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Home » Discover Rackham » Student Spotlight: Meghan Forbes

A Ph.D. candidate in the Slavic Department, Meghan’s research focuses primarily on Czech and German literature and visual culture. Her dissertation centers on the relationship between the interwar Czech Avant-Garde of the 1920s and 30s, and other contemporary avant-garde or modernist movements in Europe (namely the Bauhaus in Germany and Surrealism in France).

When asked why she came to Michigan, she says that the faculty were her primary draw. “Namely, I came to Michigan to work with Jindrich Toman and Scott Spector, whose work I was very familiar with well before my arrival on campus, thanks to my early research interests and prior coursework. Of course, since that time, I have had contact with many other faculty members that have had a great influence on my development going forward.”

Meghan’s no stranger to the halls of Rackham. “I’ve been an active participant in the interdisciplinary Rackham Avant-Garde Interest Group. We’ve organized trips to film screenings in Detroit, discussion sessions on campus, and invited guest speakers for 2-day workshops and seminars.” There are over 60 interdisciplinary workshops offered by Rackham.

She continues, “As a graduate student in the Humanities, Rackham is an invaluable resource. Rackham has supported my conference travel, summer research, and extracurricular interests. The generous amount of funding I have received allows me to improve my German and Czech language skills, spend as much time as necessary conducting research in archives abroad, and take influential graduate seminars on campus.”

A common theme, creating balance, is an ever-present issue for Meghan, primarily since she’s very active in a number of artistic pursuits that keep her engaged in the community. “My greatest challenge is balancing my academic commitments with my extracurricular commitments. I am so fortunate to have found in the Slavic Department at Michigan, a program that not only allows but encourages my reciprocal engagement in the University and the community beyond its walls.” This year, on fellowship in New York, she was able to merge her academic focus with some art making and creative writing workshops for children, where she co-developed a typewriter workshop to coincide with a Guggenheim’s exhibition on Italian Futurism. “The workshops I’m doing in New York started with a grant from the Arts of Citizenship program at Rackham. Through the grant, we were able to host workshops in Ann Arbor, Chelsea and Detroit. Thanks to the success of these, we were able to raise additional funds to expand the program to New York.”

As Meghan travels to Berlin on a Fulbright Scholarship for research for the academic year, she gets more time to reflect on her campus experience. She recalls, “My fondest memories at the University are attending graduate seminars that were a perfect blend of engaging material, motivated fellow students, and profoundly knowledgeable professors.”