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. 

Department News

Daniel Bowles, PhD '11, German, has received the Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize

May 11, 2016

The department is pleased to announce that alumnus Daniel Bowles has won the 2016 Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator’s Prize for his translation of Swiss novelist Christian Kracht’s Imperium. This annual prize is awarded each spring to honor an outstanding literary translation from German into English published in the USA the previous year. The prize is administered by the Goethe-Institut New York and more information can be found here.  Bowles is an Assistant Professor of German Studies at Boston College, and his academic publications focus on postwar and contemporary German literature.