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The Department of Germanic Studies at the University of Chicago is made up of a small group of core faculty members working at the cutting edge of literary and cultural studies. They bring together expertise in literary history, intellectual history, literary and cultural theory, the German philosophical tradition, opera, theater and performance studies, cinema studies, psychoanalysis, and visual studies. The department has also recently developed considerable strengths in Scandinavian Studies and Yiddish language and literature.

The faculty and students are supported in their work—in large part through team-teaching--by an extraordinary constellation of resource faculty, scholars working with German materials across the disciplines: philosophy, history, theater studies, musicology, art history, history of science, sociology, religious studies, and political theory. There may, for example, be no better place in the world to study German Idealism or German-Jewish intellectual history than the University of Chicago.

A selection of faculty publications may be found here

Department Chronik

Recent contributions of all department members to the field of Germanic Studies.

January 1, 2019
Joseph Haydt: "Irony and Historical Truth: Lessing on Reimarus on Christianity," paper delivered to the Conference of the Modern Languages Association, Chicago, IL, January 1, 2019.

January 4, 2019
Emily Dreyfus. Host. Berliner Philharmoniker Filmabend at the Zeughaus Kino in Berlin. January 4, 2019.

January 4, 2019
Matthew Johnson, "Yiddish Literature in a Postvernacular World: On Chava Rosenfarb's Self-Translations," paper delivered at the Conference of the Modern Language Association, Chicago, January 4, 2019.

February 11, 2019
Matthew Johnson, co-organizer, "Workshop on Teaching Jewish Studies," Greenberg Center for Jewish Studies, University of Chicago, February 11, 2019, 5:00-6:30pm in Swift Hall 106 [incl. a presentation by Jessica Kirzane]

Feb 16, 2019
David Kretz, "Levinas and Critical Phenomenology," comments to be delivered to the Northwestern University Graduate Conference in Critical Theory, Northwestern University, Feb 16, 2019.

March 1-2, 2019
David Wellbery: “On Literary Interpretation,” Conference: Cultural Poetics and Social Judgement, New School for Social Research, NYC, March 1-2, 2019.

March 7-10, 2019
Jessica Resvick. Talk. “Picturesque Visions: Adalbert Stifter’s Studien and Washington Irving’s Sketch-Book,” Annual Meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association, Washington, D.C., March 7-10, 2019.

March 12-13, 2019
David Wellbery: “Rilke: Elegies 9-10,” Conference: “Rilke and T.S. Eliot: The Duino Elegies and Four Quartets, Edinborough, March 12-13, 2019.

March 20 - 22, 2019
Daniel Carranza: “‘bloß ein Lehrgedicht:’ Rhetorik und Sinnliches Denken in Schillers ‘Reich der Schatten.’” Lecture,  Schillers Feste der Rhetorik. Marbach, Germany. March 20 - 22, 2019

March 22, 2019
Joseph Haydt: "What Is the Question for Which von Balthasar's Theory of Gestalt Is the Answer?" paper to be delivered to the Conference of the Northeast Region of the American Academy of Religion, Tufts University, March 22, 2019.

March 29-30, 2019
David Kretz, "Troeltsch and/or/against Gadamer," paper to be delivered to the University of Notre Dame and University of Chicago Fifth Annual Joint Graduate Student Conference, University of Chicago, March 29-30, 2019.

March 30, 2019
Joseph Haydt: "Renouncing the Whole: The Post-Theological Ethics of Goethe's Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahre," paper to be delivered to the Conference on Christianity and Literature, Harvard University, March 30, 2019.

March 30, 2019
Ella Wilhelm: "Contradiction in Progress: On G.E. Lessing's Education of the Human Race", paper to be delivered at the University of Toronto's graduate Comparative Literature conference, Timepieces, March 30, 2019.

April 2019
Alexander Sorenson: “The Bride by the Water: Duty, Procession, and Sacrifice in Theodor Fontane’s Unwiederbringlich.” Article appearing in German Life and Letters 72.2 (forthcoming, April 2019)

April 9-10, 2019
Noah Zeldin: “The Poverty of Art: Towards a Materialist Critique of a Fetish,” paper to be delivered to conference: “Hegel-Marx: Dead Dogs Still Live,” University of Lisbon, April 9-10, 2019

April 11-12, 2019
Daniel Burnfin: “Hegel’s Critique of Understanding / Metaphysics,” Conference: The Autobiography of Thought: Hegel's Science of Logic, University of Coimbra, April 11-12, 2019.

April 17-18, 2019
David Wellbery: “Zur Anekdote in Dichtung und Wahrheit,” Workshop on Dichtung und Wahrheit, Klassikstiftung Weimar, April 17-18, 2019.

May 9, 2019
Joseph Haydt: "Anonym, Pseudonym, Editor: Lessing's Fictional Authors," paper to be delivered to the Workshop of the Indiana University Center for Eighteenth-Century Studies, University of Indiana, Bloomington, May 9, 2019.

