The Department of German at NYU offers a sound basis in the literary canon and also seeks to transmit a set of critical skills applicable beyond the confines of conventional literary analysis. Organized around a crucial body of literary and philosophical texts, which includes canonical and non-traditional works, our department is both forward-looking and responsible to established scholarship. We offer students a challenging course of studies that opens up interdisciplinary initiatives and stresses theoretical sophistication. In offering students a curriculum that emphasizes the critical study of these discourses, we prepare our graduates for distinguished academic careers in an intellectually complex environment at a time when borderlines between disciplines are becoming increasingly permeable.
The departmental interest in critical thought formalizes this aspect of the program's orientation, for which it has become known. The activities of the department, courses, lectures, visiting professors, reflect the fact that the heritage of German theory, linguistic, aesthetic, philosophic and political, are the pivotal points out of which the widest range of twentieth and twenty-first century theory has grown, and without which they cannot be properly understood.
For students who choose to concentrate their work in the study of German literary texts we offer rigorous training in contemporary methods of interpretation. We also greatly welcome those whose interests include a more theoretical bent. Thus the program encourages taking German critical thought as a point of departure for a wide range of investigations. Because New York University is exceptionally strong in all areas of the humanities and because we have forged strong ties to other departments, we are pleased to see our students make full use of its exceptional resources. The graduate program has been conceived to encourage and guide each student in designing his or her individual course of study. At the same time we stress tailoring each program of study to make the student competitive in constantly evolving academic market.
The department consistently recruits highly distinguished faculty. Our faculty is widely published and internationally active in areas of scholarship that command the attention of colleagues and students across the disciplines. Internationally recognized scholars and thinkers play an active role in our department. The Department of German, along with the Departments of English and French, sponsored the fall semester visits of Jacques Derrida. Past visitors include Susan Bernstein, Hartmut Boehme, Ruediger Campe, Alexander Duettmann, Werner Hamacher, Vivian Liska, Jean-Luc Nancy, Laurence Rickels, Marianne Schuller, Slavoj Žižek and others.
To get an impression of the dissertations that have been written in the Department and what students have achieved with their degrees, consult the Dissertations and Alumni Careers page.