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You will study the language, literature, culture, historical development and politics of German-speaking countries and emerge prepared for graduate school or a range of careers. Your professors will encourage you to study abroad in a German-speaking country. German studies concentrators spend at least one semester, and ideally a full year, in Germany.

Germany's important contemporary position, cultural legacy and turbulent history at the center of European affairs make it an important topic of study for a wide range of interests: language and literature, government and diplomacy, international trade, science and technology. German is one of the major official languages of the European Union and is recognized as an important language of business, particularly in Eastern Europe.

My professors and fellow students are continuously pushing me to develop an idea further, to question a little more, to explore my hunches. I truly believe Hamilton has made me a better writer, a more confident student, and a more daring thinker.

Danielle Gauthier ’15 — German studies and English major

Beyond the mandatory core courses in the language, students may choose from a wide selection of offerings in other departments, tapping into history, government, music, philosophy and more.

Careers After Hamilton

  • William H. Laird Professor of German, Carleton College
  • Webmaster, IBM Corp.
  • Vice President, Deutsche Bank Americas
  • Senior Vice President, Coca-Cola Company
  • President, World Emergency Relief
  • Head of Languages, St. Paul's School
  • General Counsel, Westdeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale
  • Director, International Technology Office, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Director, Copyright, Public Broadcasting Service
  • Designer, EuroEast Tours
  • Bureau Chief, Financial Times

Contact Information


German Studies Program

198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323

Meet Our Faculty

A Sampling of Courses

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German Immersion 115


Designed for motivated students who wish to accelerate their knowledge of German. Intensive study of all aspects of beginning language acquisition. Successful completion will allow students to place into GER 130 (third term German). Students who follow the sequence through GER 140 will qualify for study abroad. Two course credits. Three 50 minute and two 75 minute classes a week.

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Dragons, Witches, Princesses: German and other Fairy Tales 152


The course is about "imaginary gardens with real toads in them" (Marianne Moore) and about "desir[ing] dragons with a profound desire" (J.R.R. Tolkien). It is about "Once upon a time" - a time that is on nobody's clock but exists in our collective memory. Extensive readings from the Brothers Grimm. Further readings from Perrault, de Beaumont, Hauff, Bechstein, Andersen, Hoffmann, MacDonald, Morris, Tolkien.Taught in English.

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Introduction to German Cinema 154F


Introduction to German cinema from the Weimar era to the present. Examination of seminal films from Fritz Lang’s M to Sebastian Schipper’s Victoria, we also explore Germany’s history from the 1930s to the twenty-first century. Emphasis on the medium’s relationship to history, propaganda, memory, identity, and entertainment. Close attention paid to the formal language and thematic preoccupations of expressionist and avant-garde cinema, fascist cinema, New German Cinema, and the New Berlin school. Works by filmmakers such as Riefenstahl, Herzog, Fassbinder, Petzold, and Akin.

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May the Forest Be with You: Ecology and Youth Literature 167S


Examination of issues that address environment concerns popular in German-speaking nations from the conservative idealism of the late 19th century to the radical environmentalism of the 1960s. Close readings of texts informed by theory and other media such as film, music, and technology. The goal of this course is to better understand these works, the ecological questions they raise, and how they intersect with the culture(s), history, media, politics, economy, and identity in modern Europe.

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The Faust Legend 185


Study of the Faust legend and how it has been adapted over the centuries. Topics include the origins of Faust in the 15th century in its factual (Paracelsus and Johann Faust) and spiritual (alchemy and astronomy) dimensions; the Faust Book of 1587; Marlowe’s adaptation of the Faust story (The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus); Goethe’s Faust (The First Part of the Tragedy); operas by Gounod (Faust) and Boïto (Mefistofele); the film Mephisto by H. Mann/Szabò; and T. Mann’s Doctor Faustus.

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From Empire to Republic: Twentieth-Century German Literature 420


Study and analysis of works spanning the era from 1871 to the beginning of the Second World War. Selections focus on literary and cultural changes including the Jahrhundertwende and the Weimar Republic. Authors include Fontane, Hauptmann, Trakl, Hofmannsthal, George, Schnitzler and Mann. Taught in German.

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