5 Fragen an Dr.in Sibylle Machat

Fachschaft und Studiengangleitung haben sich gemeinsam fünf Fragen an Dozierende des Studiengangs überlegt, die Studierenden die Gelegenheit geben sollen die Dozent*innen ein wenig besser kennenzulernen.

Dr.in Sibylle Machat – Webseite der EUF

Foto von Dr. Machat

1. How did you decide on your field of study?

I have a couple of research fields and research interests, but as most of you will know me from what I mentally label as a „business studies as cultural studies“ class, I’m going to talk about that field a little. It’s actually not a terribly exciting story – I have a „Magister Artium“ degree from the University of Mannheim, which is one of the big business studies universities in Germany, and for this degree I had to pick different subjects that I wanted to study.

The „Magister Artium“ in Mannheim allowed for almost any combination of subjects that one wanted to pick, and so while I also followed my interests into picking „Anglistik & Amerikanistik,“ I knew from the start that I did not want to become a school teacher, and so I added „Betriebswirtschaftslehre (BWL)“ as my second subject („media studies“ was my third and „public law“ my overachiever bonus subject – yes I was keeping my options wide open and also planning on a career in a major corporation somewhere).

The thing about studying a) your own choice of and b) such diverse subjects is that there wasn’t any real interaction / intersection / connection between the disciplines – or rather, you were the connection between the disciplines, were the person who had read texts in both fields, could bring thoughts and ideas from one to the other … .

I found this lack of reciprocal enrichment and the narrow focus in my business studies classes super frustrating – and so I simply started looking for the broader picture and the connections between the disciplines myself. One of the early texts I read that was very approachable and also really showed me that such connections were viable and that people were creating/thinking/writing about them (only not in my classes) was Robert Heilbroner’s The Worldly Philosophers, which I would still highly recommend as an excellent starting point, despite it being a couple of decades old by now.

2. What was your best KSM seminar topic to date, and what would be a desirable topic for a future KSM seminar?

This is tough one, because I genuinely really enjoy all the classes and projects I get to offer in KSM. I’m excited to be teaching the „Introduction to Intercultural Literary Studies“ again in 2022, because I have plans for texts that I want to cover with students there.

3. What book has particularly influenced you, or is a must read?

Narrowing this down to just one book is of course impossible and ‚must‘ is too apodictic a term, but …
non-fiction: Gunnar Olsson, Abysmal: A Critique of Cartographic Reason;
fiction: Lois McMaster Bujold, Cordelia’s Honor.

4. Is the glass half full or half empty?

It’s always completely full – sometimes there’s just more air in there than at other times.

5. Looking back from your own experience, what advice would you give to your former student self?

I know that the Prüfungsordnung says that the written exam in „Technik des Betriebswirtschaftlichen Rechnungswesen“ can be taken as many time as one likes and that the only requirement is that the class must have been passed by the end of your studies, but, trust me, first taking the intensive block seminar course for four weeks during summer break and then deciding that you won’t study for the exam: not the best choice. Taking the class all over again in the fall term will not make it any more enjoyable and really just means that you wasted those four weeks of summer.