Recognizing the cultural dimensions of language, the Department of German teaches linguistic skills through classroom and cocurricular activities that allow students to acquire real proficiency and cultural understanding. Literature in the form of short stories, poems, and contemporary novels are introduced already at the beginning and intermediate level of language courses. In literary survey courses, students acquire a good knowledge and understanding of the literature of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland from 1700 to the present in its socio-historical and aesthetic context. At the advanced level, majors explore some of the major critical approaches to literature as well as literary topics in depth.
Our Max Kade German Writer in Residence Program, which brings a prominent German, Austrian, or Swiss author to campus for a 10-week residency, enhances our study of German literatures in compelling ways. The program, now more than 40 years old, receives funding from the Max Kade Foundation, whose mission is to support diverse educational initiatives that promote German studies and international understanding.
The faculty strongly recommends participation in the different study abroad programs sponsored by the department. Majors should spend one term or preferably a full academic year in a German-speaking country. We believe that “otherness” should not only be explained, read, and talked about but also experienced.
We also encourage all majors to live in the college’s Max Kade German House, a coeducational residence hall for 38 students. Kade House residents immerse themselves in German language and culture through daily contact with native speakers. Guest lectures, film screenings, readings, and social gatherings make the Kade House a focal point for German study at Oberlin.