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

Department News

Congratulations to Gernot Waldner

October 29, 2019

We are delighted to announce that Gernot Waldner (PhD Harvard, 2018) has accepted a multi-year postdoc position as Universitätsassistent at the prestigious Robert-Musil-Institut für LIteraturforschung at the Universität Klagenfurt. 


Stephen Mitchell Receives the Jarl Gallén Prize

September 20, 2019

The Jarl Gallén Prize will be bestowed on Professor Stephen Mitchell in the Great Hall of the Finnish Literature Society, Hallituskatu 1, at 13:00 on Tuesday, November 5, 2019. Prof. Kaarle Hämeri, Chancellor of the University of Helsinki, will present the prize. Prof. Mitchell will deliver a lecture entitled “Magic and Memory in the Medieval North”, which will be followed by a seminar with four speakers on subjects pertinent to his...

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Congratulations to Alexander Lambrow and Anton Chaevitch

September 18, 2019
Warmest congratulations to Alex Lambrow (PhD 2019), who has received a multi-year post-doctoral fellowship at Vanderbilt University, and to Anton Chaevitch (PhD 2019), who has just begun a new position as an International Arbitration Attorney in Washington, DC.