Wohin, German Studies?


In recent weeks, the future of German Studies has (again) been debated in various venues. In the Chronicle of Higher Education, German Studies professors Martin Kagl (University of Georgia) and William Donahue (Duke University) have proposed to save German Studies, via Europe (if you don’t subscribe to the Chronicle, here’s a link to the pdf.) Responses to their article in the form of letters to the editor can be found here.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Molly Roza says:

    I was only a German minor, and I started learning the language as a college junior, but studying German at Agnes Scott made all the difference in my life. It enriched my history studies beyond measure and allowed me to complete an oral history research project that represents one of the most strenuous things I’ve ever done in my life (thanks, Dr. Kennedy!), as well as being a really fulfilling intellectual challenge and achievement. I expanded that project into a Fulbright research project, and I now live in Vienna and work at the Fulbright Commission (and am marrying an Austrian this summer 😉 ). If the German Studies department hadn’t been so welcoming to a community college transfer junior with no German skills, my life would be very different today.

    I think that German Studies are incredibly valuable and add to the intellectual life of a college, not just as a window on another culture, language, and way of thinking, but also because German enriches the study of other fields.

    It would be great if the language departments at Agnes tried to enhance this synergy by offering more interdisciplinary courses, i.e. the course on the books where you read the original German versions of documents to complement various history courses.

  2. GG says:

    Hallo Molly, vielen Dank für Deinen Kommentar! You are absolutely right on the interdisciplinary issue. Almost all of the courses we offer, be it “German Cinema,” “Afro-German Literature and Culture,” “Contemporary German Life and Thought,” etc. are suitable to be combined with other disciplines. Unfortunately, it’s often the rigid structure of other disciplines which prevents true collaboration from happening. Fortunately, we can practice some of that right now with directed studies. Two of our German majors are working on projects where they combine sources both in German and English for interdisciplinary projects. One is working on the history of bio-medicine and ethics in 20th-century Germany, the other one on cinematic connections between German and Asian film in the 1930s.

  3. And the humanities are inherently interdisciplinary. The humanities are in trying times, languages in particular. The University of Pittsburgh just disbanded the graduate program in German Studies this week. Thanks for the share.

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