When east and west Germany were reunited in 1990, much more than political symbolism was involved. Reunification created Europe's most populous nation by far, an economic and geopolitical force capable of countering the dominant powers in Asia and the Americas. Germany's important contemporary position, its rich cultural legacy and its turbulent history at the center of European affairs makes it an important topic of study for a wide range of interests: language and literature, government and diplomacy, international trade, and science and technology.
German is spoken by approximately 120 million people (most of them in Germany, Austria and Switzerland). It is one of the major official languages of the European Union and is widely recognized as an important language of business, particularly in Eastern Europe.
At Hamilton, German studies is an interdisciplinary concentration focused on the language, literature, culture, historical development and politics of German-speaking countries. Beyond the mandatory core courses in the language (third-year-level language proficiency and one literature course), students may choose courses from a wide selection of subject-related offerings in other departments (e.g. history, government, music, philosophy).