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

Department News

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.

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. 

Gernot

More