About the German Studies department
The Department of German Studies offers students the opportunity to explore the cultural, intellectual and artistic traditions of German-speaking countries. We are a small department teaching a broad array of courses to satisfy the disparate interests of undergraduates even as, as individual faculty members, we intensively pursue research specialities supporting both traditional and innovative perspectives in our discipline. Aware that disciplinary boundaries are too restrictive to accommodate perspectives on all the nuances of the traditions we study, we actively and regularly cooperate with colleages in history, comparative literature, music, literary arts, modern culture and media studies, and philosophy.
In recent years the department has attended to the cultural and literary history of issues confronting Germany in the twentieth century. As Germany has found meaningful ways to deal with the dangers of nationalism and cultural myopia, we have taught the complex history of these intellectual traditions and engaged in research and teaching that provide alternative perspectives from within German culture. The department continues to pursue these interests even as it integrates them into new enterprises. With the help of new faculty the Department of German Studies now also has significant strength in the history of German aesthetics. From the eighteenth century to the twentieth, from Baumgarten to Benjamin, the German tradition of thinking about the nature of art, literature and language has been enormously productive and influential. The department now looks forward to exploring this tradition in conjunction with disciplines such as philosophy, music, political science, art history and history.