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German Studies

German Studies at Whitman helps students develop the critical skills to be informed global citizens through the study of German language and the literature, culture, and history of the German-speaking world from a variety of academic perspectives. German language and culture are often thought to be homogeneous, and the canonical literature and thinkers taught in many German Studies programs reproduce this image. Whitman’s German Studies Department is committed to representing German languages and cultures in their diversity by introducing students to authors and thinkers whose different identities regarding their race, sex, gender, and class often contribute to their exclusion from the field. Students will also learn to read canonical texts and cultural products critically with regard to their elisions and appropriations of marginalized peoples and voices. German Studies courses bring German-language texts and artworks into dialogue with the challenges and priorities we find in our local and contemporary communities. We strive to understand how we can better make sense of our global and local problems by studying German texts, thought, and art.

German Studies is committed to the creation of inclusive classroom spaces where diverse perspectives can be formulated and exchanged and where collaboration is valued over competition. Collectively, we aim to suspend our judgments and come to a more differentiated and generous understanding of ourselves, our peers, and the positions we encounter in German-language cultural artifacts.

Students also participate in German-speaking communities across contexts, including curricular, co-curricular, and the broader community beyond college. Put your German skills to practice by studying for a year in Munich or a semester in Berlin, Freiburg or Vienna.

Through close mentoring relationships with the German Studies faculty, students will develop the skills necessary to propose individual projects and make connections between the academic field of German Studies and their lives beyond Whitman.

Placement in language courses: If you have previously studied German, you will need to take an online placement test to help you determine the proper course in which to enroll. Native speakers of a language must also take the placement test in order to verify their mastery of the written language. For more information and instructions about how to begin, please see the Placement Test page. If you have not previously studied German, you may simply enroll in the beginning course (German 105), with no prerequisites.

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