Welcome to the Department of Germanic Studies!
The Department of Germanic Studies at the University of Chicago is a national and international leader in the field of Germanic Studies. We are the home of innovative research and educational programs in the areas of language and literary studies as well as a uniquely broad range of interdisciplinary inquiries. Recent graduates of our Ph.D. program hold positions at prominent institutions across the United States and Europe. In addition to the German language and the German-language traditions in philosophy, theater, the visual arts, cinema, media studies, and cultural theory, we offer courses in Norwegian and Yiddish language and literature. Four members of the faculty hold named professorships and two cutting-edge international journals (the Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte and Word & Image) have their editorial homes in the Department. Germanic Studies is actively involved in Study Abroad programs in Berlin and Vienna and we have important graduate-level exchanges with the Free University of Berlin, the University of Leipzig, and the University of Constance. Both the Department and the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on German Literature and Culture sustain vibrant lecture series and conference programs.
The Department of Germanic Studies is characterized by what we call a “hub-and-spoke” structure of research and teaching. The hub is our shared commitment to the Germanic-language traditions in literature, drama and theater, philosophy, and the visual arts. The spokes extending out from this hub are the multiple interdisciplinary connections entertained by our faculty and students. Faculty hold joint appointments in Theater and Performance Studies, the Divinity School, Art History, Cinema and Media Studies, Jewish Studies, and the Committee on Social Thought, and each member of the faculty is engaged in research and educational collaboration with colleagues from these and other fields. Affiliated faculty from other departments at the University often serve on our students’ dissertation committees and our degree programs encourage students to carve out individual intellectual agendas that take full advantage of the flexible interdisciplinary culture at the U of C.
The signature feature of the Department is its vital spirit of intellectual community. Mentoring at both the undergraduate and graduate levels is central to each faculty member’s activities. The centerpiece of our graduate-student recruitment is a joint faculty-student seminar. Both the graduate student colloquium and the dissertation reading group attract such devoted participation that former students tune in to meetings from around the country and abroad. Dissertation defenses are likewise important communal events attended by all current members of the Department, with former students regularly in Zoom-mediated attendance. Finally, our rich palette of conferences, colloquia, and guest lectures sustains the commitment to spirited debate and excellence in scholarship that is the core value of the University of Chicago.