the preservation of historical technologies, and I think printing and bookbinding are areas where people are particularly conscious of the past."

The digital revolution has sparked considerable interest in the early history of the printing press and the book, says Goff. "It's given many more people access to facsimiles and information about rare books, but it also calls into question the form and structure of the book as the primary vessel of information. When the method of storing information changes, reading and writing change along with it," she explains. "This happened when the printing press came into use, and it's happening today with the World Wide Web."

Goff would like to serve an internship in the print shop at the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz after her Fulbright year, she says, and will probably apply to graduate programs in history eventually. In addition to hosting Coffee Hour, a weekly gathering for Bryn Mawr students, faculty and staff, Goff is completing a senior thesis that looks at German university students' attempts to affiliate themselves with the state during the Third Reich, using the book-burning of 1933 as a case study.

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