Department of German Studies

The Department of German Studies is a vibrant intellectual community with strong ties to the full range of critical inquiry that characterizes the humanities at Brown. It focuses its research and teaching on German-language literature, culture, and critical thought (from German Idealism and Romanticism to the Frankfurt School and beyond), with a comparative and transdisciplinary orientation. It offers both the B.A. and the Ph.D. in German Studies, affording its students – from beginning language learner to advanced doctoral researcher – the opportunity to combine their interests in the literary, cultural, and intellectual production of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland with a wide variety of complementary pursuits, including philosophy, aesthetics, history, music, cultural theory, psychoanalysis, and film, among others. The Department encourages this approach through its flexible yet rigorous curriculum; intense research and teaching collaboration with faculty in related Brown departments and partner institutions in Europe; rich and varied course offerings in both German and English; as well as attractive study abroad opportunities in Berlin and Tübingen.




A warm “Welcome” to our students, friends, and colleagues! 2020 has certainly been full of surprises, to say the least, but I hope that summer has been a safe, healthy, and restful time for everyone.

Many of us have been working hard to prepare an exciting roster of courses for the coming year, and we are grateful for the tireless support of our undergraduate assistants, technology specialists, library staff, and countless others. To be able to continue our mission as a Department through these trying times is a real blessing. It has been particularly gratifying for me as Department Chair to see the spirit of collaboration, sharing, and mutual support thriving through the challenges of our time. Please stay tuned for more news about the virtual program of events and activities that we are putting together for the next few months.

As we navigate the uncertainties of the school year, I hope that we will look for opportunities to encourage and support each other. It is important to take time to acknowledge our success, however modest, in facing the challenges to come. We should also not forget that many of us are are having a hard time. Members of our community are grappling with health issues and financial uncertainties, while others are fighting to stem the tide of political and social injustice that faces us. Please take time to listen and be generous to one another, and do not hesitate to reach out to us if we can help in any way.

With best wishes for the year ahead,

Zachary Sng