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Our Department


The Department of German owes its international reputation to a combination of path-breaking research, award-winning teaching, and engaged students.  In addition to hosting our graduate program in German Literature and Critical Thought, our undergraduate major and minor programs, and our German-language program, the department interacts with a wide variety of disciplines, departments, programs, and clusters throughout the humanities and beyond.  Graduates of our PhD program have secured prominent positions and fellowships in North America, Europe, and Asia.  Our majors and minors combine their passion for German language, literature, and culture with kindred interests in numerous other fields of study.  And the students in all of our classes are eligible for an enticing ensemble of study-abroad programs, fellowships, stipends, and internships that, each in its own way, add an inestimable value to their educational experience.  We welcome inquiries into the full range of our departmental offerings.

Featured Stories


Friedman Kline Winner Eden Stargardt on her research

The German Department has been incredibly supportive of my research, and through the generous support of the Friedman-Kline Foundation and the Office of Undergraduate Research, in the last year I have had the opportunity to travel to Berlin twice to conduct research for my project.

My time in Berlin has allowed me to do archival research in several major institutions in Germany, including the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, the Staatliches Institut für Musikforschung, and the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek in Leipzig. After conducting my summer research, I was able to use my findings as the basis for my senior thesis through the German Department. I have worked closely with Professor Isabel von Holt, who is the department’s DAAD Visiting Assistant Professor, over the past year to develop my research skills, and she has not only advised me through the thesis writing process, but also has become a great mentor. 

My project focuses on the impact of the fall of the Berlin Wall on the orchestras within the city and aims to explain how the orchestra acts as a microcosm of German society during this period of transition. I have gathered archival materials that have helped me to better understand the role of the orchestra in the Wendezeit, as well as read about first-hand accounts of life in the orchestra during this time.

When the Berlin Wall fell on November 9th, 1989, a formerly-divided city was suddenly reunited – however, a distinct separation remained between who and what belonged to the former East and the West. There was a visible, public unification that was displayed through public celebrations, concerts, and performances; however, there were many difficulties in reunification. My research aims to explore the connection between the role of the orchestra and greater German society.


Sidney Robinson's summer plans with the Technische Universität (TU) Braunschweig

I will use my Undergraduate Language Grant to immerse myself in the German language and culture at the Technische Universität (TU) Braunschweig. Accelerating my German studies this summer is essential to make my dream of living abroad in Germany come true. Currently, I am a computer science major looking to minor in German. I want to pursue my career as a data scientist specializing in artificial intelligence (AI). I specifically want to be able to tackle the ever-growing issue of AI being coded with bias. AI is important to me because I want to be able to fix the critical problem of AI being used to harm marginalized groups in society. I know Germany is the perfect place for me to do that, since Germany is one of the few countries at the forefront of AI technology. I think Germany would be the best country for me to grow professionally and give me opportunities like working as a data scientist under Cisco in Munich, Germany.

Intern or Study in Germany

Professor Weitzman’s most recent book garnering positive reviews

Professor Weitzman’s most recent book, At the Limit of the Obscene: German Realism and the Disgrace of Matter (Northwestern University Press, 2021), has been garnering positive reviews in scholarly journals in the U.S., Germany, and Denmark. The book investigates the conflicted representation of matter and materiality in German-language literature from 1857 to 1926 through the fraught concept of the “obscene.” As Bradley Harmon writes in MLN: “keeping one analytical foot in the traditional modes of German realism while extending the other into new territory, Weitzman innovates the scholarly paradigm for how we address and interrogate a wide variety of contemporary entanglements with the multivalent notion of materiality.” Similarly, Alyssa Howards writes in Journal of Austrian Studies that the book “truly breaks new ground, expanding and complicating our understanding of realism and the task of literature to represent the material world.” Meanwhile, Roman Widder writes in Zeitschrift für Germanistik that Professor Weitzman “has produced a standard work with the potential to reorient the study of realism: away from the epistemological aporias of poetic realism and towards realism’s ethical and political implications.” Jason Groves addresses some of these implications directly, writing in German Quarterly that the book “exposes—in realist literature’s repeated relegation of gendered and racialized bodies to ‘mere matter’ in a way that accords all too well with past and present histories of subjugation and dehumanization—something that can no longer be whitewashed as an intellectual tradition nor be assimilated into the framework of a humanist enterprise.” Finally, Svend Erik Larsen writes in Orbis Litterarum that “Weitzman’s study [deserves] a full round of applause,” calling it a “[sign] of the productivity of realism as a literary movement in an ongoing transformation.”



For Undergraduate Students who have taken courses with, or participated in event sponsored by, the Department of German

Géza von Molnár Award

$ 500 Award for the Winning Essay or Creative Work in English

Géza von Molnár German Achievement Award

$ 500 Award for the Winning Essay or Creative Work in German


Contest Guidelines

1. You may submit an original essay, research paper, or original creative work produced for a course taken with a

faculty member from the German Department at NU during Spring 2022 or the academic year 2022/2023.

2. The essay or creative work may address any German cultural or literary topic or question.

3. The essay or creative work should be in English for the “Géza von Molnár Award” and in German for the “Géza

von Molnár German Achievement Award”.

4. An essay should be NO longer than 10 pages and must include relevant citations, footnotes and a bibliography

where appropriate. If you submit a creative piece of work (a podcast, a video clip, etc.), you should include a

short explanation of your work.

5. Your submission should have a title page with the award you are seeking and the title of your essay or creative

work. Please make sure that your name does not appear on the essay itself or the title page of the essay.

6. With your submission, include a coversheet with the following:

• Information where we can reach you:

o Your name, NETID, phone number (cell or home), e-mail address

• Course information:

o The name of the course for which the essay or creative work was submitted; the quarter the course was

taught in; the name of the professor

• Information on your course of study:

o List your school, your major(s) and your minor including the year of study (Freshmen, Sophomore, Junior,

Senior) and expected graduation date.

• Biographical information:

o Include a very brief paragraph about yourself; why you study German; what the language means to you;

whether you have studied abroad; what your plans for the future are.

7. The submission deadline is Friday, May 26, 2023 at 11:59 P.M. Assemble submission material in a pdf file, send

it to Franziska Lys at, label e-mail as “submission for Geza von Molnar award.”

8. The winner will be notified by Thursday, June 1st, 2023.

Spotlight on our Research


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News and Events


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Upcoming Events

German Grillfest

12:00 PM - 2:00 PM, Evanston

Join the German department faculty, staff, and your peers for the annual end-of-the-year Grillfest.   Please note the new time (join us...

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Latest News

Kendall Clark and Danny Vesurai elected to Phi Beta Kappa
Domenic DeSocio publishes in Monatshefte

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