Gesa Zinn Mullins

Honored by:James A. and Sue B. Mullins
Brick location:PAVER:13  map

A student exchange on a land-locked Iowa farm -- quite different from the Baltic sea coast of her native north German home -- set Gesa Zinn on a totally unexpected life course.

Her focus on higher education was unwavering. But rather than pursue her degrees in the (then) West German state university system, Gesa found herself married to an Iowa farmer. Her university studies encompassed undergraduate work at ISU, a Bachelor of Arts degree from Sacramento State University, and two advanced degrees from the University of Minnesota.

Gesa's interest in literature expanded with her life experiences. While earlier studies covered more "traditional" comparative literature investigations, Gesa's post-graduate studies focused more on the definitive insights German women brought to literature and film. Specifically, she lifted the film style and social interpretation of German artist Helke Sander as an example of feminism which breaks with the more traditional ways of writing history.*

Gesa's determination to find free expression of her wide-ranging intellect was supported through menial labor which helped pay tuition and enhanced her empathy; by her husband Michael (once presented with a soap Pig on a Rope by his exasperated mother) who assumed many of the traditional "housekeeping" roles to free up Gesa's study time; and by academics who helped her to secure financial support.

Fittingly, Gesa and Mike's long-anticipated daughter, Saskia Mullins Zinn, arrived 5 days after Gesa crossed the U of M stage to accept her doctoral diploma and her family's cheers.

* "Film Fiction, and Feminism; Politics in Helke Sander's Cinematic and Literary Texts: Representations of Gender, Subjectivity, Humor, and Music". Thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Minnesota by Gesa Zinn in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy. May, 1995

Submitted on 5/23/94

Paver Inscription:

"Women of our Family
Helen Blunt
Hellen Mullins
Sue Blunt Mullins
Jennifer Mullins Jones
Gesa Zinn Mullins"