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

2020 Oct 29

German Studies Seminar - Thomas Pfau (Duke University) on "Modernist Image-Consciousness and Lyric Form: Rilke's Encounter with Cézanne"

3:00pm to 5:00pm

Location: 

Virtual. Register to receive link.

Thomas PfauThomas Pfau is the Alice Mary Baldwin Professor of English at Duke University and holds secondary appointments in Germanic Languages & Literature and the Divinity School. He is the author of some fifty essays and of Wordsworth’s Profession (Stanford 1997), Romantic Moods: Paranoia, Trauma, Melancholy, ... Read more about German Studies Seminar - Thomas Pfau (Duke University) on "Modernist Image-Consciousness and Lyric Form: Rilke's Encounter with Cézanne"

2020 Nov 13

GSAS Germanic Forum

2:00pm to 4:00pm

Location: 

Virtual (link TBA)
Save the date! Details TBA
2020 Nov 19

Professional Development Workshop: Zoom Interviews

3:00pm to 5:00pm

Location: 

Virtual
Workshop for Germanic Languages and Literatures graduate students. Presented by Professors Frank Johnson and Eric Rentschler. See GLL Updates for link.
2020 Dec 03

German Studies Seminar - Benjamin Lewis Robinson (University of Vienna) on "Kein Mensch muss müssen: Exigencies of the German Stage from Lessing to Jelinek"

3:00pm to 5:00pm

Location: 

Virtual. Register to receive link.
Benjamin Lewis Robinson

Benjamin Lewis Robinson (A.B. Harvard, MPhil Oxford, Ph.D. Northwestern) is University Assistant in the Department of German at the University of Vienna. He is the author of Bureaucratic Fanatics: Modern Literature and the Passions of Rationalization (De Gruyter, 2019) and is currently engaged in a project on literature and biopolitics titled States of Need / States of Emergency. ... Read more about German Studies Seminar - Benjamin Lewis Robinson (University of Vienna) on "Kein Mensch muss müssen: Exigencies of the German Stage from Lessing to Jelinek"

Department News

New Position for Gernot Waldner

September 18, 2020

Gernot WaldnerWarmest congratulations to Gernot Waldner (PhD, 2018) who has just received the six-year Assistant Professorship for Modern German Literature at the University of Vienna.

Daniel Carranza

Daniel Carranza Joins Department as Fellow, then Assistant Professor

September 2, 2020


This Fall, the Germanic Languages and Literatures Department welcomes Dr. Daniel Carranza as a Fellow in Germanic Languages and Literatures. Dr. Carranza, who received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, will join the department’s faculty in July 2022 as Assistant Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures.

Dr. Carranza’s scholarship encompasses eighteenth- to twentieth-century German literature; poetics and the history of the lyric; the German philosophical tradition from Kant to Heidegger; moments of cross-pollination between the history of science and the history of philology; ‘new formalisms;’ and literary theory.... Read more about Daniel Carranza Joins Department as Fellow, then Assistant Professor

A Message from the Harvard Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures

June 25, 2020

“Die Arbeit in weißer Haut kann sich nicht dort emanzipieren, wo sie in schwarzer Haut gebrandmarkt wird.” – Karl Marx, Das Kapital

The Harvard Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures joins millions of Americans and people across the world in condemning the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, as well as the countless... Read more about A Message from the Harvard Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures

In Memoriam: Eckehard P. Simon, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures, Emeritus

May 6, 2020

Eckehard SimonEckehard P. Simon, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures, Emeritus, died on May 2, 2020. Despite his modest demeanor, he was a brilliant speaker and a distinguished scholar who published six books and numerous essays, and did extensive work identifying...

Read more about In Memoriam: Eckehard P. Simon, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures, Emeritus

Spring 2020 Events Canceled

March 16, 2020
The Germanic Languages and Literatures department has canceled the remainder of its Spring 2020 events  due to restrictions on travel and gatherings imposed by the university in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
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