1st Student's Major

English, World Languages and Cultures, Educational Studies: K-12 and Secondary Programs

1st Student's College


Students' Professional Biography

My name is Tesla Gontjes. I am from Duluth, Minnesota, and I am pursuing a Bachelor's in English and German Education. I hope to teach middle and high schools in these subjects, as well as study abroad in Germany.

Mentor's Name

Nadja Kramer

Mentor's Email Address


Mentor's Department

World Languages and Cultures

Mentor's College

Arts and Humanities


Children, cooking and church: Like most of the European world before 1900, these were “the three Cs” designated by society for women in Germany. However, some women broke through these expectations and pursued a fourth “C”: Civil action. Such a woman was Bettina von Arnim (1785-1859). A writer, activist, feminist, and intellectual, von Arnim was politically active during a time when women were delegated to domestic duties and expected to be completely subservient to their husbands. She lived during a tumultuous era of French, Prussian, and Austrian occupation of Germany during the early 19th century. Instead of being a mild-mannered bourgeois widow, von Arnim interacted with many well-known German cultural figures, such as the Grimm Brothers, Goethe, and Beethoven. Like the politically active men in her life, von Arnim took action in an oppressive society, fearlessly voicing her own opinions while supporting other oppressed groups such as Jewish people, the poverty-stricken, and revolutionaries. While not well-known outside of German-speaking circles, von Arnim’s contributions serve as an example of active citizenship despite being a member of “the weaker sex.” Therefore, Bettina von Arnim is not only an important woman in German history, rather, an important person in world history.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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