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

Hunger for Life Kino Dienstag


Hunger for Life.  
September 2, The Flight (1977).   October 7, For Eyes Only (1981).   November 11, Last to Know (2006). Click here for times and rooms.  »



The Rice German Club.   For students. By students. And involves German food. Somehow. 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. »

 Kant Detail


German Studies hosts Rice's History of Philosophy Workshop.   Rice's premier forum for the discussion of current research in continental philosophy, European intellectual history, and cultural theory is sponsored by the Humanities Research Center and chaired by Martin Blumenthal-Barby.»

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 I, GERM 101, Sections 1 and 2 (Fall 2014)
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History Through German Cinema, GERM 122 / FSEM 122 (Fall 2014)
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German Film, GERM 136 / FSEM 136 (Fall 2014)
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Intermediate German II, GERM 263 (Fall 2014)
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Enlightenment to Romanticism, GERM 305 (Fall 2014)
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German Poetry, GERM 309 (Fall 2014)
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The German Fairy Tale: Old and New, GERM 326 / HUMA 372 (Fall 2014)
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Literature and Film in East Germany. Behind the Iron Curtain, GERM 330 (Fall 2014)
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The Weimar Republic, GERM 331 / ARTS 386 / HIST 431 (Fall 2014)
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German Intellectual History, GERM 430 (Fall 2014)
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Independent Work in German Literature and Thought, GERM 491 (Fall 2014)
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Honors Thesis, GERM 493 (Fall 2014)
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