May 9-11, 2019
Ella Wilhelm: "The Stage and the Crossroads: Tragic Plot Structure in Sophocles' Oedipus the King", paper to be presented at Emergence and Ground. The Dynamics of 'Darstellung',a conference held at the University of Chicago, May 9-11, 2019.

May 9-11, 2019
David Wellbery: “Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön. Image as Dramatic Motivation,” Conference: Emergence and Ground. The Dynamics of Darstellung, University of Chicago, May 9-11, 2019.

May 22-25, 2019
David Kretz, "Rhetorical Strategy and Literary Form in Rorty's Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity," paper to be delivered to Rorty-Tagung "Dreißig Jahre "Kontingenz, Ironie und Solidarität", Akademie für politische Bildung Tutzing, May 22-25, 2019.

June 5, 2019
Daniel Burnfin and Noah Zeldin, co-organizers together with Elena Stingl (FU Berlin) of up-coming workshop: “Verfemte Faschismusanalysen: Georges Bataille und Alfred Sohn-Rethel,” Freie Universität Berlin, June 5, 2019.

June 11-14, 2019
David Wellbery: “Enthusiastisch aufgeregte Rede: Goethes Divan,” Convention of Goethe Gesellschaft, Weimar, June 11-14, 2019.

June 18, 2019
David Wellbery: “Affirmation und Ressentiment: Zur Poetik von Goethes Egmont,” Public Lecture: Freies Deutsches Hochstift, Frankfurt a.M., June 18, 2019.

June 19-23, 2019
Noah Zeldin: “Brecht’s Others: The Role of Music and Amateur Performers in the Learning-Pieces,” paper to be delivered at the 19th Symposium of the International Brecht Society, “Brecht unter Fremden,” Leipzig, June 19-23, 2019.

June 27, 2019
Joseph Haydt: "Hegel's Modern 12th Century: The Medievalism of the Lectures on Aesthetics," paper to be delivered to a conference on International Medievalisms, Maynooth University, June 27, 2019.

October 3-6, 2019
Joseph Haydt: "Goethe as a Heterodox Thinker," participant in a seminar to be held at the Conference of the Germanic Studies Association, Portland, OR, October 3-6, 2019.

October 3-6, 2019
Sophie Salvo: co-organizer, “‘Special Languages’: Linguistic Others and Social Order,” seminar at the German Studies Association Annual Conference, Portland Oregon, October 3-6, 2019.

October 3-6, 2019
Alexander Sorenson: “Ottilie’s Augenblick: Drowning, Diegesis, and Goethe’s Poetic Realism.” Paper to be delivered at the German Studies Association annual convention. October 3-6, 2019. Portland, OR

October 3-6, 2019
Jessica Resvick: “Materiality and Erasure: Realist Knowledge Transmission in Gottfried Keller’s ‘Die Geisterseher.’” Paper to be delivered at the Annual Conference of the German Studies Association, Portland, OR, October 3-6, 2019.

January 2020
Alexander Sorenson: Organizing a panel series on the topic of "Nature and Reality in the German 19th Century" for the Modern Language Association annual convention. January 2020, Seattle, WA. 

September 27-30, 2018

Mirjam Berg. Talk: "Writing the Inner Strife: Emmy Hennings' Das Brandmal: Ein Tagebuch," Forty-Second Annual Conference of the GSA, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, September 27-30, 2018.

December 12, 2018

Jessica Kirzane, Lecturer of Yiddish Studies, receives the Cashmere Subvention Award in Jewish Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies, awarded by the Women's Caucus of the AJS, for her manuscript, a translation of Miriam Karpilov's Diary of a Lonely Girl or the Battle Against Free Love (very soon to be under contract with Syracuse UP, and projected to be published in the fall of 2019).  This award comes with a grant to support scholarly publication in the area of Jewish, Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies.

July 9-11, 2018

Emily Dreyfus. Talk. “’Übrigens, Steuerklasse sind wir vier’: Precarities of Economic and Cultural Capital in Cinema of the Third Reich,” Economic Subjects, Trilateral Doctoral Colloquium: FU Berlin – Cambridge – University of Chicago. Cambridge, UK, July 9-11, 2018.


Emily Dreyfus: DAAD short-term grant 2019, Film University Babelsberg "Konrad Wolf", May-October 2019.

David E. Wellbery. Through his interdisciplinary approach to analyzing the work of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, David E. Wellbery has transformed scholarly understanding of a pivotal cultural period in Europe surrounding the dawn of the 19th century. In recognition of his groundbreaking research, Wellbery will receive the Golden Goethe Medal from the Goethe Society on June 13, 2019, at the National Theater in Weimar, Germany.

Emily Dreyfus has been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant in Film Studies at the Humboldt University for 2017-18 and a one-year dissertation research fellowship from the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies beginning in April 2018.

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