Department of Germanic Studies


Welcome to our Department! The Department of Germanic Studies is one of the largest and most diverse departments in the country, combining traditional coverage and breadth with new interdisciplinary and theoretical approaches. Our undergraduate and graduate students receive a comprehensive introduction to the languages, literatures, and cultures of the Germanic-speaking countries and to the increasingly multicultural, transnational, and global contexts that define these cultures today. The department is committed to providing all students--those who fulfill their language requirement in our courses, undergraduate majors, and graduate students--with a deeper understanding of languages and the importance of cultural literacy in an increasingly global world.

In an age when many departments are shrinking or specializing, we maintain our commitment to the idea of a core curriculum and emphasize the historical dimension of cultural studies and the interrelatedness of linguistic competency and cultural literacy. In addition to the traditional focus on national literatures and cultures, the Department successfully pursues interdisciplinary projects with programs such as Women and Gender Studies, European Studies, Comparative Literature, Jewish Studies, Foreign Language Education, and Medieval Studies. Individual faculty members are affiliated with other departments such as Linguistics and Radio, Television, and Film. In our course offerings and research, we cover all periods of literary, cultural, and intellectual history as well as a range of interdisciplinary specializations that include linguistics, applied linguistics, foreign language pedagogy, film studies, gender studies, intellectual history, cultural theory, German-Jewish studies, and Scandinavian studies.

Our distinguished faculty has published on such diverse topics as the bourgeois home in the realist novel, modern architecture in Weimar Berlin, German sports history, multiple literacies in the foreign language classroom, syntax and semantics, and the films of Volker Schlöndorff. Ongoing research projects include the Holocaust and trans-generational trauma, music in Sami culture, the Texas German dialect, the representation of Berlin in post-Wende novels, and the emergence of modernity in early modern German literature. We are especially known for our strong tradition of linguistics, applied linguistics, and foreign language pedagogy.

On the undergraduate level, we offer challenging language and culture courses in German, Swedish, Dutch, Danish, and Norwegian. A special Germanic Civilization track taught in English gives students without sufficient language training access to many areas of our discipline. Our Department contributes significantly to a first-rate liberal arts education which is the intellectual core of our large research-oriented university. Our teaching of languages and cultures aims to prepare our students for global citizenship. For that reason, we offer many study abroad opportunities, including our own ten-week summer program in Würzburg.

Our graduate program is based on the full integration of scholarship and teaching, as evinced by the strong emphasis on the professional development of graduate instructors and the success of collaborative projects such as the Texas German Dialect Project. Our excellent placement record confirms that our graduates are well prepared for the academic job market as well as non-academic careers. The endowment of the Texas Chair in German Literature and Culture by Professor emeritus Walter Wetzels and his wife Pamela in 2004 has allowed the Department to start numerous new initiatives, including the biannual German Studies Symposia. In combination with recent hires, these new initiatives will allow the Department over the next years to transform itself into a center of transnational German studies.

-Hans Boas