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.
Thanks to numerous workshops, conferences, and lecture series organized by the department’s own Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of German Literature and Culture, Germanic Studies has come to occupy a place of intellectual centrality in the Division of the Humanities. Regular faculty and student exchanges with German and other international universities have resulted in ongoing conversations and, in some cases, research projects across the Atlantic and across the disciplines. Two major academic journals, The Opera Quarterly and the Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte, have their home in the Department.
The department’s faculty engages in a diversity of approaches to the study of literary and cultural objects. A brief survey of faculty publications, workshop and conference topics, course descriptions, and dissertation topics, provides a good sense of the sorts of theoretical paradigms that shape conversations in the program.
The graduate students in Germanic Studies all receive generous funding packages that include a mix of fellowship, teaching, and ample opportunities for supplemental funding to support summer research and travel. Before teaching, students are trained in foreign language pedagogy and continue to be closely mentored while teaching their own courses. These range from beginning language to advanced language and culture courses, some of which are self-designed.