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The study of language and literature is vital to the goals of responsible global citizenship. Our department gives students the tools for critical thinking and effective communication by widening their linguistic and cultural horizons. Knowledge of the intellectual, literary, and cultural traditions of German-speaking countries is particularly well-suited to make students aware of the social, political, and ethical dimensions of language.
- UW Germanics is one of the highest ranked programs offering advanced degrees in German in the United States.
- The Department remains at the forefront of innovative language pedagogy and technology mediated instruction.
- We teach foundational courses in the Humanities for a diverse student body.
- Recent hires have further strengthened the Department’s key areas in Literature and Philosophy, Medieval Literature and Culture, Performance and Visual Culture, and the Environmental Humanities.
The Department of Germanics offers an undergraduate degree program leading to a BA in German and an MA and PhD program in German.
The major in German provides transferrable skills for any career that involves formulating questions and solving problems, especially for students in a wide range of fields such as business, politics, and STEM. Students gain advanced proficiency in spoken and written German, enhanced cultural expertise, and the ability to work across disciplines. They develop analytical skills and historical awareness through studies of literary, intellectual, and visual culture from the Middle Ages to the present.
Our graduates have gone off to successful careers in technical fields, the law, international business, higher education, publishing, and more.
The graduate program in German offers a broad, flexible, and integrated curriculum. Students gain in-depth knowledge of the language, literature, and thought of German-speaking Europe and develop important critical skills for academic and non-academic careers through research and scholarly writing.
- 20 Undergraduate majors
- 7 Undergraduate minors
- 4 Master of Arts students
- 10 PhD students
- 9 Bachelor of Arts degrees
- 1 Master of Arts degree
- 3 PhD degrees
- *annual average, 2017-2019
Major Student Awards*
- 6 Max Kade Graduate Fellowships
- 1 Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst Fellowship
- 4 UW Joff Hanauer Fellowships for Excellence in Western Civilization
- 1 UW Graduate School Dissertation Fellowship
- 3 Fulbright Undergraduate Awards
- 2 Digital Humanities Summer Institute Stipends
- 1 Chester William Fritz Scholarship
- 3 Professors
- 2 Associate Professors
- 2 Assistant Professors
- 1 Senior Lecturer
- 1 Max Kade Distinguished Visiting Professor
- 7 Emeriti Professors
- 3 Affiliate Assistant Professors
- 3 Adjunct Professors
- 1 DAAD Lecturer
Faculty Awards & Honors
- 1 Guggenheim Fellowship
- 2 Senior Alexander von Humboldt Research Foundation Prizes
- 1 Alexander von Humboldt Alumni Prize
- 1 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship
- 1 American Council of Learned Societies Senior Research Award
- 1 Senior Fulbright Award
- 2 University of Auckland Hood Fellowships
- 1 Rachel Carson Center Fellowship from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
- 1 Urban Fellowship at the San Francisco Exploratorium
- 1 UW Distinguished Joff Hanauer Professorship
- 1 UW Lockwood Professorship in the Humanities
- 2 UW Simpson Center Society of Scholars Awards
- 4 UW Royalty Research Fund Awards
- 1 Fellow at the Center for Interweaving Performance Cultures at the Freie Universität Berlin
We are a diverse group of scholars working in the field of German and Austrian literature and culture, applied linguistics, intellectual history, comparative literature, queer studies, medieval literature and culture, and environmental studies. We focus on verbal and visual media, texts and contexts, and examine their historical and contemporary significance.
Recent faculty publications include: Richard Block, Echoes of a Queer Messianic: From Frankenstein to Brokeback Mountain; Jane K. Brown, Goethe’s Allegories of Identity; Richard T. Gray, Ghostwriting: W. G. Sebald’s Poetics of History; Brigitte Prutti, Unglück und Zerstreuung: Autobiographisches Schreiben bei Franz Grillparzer; Sabine Wilke, German Culture and the Modern German Environmental Imagination; Ellwood Wiggins, Odysseys of Recognition: Performing Intersubjectivity in Homer, Aristotle, Shakespeare, Goethe, and Kleist.
Areas of Research and Teaching
- Modern German Literature and Culture
- Modern Austrian Literature and Culture
- Medieval Literature and Culture
- Comparative Literature
- Literature and Philosophy
- Goethe and Goethezeit
- Theory and History of Drama
- Critical Theory
- Film, Performance, and Visual Culture
- Applied Linguistics
- German Language and Methodology
- Environmental Humanities
Since 1999, the Department has collaborated with high school teachers in Washington to offer college-level courses at select high schools. The Department also serves as a testing center for language exams offered through the Goethe institute.
We offer an MA in Pedagogy and Culture that emphasizes advanced teacher training in conjunction with other programs.
The Department has a weekly film series and a social hour for all students wishing to practice their language skills outside the classroom. We organize regular career training events for our graduates as well as undergraduates.
Department of Germanics
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195
Fact sheet last updated: December 2019