Graduate Studies

Our Graduate Program offers one of the finest PhD programs in North America. It is dedicated to training superb scholars and well-rounded pedagogues able to meet and exceed the expectations of the academic job market today and in the future.

Undergraduate Studies

Our department offers a wide range of courses which examine important aspects of German culture, art, philosophy, literature, media, and criticism from the Middle Ages to the present. 


Our undergraduate and graduate courses are taught by internationally-recognized scholars. They offer small class sizes, provide personalized guidance, and stress interdisciplinary collaboration.


Our department is renowned for its excellent faculty, dedicated to both innovative research, and exceptional teaching. Distinguished visiting writers, critics, and scholars add important aspects to the vitality of the department.

The Max Kade Center

The only center of its kind, the Max Kade Center promotes the teaching and research of contemporary German literature. Every spring, the Kade Center invites a prominent writer and a leading critic from a German-speaking country to teach a graduate course.

Department Closed
TBD @ 4:00 pm
Department Lounge @ 11:00 am
Susan Crane, Parr Professor of English & Comparative Literature at Columbia University
TBD @ 4:00 pm

Symposium "Knowledge in Motion: Constructing Transcultural Experience in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods (1200–1750)" held

Every other year, the German Department of Washington University in St. Louis hosts an international symposium on German literature and culture. In keeping with national and international scholars' interest in newspapers, the history of communication, and early modern media, the chosen 2016 topic was Knowledge in Motion: Constructing Transcultural Experience in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods (1200–1750). The symposium was held March 31 through April 2, 2016, on the Danforth Campus of Washington University.

Places of reading, writing, and information sharing change over the centuries. How we experience such space(s) and time determines how we read, write, and, in this process, translate. We perceive borders and border crossings differently depending on how we approach or traverse them, be that voluntarily when traveling and exploring, or involuntarily when forced to migrate or brought as captives into another culture. As we move across boundaries, we transport knowledge, our own and what we absorb from others; we mediate culture as it is mediated through us. The knowledge we carry along may conflict or merge with the new we acquire.

Changes in our movements lead to changes in our knowledge and thus also to changes in genres which communicate this knowledge (literature, art, music, law, etc.). In this process, what lodged at the periphery of a given culture might move to, and eventually even become, the center. Examples of such movements might be the courtly epic or romance, the early modern novel, or the art and music of the Romantic era. Such new forms do not only assume new organizational models but also new forms of knowledge circulation. Knowledge in motion becomes knowledge about motion that leads to transfer and translation.

Knowledge in motion varies. It may be “book knowledge” (Buchwissen), including religious knowledge, as well as “experiential knowledge” (Erfahrungswissen). In some instances, it is precisely the relationship between these two kinds of knowledge that is the object of literary discourse. Subsequently, we may ask which concept(s) of knowledge are most appropriately employed to describe various interchanges (cultural, political, social, economic, etc.) in the medieval and early modern periods and how different forms of knowledge interact in changing cultural, political, and social contexts.

For more information about the Symposium, please visit https://pages.wustl.edu/stlsym.