The German Studies Department is a vibrant community committed to the investigation of German-language culture in its many media and across historic time. We also practice and teach cultural and textual analysis and critical inquiry. Departmental strengths include literature and philosophy, film and media studies, aesthetics, German-Jewish studies, intellectual history, science studies, and political thought. In their research, the faculty values close reading in dialogue with theory, historical contextualization, and transdisciplinary approaches. In their teaching, our faculty is deeply committed to fostering student learning and engagement at all levels.
At the undergraduate level, we serve three interrelated constituencies: language learners, majors & minors, and students interested in humanities courses offered in English. At all levels we combine cultural knowledge with a set of methodological skills essential to the humanities, including critical thinking, cultural perceptiveness, the analysis of cultural artifacts and ideas, sound and persuasive argumentation, and effective oral presentation and written communication. We also prepare students to formulate and carry out research goals, and to do so increasingly independently. Finally, we encourage students to think of themselves as belonging to global communities, which includes understanding themselves and the world from multiple perspectives.
Together with the University of North Carolina’s German Studies program, we have built a highly innovative, unique, and successful, graduate program, the Carolina-Duke Graduate Program in German Studies. The program combines intellectual rigor with an atmosphere of respect, professional guidance, and attention to the development of pedagogical skills. The merits of this approach can be seen in students’ high quality of research, professional accomplishments, teaching strengths, and success in finding jobs of their choosing.