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. 

Click here for a Brief History of the Department

Upcoming Events

2018 Apr 05

Mahindra German Studies Seminar


Thursday, April 5, 2018, 6:00pm to 7:30pm


359 Barker Center, Nebel Room

Michael Stolz, Bern University

The Tolerance of Religious Ambiguity: Reading Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival in a Post-Secular Context

See also: Lectures

Department News

New book by Racha Kirakosian - Die Vita der Christina von Hane

September 16, 2017
Christina von Hane


This is the very first comprehensive study on the late medieval text transmitting the Life ("Vita") of the 13th-century mystic, Christina von Hane. Adopting a multi-perspective approach, the first part of the study considers the handwritten manuscript while also discussing performative aspects of this mystic text. The second part of the study offers a new edition of the Vita.

Nineteen Fellowships and Internships Abroad for 2016

May 31, 2016
Nineteen Fellowships and Internships Abroad for 2016

Warmest congratulations to the students who have been awarded fellowships and internships through the Department’s Work Abroad Program this year, with special thanks to our Work Abroad Program Officer, Ruth Sondermann, for making all this possible: Anna Lea Albright (Ausschuss für Umwelt, Naturschutz und Reaktorsicherheit, Berlin); Xavier Cuan Martinez (Ruhrfellow intern with RWE); Ramsey Fahs (Navity Company, Vienna); Jennifer Hu (Ruhrfellow in mathematics); Elizabeth Hubbard (Research Internships in Science and Engineering [RISE], biology research at the TU-Dresden); Priyanka Kumar (RISE fellowship, biology research at the University-Rostock); Anisa Kureshi (Internship in Physics, Humboldt Universität-Berlin); Timothy Lavelle (Internship, Technische Universität-Dresden); Esther Lee (Value for Good, Berlin); Kevin Loughlin (Ruhrfellow intern for Energy with RWE);  Matt Matsudaira (Ruhrfellow); Fred Metzger (Ruhrfellow internship with Evonic); Ana Olana (Technische Universität-Aachen); Jason Rosenberg (RISE fellowship, Friedrich Schiller Universität-Jena); Andrew Sanchez (RISE, chemistry at the Freie Universität-Berlin); Emma Silverblatt (Internship at Studio Other Spaces, Berlin);  Sarah Stajcic (Internship at Brödermann Law firm, Hamburg);  and Frank Zhou (Technische Universität-Aachen). Wishing you all a rewarding and productive summer abroad!