Teaching & Professional Development

Teaching Responsibilities, Language Coordination, and Mentoring

Teaching is an important component of the graduate program in Germanic Studies (FIGS) at Penn. All of our graduate students teach during their second and third years at Penn, teaching one course per semester. Teaching is often counted as one of the most gratifying experiences our graduate students have. It is also an essential part of preparation for the academic profession. Typically, graduate students first teach three semesters in the language sequence (e.g., GRMN 0100, 0200, 0300). Then, in consultation with the Graduate Chair, they teach a course outside of the basic language program or lead a recitation section for General Education courses taught in English. They also have the option to teach GRMN 0400: Bewegungen in the fourth semester. Advanced graduate students may have the opportunity to teach courses outside of the basic language program or to lead recitation sections for General Education courses taught in English. Students receive substantial training and mentoring for all kinds of teaching.

Professional Development

The graduate curriculum includes a thorough professional development program, covering topics such as: preparing a c.v., writing and presenting scholarly papers, publishing articles, preparing a teaching portfolio, analysis of job descriptions and the job market, and mock interviews. The Department pledges to help students subsidize travel to one scholarly conference per year, provided the student is presenting a paper. Funding is available from GAPSA, SASgov, the Dean, and the Department. The Department is able to provide generous travel funding for longer-term projects, including summer research. 

Annual Graduate Student Conference 

Penn graduate students were among the first to initiate an annual graduate student conference. As a credit-earning part of our curriculum, students in their third year organize and run an interdisciplinary conference that brings graduate students from major German Studies programs across the United States and other countries as well (Canada, UK, Germany). Recent conferences have included: "Kittler and the Human(ities)," "Elective Affinities: Reading Benjamin Reading Kafka," and "Mapping, Mining, Redefining?: The Digital Turn in the Humanities". 

Guest Professors, Lectures, and Conferences

The Department believes it is important for students to enjoy maximum exposure to prominent scholars, writers, critics, and filmmakers from the United States, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. For that reason, we endeavor to have at least one guest professor every semester and to maintain a regular and frequent program of guest lectures and conferences.

Recent guest professors include: Andrée Hahmann (DAAD Professor), Carlos Spoerhase (Bielefeld), Yasemin Dayioglu-Yücel (Hildesheim), Sara Poor (Princeton), Daniel Purdy (Pennsylvania State), Rolf-Peter Janz (Berlin), Hendrik Birus (Munich), Stephan Braese (Bremen), Silke Roth (DAAD visiting professor), Ulrich Baer (NYU), Noah Isenberg (The New School for General Studies), Philipp Gassert (DAAD visiting professor), Hartmut Boehme (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), Gunnar Hindrichs (DAAD visiting professor, University of Heidelberg), Gertrud Koch (Freie Universitaet Berlin), Grit Schwarzkopf (University of Heidelberg), Birgit Recki (Universitaet Hamburg).

