Michigan State University
Michigan State University
Department of Linguistics & Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages
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Welcome to the website of the MSU German Studies program! The German faculty embrace an inclusive model of German Studies that integrates the study of language, literature, and culture at all levels. We offer degrees at all levels: the undergraduate major and minor, the MA and the PhD.

Building on a tradition reaching back over 50 years, the German program has distinguished itself with its responsiveness to the changing face of German Studies in the US. The MSU German faculty is nationally recognized for contributions in the fields of literary, cultural, linguistic, and pedagogical scholarship. In 2013, our program was recognized as an AATG German Center of Excellence for its innovative approach to both undergraduate and graduate curricula.

Visit our undergraduate and graduate program pages for details on offerings. And whether you are a current or prospective student, a resident of mid-Michigan or a virtual visitor, join our community of students and scholars to share and learn about things German.

Two renowned scholars are visiting MSU in fall 2018 to discuss their new research on far-right movements in Germany and Austria.  

Oct.11: Dr. Karin Liebhart, Fulbright Visiting Professor, University of Minnesota

Oct. 29: Dr. Cynthia Miller-Idriss, Professor of Sociology and Education, American University

Both talks will be held from 3-4:30pm in International Center Room 303. 

While these senior scholars are on campus, there will be a research methods discussion over lunch for interested faculty and graduate students in any discipline (in addition to their public talks). Dr. Liebhart catalogues ephemeral digital data, like Instagram posts and tweets. Dr. Miller-Idriss works with a substantial image database of clothing and consumer items that are digitized, tagged and archived for use by other scholars.  


Dr. Liebhart (October 11) will explore the social media use of the far-right in Germany and Austria in her talk. 

"Social Media Communication of the Far-Right": When and how does right-wing populism blend into right-wing extremism? In July 2018, 16 male and 1 female adherents of the Austrian Identitarian Movement were on trial in Graz for criminal behavior, including charges of incitement, harassment and of being part of a criminal organization. The Identitarian movements in Austria, Germany and other European countries use social media as a primary means of political communication. Textual and visual messages, particularly on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube can serve as good examples for distinguishing between populist and extremist word choices, figures of speech, visualization and other discursive markers. 


Dr. Miller-Idriss’ talk (October 29) will focus on her new book, which explores how clothing brands laced with symbols favored by extremists enter mainstream youth culture. 

"The Extreme Gone Mainstream"The past decade has witnessed a steady increase in far right politics, social movements, and extremist violence in Europe. Scholars and policymakers have struggled to understand the causes and dynamics that have made the far right so appealing to so many people—in other words, that have made the extreme more mainstream. In this talk, Cynthia Miller-Idriss examines how extremist ideologies have entered mainstream German culture through commercialized products and clothing laced with extremist, anti-Semitic, racist, and nationalist coded symbols and references. Her book draws on a unique digital archive of thousands of historical and contemporary images, as well  as interviews with young people and their teachers.

Download printable flyer. Please join us!

Past Events

Contemporary German Literature: Live!

In fall 2016, the German Program hosted two contemporary German authors: Ulrich Peltzer and Kerstin Hensel. Several events, linked to undergraduate and graduate courses on storytelling and identity, featured readings by the authors of their past and current works. These events offered insights into the craft of writing and gave students and faculty a unique opportunity to talk with the authors about how literature engages with history and contemporary politics. 

Ulrich Peltzer                                                                 Kerstin Hensel


Graphic Narratives Symposium Sponsored by German Studies

The German Program-sponsored symposium “Drawing Lives, Writing Worlds”, on April 14-15, 2017, explored how graphic narratives – from comics and graphic novels to animation and film – have a unique ability to tell stories across cultures, generations, and languages. The symposium, organized by Profs. Liz Mittman and Lynn Wolff, brought together several strands of research, teaching, and creative energy among faculty, students, and artists, who presented in multiple formats, such as poster presentations and lightning talks. At the introductory panel, representatives from the College of Arts and Letters, the School of Journalism and MSU Media Sandbox, the MSU Libraries, and the University of Michigan’s Transnational Comics Studies Workshop talked about a wide variety of comics-related projects and resources. A highlight for all participants were the two keynote talks and live drawing demonstrations by two of Germany’s most outstanding graphic artists Reinhard Kleist from Berlin and Line Hoven from Hamburg. The success of this symposium is a good sign for the future of cross-college initiatives in Comics Studies at MSU and collaborative work that is already underway on campus. Faculty in German, Japanese, and French and Francophone Studies are currently developing the Graphic Narratives Network, a multilingual and multinational research endeavor, with the aim of highlighting the MSU Libraries’ Comic Art Collection and increasing MSU’s visibility in the exciting field of text-image studies.

Reinhard Kleist’s presentation

Line Hoven in discussion with students during poster session

Drop in for weekly offerings:

Select Fridays 4 pm:
German Film Series/Filmabend in B-122 Wells Hall

Wednesdays at 7:30 pm:
Kaffeestunde at Espresso
Royale on Grand River Ave.


In the Spotlight

Sophia Cheng

me and Freiburg.JPG

Internship Opportunities for Students in the German Program