German Studies

German Studies is a research-centered and student-friendly department with a challenging curriculum taught by internationally renowned faculty. 


The department covers the entire tradition of German culture, history, and politics within a European and global context, from early modern times to the present. Majors in German Studies excel intellectually, they are curious, independent thinkers, and open to the world. 


Students of German Studies often have double or triple majors, which gives them an extra advantage over many of their peers and makes them particularly attractive to global employers and the top graduate schools. 


The close connection between research and teaching lies at the heart of the department’s curriculum and enables students to develop original contributions at an early stage. Beyond a detailed and historically grounded understanding of German and European culture, students gain intellectual and social qualities that are highly valued in a global knowledge society: logical reasoning, critical thinking, linguistic skills, and cultural competence. German Studies majors often receive Fulbright Grants and continue at some of the best graduate schools in the U.S. and Europe.


The department provides study abroad options in Leipzig, Berlin, and Freiburg/Breisgau, including an intensive summer language course in Leipzig. Particular strengths of the department are in eighteenth- to twentieth-century literature and culture, modern intellectual history and political thought, philosophy, and film studies.


The department is well-known for its regular interdisciplinary and international conferences, covering topics such as Changing Perceptions of the Public Sphere (2005), Humanism and Revolution in the Eighteenth Century (2009), The Place of Politics in German Film (2010), Public Power, Private Spaces (2011), Citizenship and the Future of the Humanities (2012), and Nietzsche and the Ethics of Naturalism (2014). Faculty are involved in the History of Philosophy Workshop, funded by the Humanities Research Center, and the Rice Seminars. They have led research collaborations with the Universität Leipzig, Germany, the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, the University of Cambridge, England, and Rice's School of Architecture, among others. 


Faculty have attracted major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada, the German Academic Exchange Service, the Fulbright Commission, the British Academy, and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, and they have held prestigious fellowships from the Stanford Humanities Center to the Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung in Berlin. 





Martin Blumenthal-BarbyMartin Blumenthal-Barby
Martin Blumenthal-Barby, Assistant Professor, joined Rice's German Studies department from Yale University in 2008. He is currently revising his dissertation—Acts of Sovereignty: Müller, Kafka, New German Film, Benjamin, Arendt—for publication, but is already busy starting a new project on film theory.  »

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News & Events

Cinema and Ethics


Cinema and Ethics.  
February 4, Naked Among Wolves (1963).   March 11, Signs of Life (1968).   April 1, The Tin Drum (1979). Click here for times and rooms.  »

Nietzsche Ethics Title

More details here. »

"One of the Best Experiences I've Ever Had."   Eleven Rice undergraduates won Roy Jones and Houston Sängerbund Fellowships and traveled to Leipzig. Read their story here. »

Astrid Oesmann Color


German Studies welcomes Astrid Oesmann.  A leading scholar of German theatre joins Rice. More information here.»

Student Success.   Seth Brown wins Max Freund Prize and Christina Randall wins Goethe Book Prize. »

Faculty News.   Blumenthal-Barby on ethics in German film and literature. Emden's Nietzsche in Turkish. Steiner on revolution in the eighteenth century. »

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Current Courses

Beginning German II, GERM 102, Sections 1 and 3 (Spring 2014)
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Beginning German II, GERM 102, Section 2 (Spring 2014)
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National Socialism and Film, GERM 132 / FSEM 132 (Spring 2014)
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The Third Reich in Literature, GERM 178 / FSEM 178 (Spring 2014)
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Intermediate German II, GERM 202 (Spring 2014)
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Advanced German II, GERM 302 (Spring 2014)
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Realism to Modernity, 1850-Present, GERM 306 (Spring 2014)
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Folk and Fairy Tale in German, GERM 307 (Spring 2014)
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Modern German Writers—Kafka, GERM 325 / HUMA 325 (Spring 2014)
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German Adaptations—Text to Film, GERM 328 / HUMA 328 (Spring 2014)
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German Politics and Culture after 1945, GERM 420 (Spring 2014)
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Independent Work in German Literature and Thought, GERM 492 (Spring 2014)
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Honors Thesis, GERM 494 (Spring 2014)
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