Recent guest lecturers include: Anton Kaes (Berkeley), Eric Rentschler (Harvard), Alice Kuzniar (North Carolina), Stanley Corngold (Princeton), Judith Ryan (Harvard), Jeannette Lander (Berlin), Frank Stern (Ben Gurion, Israel), Lisa Lewenz (New York filmmaker), Gabriele Duerbeck (Rostock and Bremen), Stephan Braese (Bremen), Rolf Horstmann (Humboldt University Berlin), Rebecca Comay (Toronto), Caroline Walker Bynum, (Princeton), Hans-Joachim Ruckhaeberle (Bavarian State Theater, Munich), Belinda Davis (Rutgers), Claudia Benthien (Humboldt-University, Berlin), Jane K. Brown (University of Washington), Anita Norich (University of Michigan), Istvan Varkonyi (Temple University), Dieter Borchmeyer (Heidelberg), Julia Hell (Michigan), Lutz Koepnick (Washington University), Peter Krupnikow (University der Bundeswehr, Munich), Esther Dischereit, (German poet and writer), Djelal Kadir (Penn State), Yoko Tawada (Japanese--German author), Stewart Stehlin (NYU), Lutz Kuntzsch, (Gesellschaft fuer Deutsche Sprache), Klaus Bergdolt (Cologne), Friedrich Vollhardt (Muenchen), Anna Parkinson (Cornell), Imke Meyer (Bryn Mawr), Kristin Gjesdal (Temple University), Wilfried Barner (Goettingen), Philipp Gassert (Heidelberg), Daniel Weygandt (Austrian, German and Swiss Affairs in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs), Heinz Ludwig Arnold (Goettingen), Hans-Juergen Heimsoeth (General Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany), Tim Mehigan (University of Otago, New Zealand), Birte Britta Pfleger (California State University, L A), Gerhard Richter (University of California, Davis), Svetlana Boym (Harvard), Peter Fenves (Northwestern), Ulrich Baer (NYU), Thomas Lehr (Berlin Author), Felicitas Heimann-Jelinek (Juedisches Museum in Vienna, and Spertus Museum, Chicago), Elisabeth Young-Bruehl (psychoanalyst in Manhattan and Columbia Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research), Werner Herzog (German filmmaker), Michael Brenner (Munich), Klaus Hoedl (Graz), Wolfgang Emmerich (Bremen), Christiane Hertel (Bryn Mawr), Kelly Barry (Columbia), Christian Delage (Yeshiva University), Gunnar Hindrichs (Univ. of Heidelberg), German Experimental Women Filmmakers UTE AURAND - MILENA GIERKE - RENATE SAMI, Christiaan Hart-Nibbrig (University of Lausanne), Anke Ortlepp (German Historical Institute in Washington, DC), Klaus Scherpe (Humboldt-Universitaet, Berlin), David Sorkin (U. of Wisconsin-Madison), Dovid Katz (Vilnius University, Lithuania), Gert Hofmann (National Univ. of Ireland, Cork), Anat Feinberg (University for Jewish Studies in Heidelberg, Germany), Arthur Caplan (Center for Bioethics), Max Cavitch (Dept. of English), Frederick Fisher (Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia), Sharrona Pearl (Annenberg School for Communication), Katherine Sender (Annenberg School for Communication), Nele Bemong (Breughel Visiting Asst. Prof., K. U. Leuven, Belgium), Christian Kohlross (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Roland S. Kamzelak (Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach, Germany), Paul Peucker (Moravian Church Archives), Peter Burgard (Harvard University), Jacob Eder (Dept. of History), Barbara Vinken (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen), David Engel (NYU), Samuel D. Kassow (Trinity College), Ann Marie Rasmussen (Duke Univ.), Paul Franks (Yale Univ.), David Berona (Plymouth State Univ.), Paul M. Malone (University of Waterloo, Canada), Marc Legendre (author), Charles Burns (author), Marcel Lepper (Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach, Germany), Azade Seyhan (Bryn Mawr College), Nina Berman (Ohio State Univ.), Gerhild Scholz Williams (Washington Univ. in St. Louis), Ken Frieden (Syracuse Univ.), Larry Silver (History of Art), Barbara Kosta (Univ. of Arizona), Andrea Bachner (Penn State Univ.), Andre Dobrowski (History of Art), Anita Norich (Univ. of Michigan), Xiaojue Wang (East Asian Languages), Kevin Platt (Slavic Languages & Literatures), Lawrence Venuti (Temple Univ.), Yoko Tawada (author), Leslie Adelson (Cornell Univ.), Tom Cheesman (Swansea Univ., UK), Chi-ming Yang (Asian American Studies), Mark Harman (Elizabethtown College), Bettina Brandt (Penn State Univ.), Susan Bernofsky (author), Charles Bernstein (Dept. of English), Heike Bauer (Birkbeck, Univ. of London).