Welcome to the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures

Initiated in 1825 and officially established in 1897, The Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at Harvard continues to enjoy a prestigious and highly regarded reputation, offering undergraduate concentrations, secondary fields, and doctoral training in a broad variety of texts, media, and other cultural productions. Faculty share a number of intellectual engagements in both German and Scandinavian materials across the centuries, from the medieval period to the present day. Our curriculum is supplemented by cross-disciplinary interests in art history, music, and visual culture, critical theory and philosophy, the history of science, performance studies, folklore, anthropology, and ethnopoetics, taking fullest advantage of the incomparably rich and unique collections held at the Harvard Libraries, Art Museums and Film Archive. 

In addition to rigorous training in theory and the interpretation of literary and cultural materials, both within and outside of the canon, graduate students are encouraged to develop individualized courses of study across the University in preparation for successful careers in teaching, research and related work. To this end, the Department consistently maintains a vibrant series of invited lectures, colloquia, conferences, and workshops. Moreover, theater productions, musical events, and informal social gatherings, including a bi-weekly Kaffeestunde, make an engaging and enriching contribution to our undergraduate concentrations and language programs. 

Upcoming Events

Department News

A Warm Welcome to our new faculty, Agnes Broomé and Dania Hückmann

July 12, 2015

We are delighted to welcome Dr. Agnes Broomé as our new Preceptor in Scandinavian Studies. Agnes comes to Harvard from University College London, where she recently completed her PhD with a dissertation on translations and the British book market. In addition to a strong interest in translation theory, her research focuses on a range of topics relating to Scandinavian languages and cultures, including publishing practices, intermedial adaptation, and the history of the book. 

A warm welcome as well to Dr. Dania Hückmann, our new Harvard College Fellow in German Literature and Culture. Upon completing her doctorate at New York University with a dissertation on the theme of revenge in German Realism, Dania taught language and culture at NYU-Berlin. Her research interests include discourses of law in literature and film, memory politics, narratology and grammar, representations of trauma and violence, from German Classicism to the post World War II period. 

Congratulations to This Year's Harvard Internships in Germany and Austria!

May 23, 2015

Thanks to the outstanding efforts of Ruth Sondermann, our Department’s Work-Abroad councilor, a number of Harvard Students have received exciting summer internships in Western Europe: John Gilheany (Duff and Phelps, Frankfurt), Achim Harzheim (ECON Renewable Energy Consulting, Essen), Adela Kim (Landesmuseum für moderne Kunst, Photographie und Architektur, Berlin), Dominique Kim (Zentrum für Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe), Tim LaVelle (Technische Universität, Aachen), Toni Li (RWE, Energy Consulting, Essen), Katja Lierhaus (Technische Universität, Aachen), Eela Nagaraj (Institute for Science and Technology, Klosterneuburg, Austria), Andrew O’Rourke (Ruhrfellowship), Carlos Pena (SAP Enterprise Application Software, Walldorf, Germany), Michael Raleigh (Bach-Archiv, Leipzig), Dominika Sarnecka (McKinsey Consulting, Munich), and Juhwan Seo (“Nativity,” Austrian start-up led by Harvard alum Anchal Lochan). Congratulations to all! Students interested in pursuing any one of the excellent internship opportunities in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland should contact Ruth Sondermann


Congratulations to Ian Fleishman (PhD, 2013)!

April 14, 2015

Ian's dissertation, An Aesthetics of Injury: The Narrative Wound from Baudelaire to Tarantino, has been been selected for the 2015 Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA) Book Award for best unpublished manuscript. 

Columbia University Press has published Eric Rentschler's new book: The Use and Abuse of Cinema: German Legacies from the Weimar Era to the Present.

March 11, 2015

The Use and Abuse of Cinema takes readers on a series of enthralling excursions through the fraught history of German cinema, from the Weimar and Nazi eras to the postwar and postwall epochs and into the new millennium. These journeys in time afford both rich panoramas and nuanced close-ups from a nation's production of fantasies and spectacles, traversing the different ways in which the film medium has figured in Germany, both as a site of creative and critical enterprise and a locus of destructive and regressive endeavor.