German Department Mission Statement

The Department of German strives to be a resource for enriching the international and cross-cultural awareness of all Amherst College students, in order to prepare them for global interaction within their future professional and scholarly fields.  We teach on three levels: German language, taught in German; German literature and culture, taught in German; German and European cultural and literary studies, taught in English.  In all departmental courses, we strongly nurture our students’ openness to explore different points of view and to critically engage with information and perspectives from a wide variety of media sources and from international points of origin.

All our courses are taught with multimedia components involving authentic audiovisual and textual materials.  All are writing attentive, most are also speaking attentive, encouraging students to respond to the materials on a regular basis and developing their analytical skills.  All are run in a seminar-style format, incorporating student presentations and fostering speaking skills and self-expression.

The teaching of German language and culture is of vital importance to our undergraduates:  The German-speaking countries, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, as well as Belgium, Liechtenstein, and Luxemburg, form the motor of one of the world’s most powerful economies.  They are at the heart of Europe’s rich intellectual and cultural heritage. The German experience, both in its tragic derailments and its sublime achievements, provides crucial insights to our students as they struggle to become global citizens, responsible and responsive to the interconnectedness of ideas, of societies, and of cultures.