German Studies


The Department of German Studies at Brown University opens the doors to students who are interested in the language, literature, and culture of the German speaking areas of Central Europe.

We offer a curriculum which combines intensive study of the German language with an interdisciplinary approach to German culture. These opportunities prepare our students to understand both changing approaches to cultural studies as well as the changes in European and world affairs that will affect our ways of life in the next century.

Since the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, Germany's growing economic and political influence has manifested itself worldwide. Unified Germany is one of the driving forces of European unification, a process that will be a central factor in world economics and politics in the next century. The study of German history and culture will therefore be a major asset to students considering careers in many fields as well as in further study in graduate school.

Language Courses

"Learn my language. Investigate my culture. Meet me. And get to know yourself."

Language courses in the Department of German Studies are culturally motivated from the beginning, stressing an integral approach to building language skills and to understanding the German cultural environment. Ample conversation practice is provided, along with exposure to a variety of texts, including literature, film, music, and German television. In addition, German-language sections of courses in other departments are periodically offered, such as History, Political Science, and History of Art and Architecture. At times, we are able to offer German for Reading Knowledge, aimed at graduate students who need to satisfy a language requirement (check the Course Announcement). Furthermore, the Department also offers courses in the Swedish language.

Our Curriculum

The quest for national identity that dominated German history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries has been augmented by contemporary Germany's efforts both to come to terms with its past and to create new ways of dealing with diversity. Our curriculum thus looks back at the German literary, cultural, and historical tradition, from Goethe to Christa Wolf and including figures such as Marx, Freud, Nietzsche, and Heidegger, whose texts form the building blocks for contemporary discussions in such diverse fields as cultural criticism, women's studies, ethnography, and minority studies. At the same time, we also concentrate on current developments in this country which perhaps illustrate more clearly than in many other places the extreme ruptures of twentieth century history: the consequences in all spheres of the reunification of the socialist East with the capitalist West, as well as trends towards a more multicultural society after the opening up of national borders.

Information about course from beginning to advanced and the placement test for german.
The Concentration in German Studies offers students an interdisciplinary approach to German culture in a wide variety of areas.